Issue Number(s): 1-3
Page Count: 32pp; 32pp; 36pp
Full Color, B&W, or partial color: Full Color
Publisher: Titan Comics
Cover Price: $3.99 each
Release Date(s): May 28, 2014; June 25, 2014; July 23, 2014
Writer: Rob Williams
When I first received Ordinary to review, I was intrigued. Maybe that was due to my not reading any synopses of the three-issue arc. I prefer to think it was the cover of issue one. I mean, this looked exactly like a book I might pick up on a Wednesday (hint, hint): it’s got a puzzle-piece giant, a melty guy, a couple of folks who look like they’re suffering from some form of radiation exposure…and a specky, schlubby plumber standing front and center, presumably our “ordinary” protagonist. “I hope this is good,” I thought as I always do when faced with such an anomaly.
And it was! Issue one of Ordinary introduces us to the aforementioned schlub, Michael Fisher, a divorced plumber living in Queens who has a strained relationship with almost everyone in his life, including but not limited to his six-year-old son, Josh, and hulking loan shark, Haka. One day after being accosted on his way to work by Haka’s henchmen, Michael begins to witness a lot of shocking changes. Like the old lady whose toilet he is meant to repair who gets a huge case of the Benjamin Buttons. And his partner Brian, who turns into an American Black Bear. Then there’s the street kid who can turn things to gold, the gamer who became a dragon, the British agent who teleports, the American President who can no longer hide his real thoughts behind thoughtful prose, and on and on. Something brilliant has happened to everyone on Earth – except Michael.
Issues two and three follow Michael as he navigates from Queens to Manhattan’s East Side to ensure Josh’s safety after humans prove that they, of course, cannot be trusted with such power (being prone to irrationality and overreaction as they are). As the vice president of the United States, prodded along by his increasingly demonic conscience-angels, stages a coup, a Scottish scientist begins her search for Michael to develop a cure for the world-wide epidemic from his own antibodies, making him the most unique person on the planet.
I like to root for a messy, smart-ass underdog and Michael should definitely be the image on Wikipedia’s page defining “Sad Sack.” I wish the arc had been longer, though, even by one issue, to expand on or explain a lot of little details. Seriously, I mean I have questions. Like, what happened to Josh’s mom, Sarah? Why, after a few weeks of lapsed contact, does Josh now call his dad by his first name? How does a child of six get such a huge chip on his shoulder about his dad? What ever happened to POTUS? I would have loved to see more gems like the Larry King gargoyle (Larry Kingoyle!), and to know more about the activities being conducted in Washington; the book captured a realistic view of the political fallout, namely major threats against America and the righteous furor of right-wing politicians which thickened the plot very well. But I do love it when a comic is comfortable enough with itself to burst into song and dance.
In more than one instance, it was apparent that Rob Williams is British, as few Americans ever think “Shit me!” or tack on “yeah” at the end of our sentences (Scarlett Johannson never does in my dreams), and that took me out of the story a little. But only a little! This story was one that, after starting, I definitely had to read through. It was engaging, has stunning art supporting the fantastical cast of characters, witty, and I could believe it.
What I love the most, though, is that Ordinary makes you smile from cover to cover – and while you’re thinking, hours later, “I wonder who won that next game of Connect Four?”