REVIEW: ‘The Orville: Launch Day,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Orville: Launch Day #2

The Orville: Launch Day #2 is published by Dark Horse Comics, written by David A. Goodman, art by David Cabeza, colors by Michael Atiyeh, and letters by Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt. The crew of the Orville is running out of time. With Launch Day here, the ground party still hasn’t figured out what the significance of Launch Day is. Meanwhile, in space, the shuttle crew tries to discover what the orbiting space station’s quantum interference is hiding. All the while, the Orville stares down a hostile fleet.

The concept of a nation scapegoating its problems on “outsiders” is as old as the concept of nation-states themselves. Politicians love to use an external threat, whether one exists or not, to blame for their country’s woes. Otherwise, they might have to admit those same woes are the faults of the politicians or even the people themselves. And no one likes to admit blame. But never once has this mindset actually helped to solve a problem. And unfortunately, solutions are never what those utilizing such tactics are actually looking for. There is often no better way to really highlight how boneheaded society can be than a good cautionary sci-fi tale.

While the story of The Orville: Launch Day #2 is partitioned between the Orville, the shuttle crew, and the ground party, it is the ground party’s story that steals the show here. The search for the Captain’s former crewmate leads them not to the crew member but to their mom. While they chat about their old friend, they also get more information about Launch Day and the motivations behind it. This sequence, as well as all the dialogue in the issue, is penned wonderfully by Goodman.

It isn’t often that I can describe an exchange as both ordinary and terrifying, but that is exactly what is delivered in The Orville: Launch Day #2. When questioned about whether or not the station orbiting the planet will fix Alibar’s problems, answers like, ”they wouldn’t have spent all that money on it otherwise,” are used to justify the station’s existence. As someone who cherishes the concept of independent thought, answers like that scare the bejeezus out of me. And I’m all too aware of how often they are spoken by people with a frightening level of conviction.

What is ultimately the function of the space station isn’t revealed until the last possible moment, and the final revelation is mind-blowing. It works as the ultimate extreme a society can go to in the pursuit of solving such an ill-defined fear as the one of “outsiders.”

While The Orville: Launch Day #2’s core narrative delivers a serious tale, the story isn’t without its cheeky moments either. Commander Bortus, having been left in charge back aboard the Orville, is given a wonderful chance to shine. Through some clever scheming, he manages to buy his Captain all the time he can as the Krill grow restless with waiting.  His bullish tactics provide a fun chuckle that keeps the book from becoming overly dramatic.

Just as the story maintains it’s strong writing for its finale, so too does the art. Cabeza delivers a clear presentation, allowing the reader the full impact of the issue’s script. This work, coupled with Atiyeh’s colors creates a solid artistic showing for this book.

Rounding everything out is Starkings and Betancourt’s lettering. Their work keeping the story in harmony with the art, while also remaining easy to follow, is well delivered.

When all is said and done, I walked away from The Orville: Launch Day #2 impressed with everything it manages to accomplish. It delivers a read that both looks at real-world issues, through the guise of far fetched sci-fi as well as delivers a fun story. Fans of the IP will definitely want to pick it up.

The Orville: Launch Day #2 is available on September 23rd wherever comics are sold.


The Orville: Launch Day #2
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TL;DR

When all is said and done, I walked away from The Orville: Launch Day #2 impressed with everything it manages to accomplish. It delivers a read that both looks at real-world issues, through the guise of far fetched sci-fi as well as delivers a fun story.