The Krill are on the move and only Captain Ed Mercer and his crew can preserve the peace.  Your Major Spoilers review of The Orville: Launch Day #1 from Dark Horse Comics awaits!


Writer: David A. Goodman
Artist: David Cabeza
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Editor: Dave Marshall
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 2, 2020

Previously in The Orville: Launch DayWhen seemingly hostile Krill ships cross into Union space, the Orville intercepts.  Captain Mercer learns they are en route to a planet that left the Union decades ago under mysterious circumstances.  Scans have discovered a moon-sized construct above the planet, and the Krill intend a preemptive strike against the presumed weapon.  But is it?


Our story begins 20 years in the relative past, with a young Ed Mercer and Gordon Malloy serving aboard a science vessel in the Union fleet.  One of their crew mates, a young man named Ycil, is leaving the ship, as his homeworld of Alibar has chosen to leave the Union, which sets up our big mystery and shows us that young Ed had terrible hair.  In the present, Captain Ed Mercer of the USS Orville encounters a fleet of Krill (aggressive aliens who are often at odds with The Union) ships on their way to Alibar under the belief that the government of that world has created a massive planet-destroying weapon.  After consulting with the upper echelons, Ed and his crew are approved to accompany the Krill to the planet and investigate.  Ed and his XO Kelly Grayson infiltrate the world in disguise, while Gordon Malloy and Chief Engineer LaMarr investigate the potential weapon in orbit, and neither side finds what they hoped for…


The first thing about this issue that I appreciate is the art, capturing the likenesses of the actors incredibly well, even when they’re in alien disguises.  The fact that Ed and Kelly still look like Seth MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki when they’ve been given green skin, alien ears and new hair is impressive, and Cabeza is great at the spacecraft and technological displays that an Orville story will require.  This issue’s story is also well-done, but does require a working knowledge of the TV series in order to really work.  (The question of whether or not this is a weakness probably depends on whether you’re one of the people who doesn’t, I just felt like it needed mentioning.)  The big cliffhanger moment on the final page is both visually impressive and a strong narrative choice for an ending.


I’ve always appreciated how ‘The Orville’ fills the pop culture space left behind by ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’, and as a fan of the show, I find The Orville: Launch Day #1 to be a successful first act, using the characters well and setting up a compelling set of mysteries to unravel, with strong art holding the whole thing together for 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  If you’re looking for something that will tide you over until the beginning of season 3, or you’re wanting to test Orville waters, this book should do the trick.

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A Good Book

This issue feels like the first half of a good episode of the show, making it exactly what a fan would want.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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