COMIC REVIEW: Ordinary #2

Ordinary is the story of Michael Fisher. Michael is somewhat of a loser; a plumber in New York. Those facts are unrelated. But how do we know he’s a loser? Well, when everyone in the world suddenly obtained superpowers, our protagonist was the only person not to get one. So far, everything has gone wrong and while the world is going to hell in a hand-basket, he needs to get back home in Manhattan to find his son. Issue #1 was great fun and shouldn’t wonderful imagination, although had little depth. It received great notices and high praise from the likes of Warren Ellis and Al Ewing. Ordinary is an obvious labour of love from writer Rob Williams and artist D’Israeli, and has previously been published in Judge Dredd Magazine. Can fun alone sustain a comic book series?

Issue #2 opens in a room of American government types. The Vice President is surrounded by tiny war-like angels. The President seems distracted. A British scientist believes the superpowers could be a plague or a genetic disorder and has a plan to investigate a cure. The VP isn’t interested. He has  religious agenda. Already, page 1 has given the book some depth. A satire on US politics. A battle between science and religion. Meanwhile, Michael is finding it hard to get to Manhattan. His cosmic taxi driver; his only hope. It appears that everyone’s powers are related to their personality or their job. Check out the policeman and the construction worker on page 6. His journey takes him onto a cable car where he meets a zombie, a man who can walk on water but prefers the view and a human bomb. There’s a hint of Indiana Jones style humour at one point.

Then there’s a musical scene. Out of nowhere. And why not? It comes as a shock and at first you wonder what the hell is going on. It’s kind of an exposition song although has a dramatic and touching moment within it. The few pages of this musical number will be divisive.

Back in the US Government lab and the British scientist hasn’t revealed her power, but the politicians are suspicious and under the pretext of the fact she hasn’t found someone who is immune and that she’s not American, she’s sacked. The reader naturally assumes she is seeking Michael, although she doesn’t know it yet. And maybe she won’t find him, as we leave issue #2 with our ‘hero’ searching for his son in a ruined soon. Anyone know Pink Floyd?

Issue #2 improves on the first book by adding some narrative interest and some new characters. It adds intrigue, satire and the semblance of a plot. The writing is great and some of the dialogue is excellent. High points include the aforementioned taxi driver and scientist’s scene with her beer loving subject. There are plenty of cultural nods and references making the reader smile. The art, generally speaking, isn’t what you call beautiful, but it is striking. It is clever. Some of the colours and pages are awesome (check out page 16 – an exception in that it is beautiful), but so bold that it won’t be to everyone’s taste. It’s all appropriate, however, not distracting. The art simply feels right, alongside the wit and verve of the writing. Of course, there are dozens of interesting superpowers on display, which are well yes, fun.

William’s and D’Israeli haven’t created a classic comic book, but it’s not far off. It has humour and interesting subtext. It has memorable art. It has imagination and joy. It is culturally aware without being clichéd. All it needs is some stand-out characters and a little more characterisation. Much to enjoy for all comic book fans. A book to leave you smiling and wanting more.

Title:  Ordinary #2

Publisher: Titan Comics

Rating: 4/5

Reviewer: Ian J Simpson

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