By Adam Glass, Dennis Calero, Adriano Augusto, and Corey Breen
Your life is your reality; it’s what is normal to you. It doesn’t matter what it is or how different you are from someone else; what you experience every day is your “normal.” What if you discovered that it was all a lie? What if your normal is completely taken from you and can never be returned again. This happens to the Normal family in the new Aftershock Comics series, The Normals.
Writer Adam Glass gives us a terrific suspenseful story that keeps the pages turning right up to the last panel. He does a great job of showing just how normal this family is in the first few panels. The banter back and forth between husband and wife or parent and child is an authentic slice of American pie dialogue that you would expect to find in most families. Things quickly go wrong, though, and the reader is caught up in their confusion and fear as they try to make sense of everything. There is a good build of discombobulation and suspense throughout the issue. Although some of the characters actions may seem a little strange at times, the reveal at the end clears everything up. The pacing of the book is good until the last few pages where there is a lot of information crammed into a handful of panels. Another page or two could have helped end the issue a little smoother, however, it’s not jarring enough to make it unreadable. The story has a lot of promise, especially if we get to see how the family handles the destruction of their normalcy.
Dennis Calero’s photo-realistic art brings the characters to life for the reader. The character’s expressions are drawn exceptionally well in just about every panel. Even if we didn’t have the dialogue, the reader would be able to easily discern what is going on in the story due to Calero’s talent as a storyteller. This gives the reader a great emotional connection to the family that goes from happy to panic over the course of the issue. Calero focuses a lot on the character’s eyes throughout the book which brings to mind the adage, “the eyes are the window to the soul.” In this case, it’s the truth because we get a good look into the heart of the family. There are scenes where the eyes stand out above all else and a few panels that are extreme close ups of a character’s eyes. In them we see terror, horror, and confusion being expressed. The backgrounds are nicely rendered and look realistic, which again reinforces that familiar theme of normalcy. All in all, the art is great and helps to communicate the feelings of all involved.
The Normals #1 is a great start to a new series. It keeps the reader engaged in the characters’ experience and ends with a reveal that will bring you back for the next issue. It also makes us wonder about our own idea of what exactly normal is. Anytime a story can make the reader ponder their own existence, it’s a good one. Check out The Normals and then check yourself!