If I’m being perfectly honest, I was a bit caught off guard when realizing that this was going to be an Orville book which spanned more than two issues. It’s just that the norm is usually seeing a book titled “…Part 1 of 2” and quickly assuming that when the following issue comes out, that’s it. So it was a treat to discover that we still had more Orville to look forward to. Considering how the previous story ended as well, this creative team certainly had my confidence that they could take us through another new experience with the crew.
Like the story before, it took a bit of time to figure out when exactly this one took place, but everything came together once you were able to piece that together for yourself. At best, you know that this does take place after the infiltration mission which Ed and Gordon barely survived on an enemy Krill ship. This time around things kick off when the Orville detects a Union transport headed straight for Krill territory, and find that something is off about this ship and their crew. Off the bat this grabs your attention because a lot of these plots tend to involve things either seeming too good to be true, or things which you know are wrong and wait in suspense for the worst to hit. It was hard to say which one you were expecting from this group of xenoanthropologists. At the very least they did not give the impression like you had to keep your guard up about them being physically imposing.
Now when it came to revealing what was so troubling about these xenoanthropologists? That was what truly made this feel like any other episode you might watch of The Orville. This is one of those series where they get into real world situations. What they chose for this new arc was both bold and relatable to the world we live in. Especially when it comes to those who become so enthralled by the lifestyle of another culture. Some people don’t take identity politics seriously, and they don’t realize that it is much bigger than they are willing to acknowledge it for being. You might wonder why the Krill, but that kind of extreme is what makes this worthwhile. In all honesty, I would have only felt some sort of way if they chose the Moclans. It goes without saying that their lifestyle is as controversial as it gets.
The big question for me was trying to figure out where this issue would introduce this new character who John encounters. It was interesting to see that while this character was new to us, she ended up being familiar to John. This was a great way to shake things up for him since we already got two issues which focused on some of the others more than him. Plus, I always find it welcoming when we get to spend a little time with the engineers. They like the rest above who tend to carry themselves more uptight. Not to say that John isn’t, but the company he keeps has their moments.
One of the best things for me as I flipped open to the first page of this issue was being hit with the realization that these pages were still graced by the same art team. As I say multiple times. For books like this, it matters that much more that the interior work is just as appealing as the story writing. Once more I was able to get through an issue from start to finish with admiration for the quality work shared between David Cabeza and Micheal Atiyeh. Like the issues previous, Cabeza’s pencils are stunning for how clean his strikes are, the detail he’s able to get out of them, and of course the accuracy that he is able to bring to our favorite characters. Some of the new characters we are introduced to looked great as well between the hairstyle of one, and the alien race of the other. So far I would actually dare to say that this book is some of the best work that I’ve seen from Atiyeh too. His colors have depth, and they have range, but most importantly there is a consistency to them that in other books might be shaky because of the pencils he’s working with.
The name of the game is identity politics and freedom to choose the way you live. This is the kind of storytelling that I believe many of our comics out there are missing, and it’s a shame we don’t get that because we don’t want to scare off those who want to live in a fantasy world. The Orville #3: The Word of Avis Part 1 of 2 doesn’t care about any of that. This creative team jumps into the same hard-hitting topics as the show and instantly making this a must have for a TV-to-comic adaptation.