Travelling Man's Blog

Review: The Complete Rainbow Orchid by Travelling Man

Written and illustrated by Garan Ewing

Published by Egmont



It’s always a good indicator of how much you enjoy a story if you want a sequel. I read this a few days ago.

I want a sequel NOW.


Garan has captured, perfectly, everything about the comics that got me here in the first place. I grew up reading the TinTin books, a series of European graphic albums about a boy reporter, his sidekick dog and his best friend, a remarkably belligerent Sea Captain. Over the course of the series they fought a wide variety of pulp stereotypes, discovered alien life, went to the Moon and returned and a dozen other impossible things.

I get the feeling TinTin and Julius Chancer would get on rather well. The assistant to Sir Alfred Catesby-Gray, a researcher, Julius is a firecracker, a polite, British Indiana Jones. So, when an old friend asks for their help in finding a rainbow orchid, he leaps at the chance. Aided by Lily Lawrence, daughter of the friend in need and movie star, along with her agent Nathaniel Crumpole, Julius sets off. What he doesn’t realize is the villainous Urkaz Grope has plans for the rainbow orchid…

The first thing that strikes you about the book is the elegance of it. Garan has a clear love for the time period and everything is meticulously researched, from the planes involved to the geography of some of the locations. The second thing that strikes you is how little that weighs on the book. There’s a wonderful, light on its feet edge to the story as it sprints across the world taking in everything from French acrobatic fliers to secret cults in the UK and a very surprising closing act. This is pulp in its purest, finest sense; a story so crammed with excitement it can’t wait to tell you what’s going to happen next. And thanks to Garan’s clean, precise, elegant style every single thing that happens is there for you to see. That’s quite an achievement, especially as there’s so much going on.

Most importantly though, what strikes you is just how much fun you’re having. The characters are all easy to like and and Evelyn Crow, very much Julius’ opposite number in the enemy camp, is especially great fun. She’s the Irene Adler to Julius’ Holmes and the sparks the two knock off each other are some of the book’s high spots. And, in a book like this, that’s saying something. It’s intensely assured, confident, fun storytelling that gives you a complete story, a complete world and infinite scope for more. An all-ages read with none of its teeth pulled and ideas on every page, this is a winner. Go find it now, and get in the queue. The wait for Julius’ next adventure starts here…

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