What would you do if you found out that your idyllic life was a lie and everything you know and love was fake? That is the question posted by author Adam Glass in THE NORMALS #1 from Aftershock comics. Suburban life is rolling right along, peaceful as can be until a man’s son hits his head while playing in front of their house and instead of blood there is wire and circuitry beneath the skin. This one event sends and entire family into complete turmoil and on a quest to find out what in the world is going on. A return to their home town to find answers only results in more questions and hysteria. Nobody remembers them, their parents no longer live in their family homes, and every clue they find leads to more suspicion. When the question is finally asked, “Is my son a robot?”, the answer is even worse than a confirmation of their fears.
Adam Glass writes a comic that borders on being a horror book without any monsters or villains. I think one of the most compelling parts of this first issue is how much time is spent establishing a normal world, pun intended. Just when you think you are reading a comic that feels like a family man’s diary the entire world is upended and thrown into chaos. Glass delivers a palpable sense of tension and terror. That feeling of being faced with a world in which everything you thought you know is wrong is just as terrifying as a monster chasing you and it is done so well in this book. We know where the story is going thanks to the cold open and subsequent time jump backwards but just how it will get there looks like it is going to be one hell of a ride.
Artist Dennis Calero compliments the writing the slowing turning up the sense of despair and confusion on the characters faces as the issue progresses. Its subtle but the shift in how the Mother and Father look and react as things go from boring to crazy was a nice touch. Clean lines and detailed backdrops round out the artistic effort and the end result is yes another extremely solid comic book from Aftershock. I have been singing the praises of this new publisher since they debuted and THE NORMALS #1 is another great example of short run creator owned comic with quality talent set out to tell a good story.