While not a follower of the comics, I do love Neil Gaiman. This is the story of how Black Orchid comes to life and seeks out a meaning for, literally, the life given to her. She wants answers to the questions "Who am I? Why am I here?" and is desperate to find a place that she will belong.
Her tale is told with cameo appearances by Batman, Swamp Thing, and Poison Ivy; and you should not miss the nightmarish visit to the Arkham Asylum where a skeletal, sleepless man spills his nightmares on the floor, and the x-ray man weeps burning tears onto the floor.
She awakens as the Black Orchid in the greenhouse at Dr. Phillip Sylvian, with the memories of a woman named Susan Linden. Phil tells her about a little of her background, and tells her of those who he went to college with, without whom she would not be alive; Dr. Jason Woodrue, Pamela Isley and Alec Holland.
But before he can reveal everything to her, Phil is killed and the Black Orchid is on her own. Her ex husband Carl Thorne finds out about her plant-reincarnation, and makes a visit to her, killing all but one of the smaller plants that Phil has been nurturing. Black Orchid takes the little one with her, "Suzy", to Gotham city where a tip from a friend sends her off along to Arkham Asylum to speak with Poison Ivy. Suzy is snatched by Lexcorp, but after a quick visit with Swamp Thing, Black Orchid rescues Suzy and they fly off to the Amazon Rainforest where Black Orchid can plant her seeds.
But there are still those who hunt her down; her ex husband who is trying to kill her again, and the Lexcorp minions sent into the rainforest to bring her back alive so that she can be dissected. What a girl...er...plant, to do?
Brief comic strip type prose does not stop Gaiman from bringing to life a fully fleshed out story, and the artwork of Dave McKean is to be applauded. Moving from shades of gray to brilliantly splashed pages of vibrant color, he paints brutality, horror, and the sereneness of nature in the same ethereal fashion. This is an excellent choice for those who are just starting to dip their toes and get their feet wet in the world of Graphic Novels. Enjoy!
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