When a couple StarBleep officers decide to land their state of the art ship on a strange planet and go for a stroll, they inadvertently unleash a wildly unpredictable force on the rest of the universe—orcs, in space!

Orcs in Space from Oni Press is a sci-fi/fantasy mashup from the co-creator of Rick and Morty. Finding themselves unwelcome among their own people, the orc trio of Gor, Kravis, and Mongtar stumble into the untended StarBleep ship where they quickly befriend the AI D.O.N.A. and launch themselves into the great unknown. Our orcish heroes have simple desires—violence, killing what they eat, and then a good brawl to wrap it all up. But far from home and with the most advanced StarBleep technology at their fingertips, they’ll soon discover that there is more to life in a vast universe than they could ever have imagined.

Guided by D.O.N.A., the future looks bright for the three friends, especially since StarBleep can hardly imagine that anyone would lie to them or steal their prized property. Unfortunately, other denizens of space are not so friendly. Space rats and fluffy biker gangs—bounty hunters, robots, and one very angry StarBleep officer—it doesn’t take long for the orcs to ruffle some feathers. And as maybe not so peaceful D.O.N.A. questions where she came from, the orcs may find themselves in for more adventure than they bargained for. If the orcs manage to survive the troubles they come across, then only one question remains, will the rest of the universe survive the orcs?

Unsurprising for a co-creator of Rick and Morty, the story of Orcs in Space is bursting with humor and mayhem. While maintaining a loose overall plot, the first two volumes of the series mostly take the orcs from one adventure to the next as they try to understand their new surroundings and find their place—in space! The jokes are silly and sometimes immature, but often entertaining. The worlds and characters are imaginative and the blending of sci-fi and fantasy elements delivers an excellent mashup that genre fans are sure to appreciate. With this series, what you see is pretty much what you get. Orcs go to space—complications ensue. But the creators know what they’re aiming for, and the deliver on that point consistently from start to finish with a pace that charges forward while never getting ahead of itself.

Matching the tone of the story, the cartoony style of bright colors and fast action is well-suited to both the tone and the content of the comic. Characters and plot are clear, the large panels are engaging, and the visual humor serves the story just as much as the writing. From exclusive clubs to desolate planets, there is never a dull moment from page one onward.

Oni Press does not list an age rating for this title and the target audience is honestly a little unclear. Between the barf jokes (excuse me, ha-lorp jokes) and the straightforward, humorous storytelling, much of this series could be suitable for younger teens. However, a few moments of cartoon, albeit graphic violence, nudge the target audience a bit higher. Regardless, Orcs in Space remains suitable for younger readers of Rick and Morty while still holding enough similarity to entertain existing fans of these creators. Anyone who enjoys comic space fantasy with a sometimes low sense of humor will find plenty to enjoy in these pages. And there are enough nods to existing franchises that genre fans can enjoy the elements of parody as well. On the other hand, if you’re looking for sophistication, this probably isn’t the series for you.

In summary, Orcs in Space is nothing revelatory, but it delivers on its promise of genre mayhem and wacky fun and would be a worthy addition to any collection with teen or adult genre readers looking for some light entertainment and orcish misadventures through an unwitting galaxy.

Orcs in Space Vols. 1-2
By Justin Roiland, Rashad Gheith, Abed Gheith, Mike Tanner
Art by Francois Vigneault
Oni Press, 2021
Vol 1 ISBN: 9781620107560
Vol 2 ISBN: 9781637150177

NFNT Age Recommendation: Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16)

  • Josh

    | he/him Technical Services Librarian


    Josh Gauthier worked a technical services librarian in Maine before taking a detour into the tech field. He has a BA from the University of Southern Maine and an MFA from the Stonecoast creative writing program. Beyond his day job, Josh is also a fiction writer and playwright. You can find him discussing topics such as writing, comics, fiction, and pop culture on various social media platforms as @JG_Writer.

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