Burn The Orphanage #1 Review

By: Rob Neil Gruszecki

            Rock is on a mission. To track down and beat to a bloody pulp whoever burnt down his home as a child. With a canister of gasoline and lighter, one man ended the lives of dozens of children but unbeknownst to him, left one alive. One who would do whatever it took to avenge the cruel deaths of his friends. With the help of Bear and Lex, Rock will travel the streets, side-scrolling through endless waves of thugs in order to reach his ultimate goal. The final boss. The catalyst of all his anguish since he was a child. A stream of fists and feet to faces, the three fighters who were born to lose deliver their brand of vengeance to a cast of peons littering the world with their filth.

Sina grace, the creator of The L’il Depressed Boy is joined by Undying Love’s co-creator Daniel Freedman to create a comic that attempts to capture the feel from an early nineties side-scroller arcade game and bring the 8-bit characters to life in comics alongside all their brutish but honourable glory. Burn the Orphanage is full of brawls and beatings that entertain and keep the book exciting while telling a fairly episodic and self contained chapter in this first installment of the Born to Lose trilogy. Focusing mainly on Rock and tagging along with his thoughts we are exposed to the seedy underbelly of the crime world as it is introduced violently to a combo move from one of the Final Fight inspired trio.


An interesting concept and nostalgic tone make Burn the Orphanage a fun issue and will certainly satiate those looking for a light and easy fight comic. What the book lacks in substance or ingenuity is made up for in full blown mayhem. Besides, a very by the numbers, straight forward take on the simplicity and excitement of the video games we grew up on is exactly what was being attempted here and in that it is a huge success. The book moves exactly like a tiered level game where one wave of enemies is disposed to unlock a new area and get you one step closer to the big boss that waits atop an empire of disposable foot soldiers. The revealed motivation of the ultimate villain is perfectly one dimensional and re-creates the bad guys we would pummel in Double Dragon who were evil simply because.


Sina Grace illustrates the book and has a few missteps along the way unfortunately. Occasional panels feature awkward anatomy and flailing limbs that look very odd. In one panel, Lex kicks a ninja stripper with a leg that can’t quite be discerned as either the right or left and threw me off in the midst of an otherwise awesome sequence. Rock at one point has an arm that looks completely disembodied as he strikes a man humorously named “Homeless Joe” across the face. Besides these few little hiccups there are pages that are excellent, for example one hilarious decapitation later on in the book had me practically jumping in the air with glee, and most of the fighting elicited the same response.

Despite minor trip-ups in delivery I think Burn the Orphanage part one of the Born to Lose trilogy will be greatly enjoyed by anyone looking for some fisticuffs in their comics.


Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician, podcaster and Wednesday Warrior

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