COMIC REVIEW: ORDINARY / AUTHOR: ROB WILLIAMS / ARTIST: S’ISRAELI / PUBLISHER: TITAN COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Meet Michael Fisher. He’s a plumber and estranged father, a man living alone in the squalor of his apartment, a man who owes money to the wrong kinds of people. In short, he’s a total loser. One day, the population of the entire world is given superpowers, which transforms Michael into... well, nothing actually. Michael is the only person on the planet not to develop any powers whatsoever, making him the Ordinary of the title.
It takes good writing to make a man like Michael a sympathetic character, rather than someone we laugh at, but Rob Williams pulls this off by making his story an emotional one. Michael’s quest is for his son, but he’s afraid that he isn’t a good father, just a man who will eventually let the boy down. Yet, for all his frailties, Michael never disappoints; in the turbo-charged world that Williams has created, Michael simply does what he has to, what he feels is right, what any of us would do in the same situation.
Williams is assisted by art from D’Israeli, which perfectly captures the tone of the story. Initially, it appears deceptively simple, but at closer inspection reveals great detail in every page. There’s a tribute to the first issue of Action Comics in one panel, but what really delights is the variety of superheroes that are on offer. In a world populated by them, everyone is different, and it’s great fun trying to spot familiar faces in the background; Seeing Professor Bunsen from The Muppets as one of a team of scientists may make the reader laugh out loud.
The publisher Titan has collected the six issues of Ordinary (which first appeared in the Judge Dredd Megazine, fact fans) into a hardback that is vibrant in colour that shines from all of its glossy pages. The story flows seamlessly, insisting on being read in one sitting, while a second and slower read reveals hidden depths in both art and writing, and proves even more enjoyable than the first. Add to this a magnificent collection of covers from various artists and an afterword on the science behind the story, and you’ve got something that’s far from ordinary; a wonderful and brave story that is engaging, emotional and entertaining, a tale that deepens and surprises with each new reading.