As The Orville sets the bar for sci-fi in its second season, it’s getting its first comic book series

Fox’s television series The Orville gets to explore a new world as it comes to Dark Horse Comics this summer.  TV series executive producer/writer David A. Goodman (Futurama) will write the series, with artwork by David Cabeza and colorist Michael Atiyeh (Tomb Raider).  The four-part series The Orville Season 1.5 takes place between TV seasons one and two.  Dark Horse Comics has revealed the first cover by Cabeza (below).  Check out the details from the press release for the comic book series below.

As great as the first season of The Orville was, the three most-recent episodes of the series have met or surpassed the best science fiction episodes of any classic or modern science fiction television series.  The Orville has been serious science fiction since its inception, and many critics and new viewers are at last taking notice.  Beginning with the two-part episode “Identity,” viewers got to see the very best planetary environments and sequences of space battles in the history of sci-fi television.  That’s right, the effects are that good–detailed, realistic, sweeping, and all-out fun.  And forget about comparisons to television shows, the second part of the story arc displayed an exciting, epic space battle on par with the best galactic assaults and dogfights from the Star Wars universe, comparable to the final assault in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Sci-fi fans can’t ask for anything better than that.  Thanks to executive producer and episode director Jon Cassar, The Orville reset the bar for compelling television sci-fi in this two-parter.  From story and surprises to production design and execution, the often lighthearted series drops plenty of drama on viewers–gut punches in contrast to the laughs–proving The Orville is the real deal.

Taking the journey forward immediately after the effects of the battle with the Kaylons, in last night’s episode “Blood of Patriots,” Norm MacDonald’s marvelously realized gelatinous Kaylon battle hero Yaphit is celebrated by the crew, and we meet genre-favorite actor Mackenzie Astin giving a compelling performance as a gritty warrior-soldier, the kind you’re not likely to soon forget.  The balance of the science fiction concept of reflecting the present with fictional stories of the future takes on new meaning with The Orville, as the writers deftly weave not just a single issue, but more than a half a dozen into each new episode.  The result is much-watch television that surpasses decades of programming that preceded the show.  From a character standpoint, it’s great fun to see Scott Grimes’ Lt. Gordon Malloy put forward as the ship’s hero-to-turn-to this season, a flawed man whose quirks and foibles reflect the kind of human you’d find today and in the future as part of any kind of actual fighting force.

As incredible a character the writers and actor Halston Sage created as security chief Lt. Alara Katan, season two replacement Jessica Szohr’s Lt. Talla Keyali practically upstages everyone in each scene.  Szohr’s balance of nonchalant fierce brute force and friendly banter make for another exciting addition to the crew to look forward to each week.

Story-wise in the second season The Orville continues to take new risks, stretching the audience’s expectations of what may be coming next, including stripping down its lead cast and getting to the very heart of what makes up each character, as was done the best last season for Alara.  This season Penny Johnson Jerald’s Dr. Claire Finn has been the focus of multiple episodes, providing viewers with more insight than sci-fi gives most of its characters.  And both Peter Macon’s Lt. Cmdr. Bortus and Mark Jackson’s Kaylon Isaac have been all but gutted to their cores, making the future possibilities for these characters wide open.

Meanwhile, viewers have four more episodes to look forward to this season.  And then there’s the new comic book to bridge the time until the next season (we have little doubt this will get a season three).  Here is the summary from the Dark Horse Comics press release:

These all new adventures will consist of two, two-issue “episodes” bridging the gap between the events of the first season of Seth MacFarlane’s hit television series, and the second season now airing on Fox.

The first of these “episodes” starts with The Orville, Issue #1: New Beginnings.  On their way to a fleet conference, Ed and Gordon investigate a distress signal from a century-old buoy belonging to a Union ship.  Back on the Orville, Kelly tries to mediate when Bortus insists on enrolling Topa into school despite him being only a few months old.

The second “episode” begins with The Orville, Issue #3: The Word of Avis, which sees the Orville intercept a small Union ship en route to the interstellar territory of the easily aggravated Krill.  The passengers, originally thought to be a group of xenoanthropologists, turn out to be much, much more interesting and dangerous than the crew of the Orville could’ve imagined.

The Orville: Season 1.5, Issue #1 arrives July 17, 2019, and is available for pre-order now at Elite Comics or your local comic shop.  The Orville airs Thursday evenings on Fox.

C.J. Bunce

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