Image Credit: Cutaway Comics (Fair Use)
Image Description: The cover of Orcini
Tides was provided with a free review copy of the comic
By James Ashworth
With Lytton series one having drawn to a close, Cutaway Comics readers may be suffering from Eric Saward withdrawal symptoms. But never fear, for the Who scribe is back with a one-shot comic looking into another of his cabal of mercenaries – Orcini. The knight of the Grand Order of Oberon returns, in a slightly different guise, in this non-stop adventure into a world where not everything is as it seems…
Some time before the events of Revelation of the Daleks, we find Orcini and Bostock travelling across the Hinterland, a nebulous place that shifts around our heroes. From entering a small village by motorbike, the land becomes a mountain range, Victorian London, and a gothic castle as the pages are turned. The Hinterland is quite vaguely defined, which can be confusing at times, but the different settings allow for artist Adrian Salmon to show off his full range of styles, ranging from angular, horror-inflected illustrations to sweeping vistas. The added feature by him at the back of the comic is also a nice added extra, giving the motivations behind many of these grand scenes that continue the strong artistic traditions of Cutaway.
Through these scenes, Orcini and Bostock are joined by Vera, a lady whose intentions are as shrouded in mystery as the Hinterland itself. She acts as a good foil for the pair, with an early Missy-type personality providing a good bit of verbal sparring. The characterisation of Bostock and Orcini is also well-developed, each being clearly defined despite being men of relatively few words. However, the same can’t quite be said of the plot, which doesn’t quite hang together well. With the constantly shifting Hinterland, it ends up being somewhat like The Chase at times, with characters proceeding from scene to scene with no particular logic to connect them. The creators have previously spoken of this issue as a “pilot”, with an intention to provide a full series if successful. On the basis of the art alone, it would very much be worth it, but hopefully with more plot to go with it in future.
Though not reaching the highs of Omega and Lytton, Orcini is still a fun romp in the world of Doctor Who-adjacent comics, and promises strong visuals and characters should it become a series. Though we know how the adventures of Orcini and Bostock must end, their adventures until then could be a fascinating ride.