by Otis Frampton
Otis Frampton, responsible for all of the major components of this brand new series from Image Comics, introduced readers to a fun new world with Oddly Normal #1. The lead character, for which the story is titled, is the daughter of a witch and an incredibly average man and has recently wished her well-intentioned parents to disappear. The opening chapter of Frampton’s series was simple and endearing and the second issue follows that as it introduces readers to Oddly’s Aunt and the world of Fignation.
In the first issue, Frampton did a good job bringing readers into this story, the new universe he is building, and the lead character. Oddly is a bit of a downer, and the inks and colors of Oddly Normal are able to reflect that sense of gloom, while still showcasing a sense of polish and glamour that keeps it feeling like a book meant for a younger audience. The tonality and pacing that Frampton struck in the first issue continues here in chapter two. The book moves pretty swiftly and Frampton rarely has more than six panels to a page. It feels snappy, which is important considering that a majority of the first chunk of pages are a depiction of one character speaking. The sequence, though, is not one of a lecture, but one played for comedic effect. Soon after Oddly realizes her mistake, Auntie appears out of a glowing door and begins to ramble on some excuse as to what held her up. Frampton has added a character that feels fun immediately and his ability to capture her personality in just this introduction is impressive.
As with the first issue, the overall plot in the second issue is rather basic and short. Frampton spends a lot of the pages focused on the characters and how they interact. Watching Oddly attempt to interrupt her Aunt, growing more and more frustrated plays out perfectly; the disgruntled and mopey adolescent is recognizable, and the aloof foil who is more interested in recounting her latest adventure than hearing anything else makes for a great pairing. Panels and pages wiz by and the story Auntie tells is almost interesting enough to wish to see if not for the pressing matter at hand. Eventually Auntie takes a breath and Oddly is able to, in nothing short of shouting, inform Auntie of her parent’s predicament. Through their movements, designs, and dialogue, Frampton has established voices for each of the characters early and impressively.
Once Auntie learns of the dilemma that Oddly has created, she attempts to fix the scenario, only to realize that something far more sinister has occurred. Even though Oddly’s mom had told her all of her life that, because she is not a full witch, Fignation is too dangerous for her, Auntie claims that they have no choice but to retreat there. With a few quick words about clearing her mind, the two vanish and the story jumps to another world. This new world, from the brief glimpse in this issue, looks to be filled with the potential for adventure.
As previously mentioned, the first two chapters of Oddly Normal have focused mostly on its primary characters and striking a tone and pace with its readers. Frampton’s writing is filled with energy and his choice to keep the panel-to-page ration down, allows the reader to move through the chapters incredibly quickly. For children and families, the story of Oddly Normal is a solid read and looks to offer a great new universe and fun stories issue to issue.