Review: The Orphan King #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Publisher: A Wave Blue World
Writer: Tyler Chin-Tanner
Artist: James Boyle
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters: Pete Carlsson
Reviewed by: Seth Singleton
The Orphan King #2 introduces the men who rule the land where Kaidan’s father Gorlan once reigned. These knights hunt the prodigal heir to the throne who discovers that there are many poachers scouring the land.
The sovereign rule of Scathelocke is enforced by knights who scour the coastline following reports of Kaidan’s appearance. They are noble despite the nefarious nature of their ruler and their duty. After all, men who are hunting a boy are rarely the kind who leave behind witnesses. In fact, the family that discovers the aberration is allowed to live. And they are rewarded for their loyalty.
Lady Taleissa is the sister of Olwen, the queen. It was her lands where Kaidan returned from by ferry at the beginning of the last issue. This issue takes the reader back to those lands and the lessons that Taleissa imparted. They become quite handy when Kaidan catches the eye of the locals.
The locals he encounters are another example of the non-human figures who made a brief appearance in the last issue. Rat-like creatures watch Kaidan forlornly missing his family, but their eyes are on his sword. They use his downtrodden gaze to steal the sword and run away. Weirdly, they look like rats who run on two legs instead of four. But that’s not all.
They don’t actually talk, but they do make sounds like Yip, Yip, and Hee Hee. But then they can use complex chemicals to make a flash bang explosion. By comparison, the knights who try to ride Kaidan down after he retrieves his sword have no problem declaring that they intend to capture the illegitimate sire.
There are two moments when Kaidan is able to solve a problem using the same strategy. While it is impressive to see him employ what he has learned, there is a moment when the technique feels overused. It would be helpful to see this approach challenged and what happens when Kaidan has to rely on a different skill.
Kaidan is a lost boy looking for his home. The country he was destined to rule is no longer his. In fact, he is hunted like a criminal and finds a new threat at every turn. In this way, he is like every person that leaves the place where they grew up only to return to a place that they do not recognize. Luckily, he still remembers his tutelage under Lady Taleissa.
It is that instruction that will most likely prove to be one of Kaidan’s greatest strengths. Tyler Chin-Tanner is crafting a story that feels like a quiet storm that is building. James Boyle’s art blends with Andrew Dalhouse’s colors to capture the bright moments and the surrounding muted landscape. It is like they are showing the land and the people through a lens that remembers when there was more light and life. Pete Carlsson’s letters reverberate with the intention behind every character’s voice. In a story worth telling, it helps when all of the pieces fit so perfectly together.