Black Orchid: Or an anti-violent superhero comic

Black Orchid - Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean

I'm really uncertain how I feel about this book. On one hand the art is phenomenal - Dave McKean has created a beautiful book. Every page is full of color, emotion, and a softness which blankets even the grimmest details. Even the layout of the panels is excellent. It truly is stunning. On the other hand I don't think I'm the target audience for this particular volume. It ties into the DC universe more than I expected, and while I recognize such figures as Poison Ivy, Swamp Thing, and of course Batman and Lex Luthor, I don't know much about them nor do I have any investment in them. I could tell the book was drawing on a rich backstory, and was filled with Easter Eggs, but it was lost on me since I've always been a Marvel girl.


I did appreciate how the story turns traditional comic book tropes on their head, and follows a more gentle and I dare say feminine storyline. The themes of non-violence were ahead of their time, and I feel like modern comics in general likely owe this book a great debt. Still, when it comes down to it I'm not sure I can enthusiastically say I enjoyed it as much as I feel like I should have. If you are a fan of the DC universe, and want to try something unusual and contemplative, I'd say give this one a read. If you don't generally follow comics and are looking for a solid stand-alone story you might want to give this one a pass - your milage may vary.