REVIEW: Ordinary Gods # 1 is epically stellar


Ordinary Gods # 1 is an outstanding start to a series featuring a war of immortals spanning Earth history, with excellent art and compelling writing.

Come for the war of gods, stay for humanity. The new Image Comics series Ordinary gods launches an epic tale of immortal gods at war, caught in a cycle of death and rebirth that spans human history. With the fascinating characters of writer Kyle Higgins, the intricate works of art of Felipe Watanabe, the marvelous colors of Frank William and the letters of Clayton Cowles, Ordinary gods # 1 shows promise for comic book fans looking for a series featuring immortal warriors.

Ordinary gods # 1 begins on Earth, centered around a man named Christopher who feels useless and mean. He works in a paint shop, undergoes therapy and enjoys spending time with his family. However, Christopher’s monotonous life is turned upside down when a man named Dominic approaches him and claims he is a reincarnation of one of the Five – of the Gods trapped in an untold cycle of rebirth and death in the history of planet Earth. In a kingdom far beyond Earth, thirteen immortal beings rule thirteen territories. These territories fall under the reign of the One King, the supreme leader of these immortals, known only to their subjects as Gods. Five of these gods have started a rebellion, hoping to free the people from the brutal tyranny of the One King and the other Gods. Thus, an endless conflict has emerged between these immortals who are constantly reborn despite countless deaths.

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Ordinary gods shoot for the stars by incorporating an epic space opera with its themes of immortality, reminiscent of the New Gods or the Eternals of Jack Kirby. The whole premise of Ordinary Gods makes it a quintessential study of classic comic book themes – mighty space gods, immortal warriors, and an unassuming youth destined for great power. Many of the concepts in the backstory are fascinating, especially with each of the 13 Immortals being connected to an emotion, allowing the narrative to potentially explore the relationship these emotions have to each other, especially when personified. by a God. Either way, much of this first issue is a preamble, which defines the larger arc protagonist Christopher will discover in subsequent issues.

Higgins draws readers in with his portrayal of Christopher as the emotional core of the story. Christopher’s introduction to his therapist’s office feels authentic to the experiences of a modern young adult. He expresses his dissatisfaction with the direction of his life and an impending fear of insignificance in the face of mediocrity. Even an explicit evocation of Christopher’s depression and allusions to a previous mental health crisis give the character an authenticity that offers great potential for further emotional exploration. Additionally, Christopher’s interactions with his family are written with sincerity, especially when the tale explores his relationship with his younger sister, Brianna. He wants to protect his sister from the harsh realities of adulthood, letting her be a child who loves to read and is unaware of her brother’s mental health issues. These authentic moments shine brightly when they contrast sharply with the fantastical backstory of the issue, making the tale all the more compelling when the two collide and plunge Christopher into the epic plot.

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The art of Ordinary gods # 1 is exemplary. Starring seven artists, the cover alone shows the promise of the series – teasing an epic adventure through human history with iconic historical figures behind the protagonist. Felipe Watanabe’s detailed line art shines in every panel and with every character. Watanabe’s detailed expressions complement Higgins’ writing, highlighting each character’s emotions throughout the issue. Readers are able to understand a character’s thoughts and desires, not only from dialogue, but also from body language. The subtle facial ticks and expressive eyes show just how big the scale of the narrative is and how believable these characters feel. The juxtaposition of our grounded reality with the fantastic reality of the gods blends in perfectly with each other due to the immense detail of each panel.

William’s vibrant colors complement the scenes in a collection of settings, with the biggest highlight being William’s lighting depiction. The action is also stellar, with the opening scene featuring a frenzied gunfight enhanced by Cowles lettering. Overall, the art of Ordinary gods # 1 is a visual feast, which makes it both hard to look away and fun to read.

With a recent spotlight on stories featuring immortals living through history (i.e. Old guard and BRZRKR), fans of these books will be delighted to learn that Ordinary gods is a stellar addition to the genre. Its fascinating characters and epic scale make it a refreshing experience. Ordinary gods # 1 is a great first step in a potentially immortal series.

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