THE NORMALS #2
Getting thrown off a cliff to prove a point is a bit harsh, but that is how we find our protagonist in the opening panels of THE NORMALS #2 from Aftershock Comics. Author Adam Glass brings us back to the first page of issue #1 with Jack at the bottom of a cliff. The good news is that he and his family are all artificial creations and thus cannot die, the bad news is they just found out and the company that built them wants their property back. When the discovery is made that Jack and his family have evolved from their original design, seemingly on their own, the lead scientist in charge of the project sets them on a dangerous quest to escape.
The one thing this comic does amazingly well is that is creates an almost tangible sense of panic and fear in Jack’s family. Over the course of 24 hours their entire world has been ripped apart and at the end of the ordeal they learn they will simply be turned off, essentially killed. Adam Glass really did an excellent job of capturing this emotion and channeling it through Jack and thus onto the reader. He is literally forced to sit there, immobilize, and watch as the murder of him family is calmly discussed as one would discuss the cancellation of a product line. It was a powerful scene and appropriately unsettling. Glass references Asimov’s theory of robotics and where the line is drawn between sentience and automation. All of these elements combine to provide a comic that has a powerful story to tell about self determination and what it means to be alive.
The art by Dennis Calero is solid while not extraordinary. What he does excel at is capturing the emotional beats I previously mentioned. All in all this is a very slow and dialogue heavy issue but Calero’s art helps it work by conveying that sense of fear, panic, and desperation. THE NORMALS started out on a real high note for me and this second issue might have slowed down a bit too much but I still think it is heading in the right direction and Glass definitely has a beat on the emotional story he is trying to tell