Last we left Oddly Normal, our titular hero had been enrolled in a school in her aunt’s home world and… it’s full of jerks like the real world, apparently. How will she adjust? Is it good?
Oddly Normal #4 (Image Comics)
Forgoing the usual synopsis, we’ll get directly into discussing the issue. There’s not much to discuss on the story side of things this time around. We pretty much pick up with seeing Oddly in her new school, Menagerie Middle School, and how her first day is going there. That’s pretty much the gist of it—we’re still pretty much in setup mode and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s allowing the audience to see and learn more about the backdrop for where the series will be taking place and introducing all of the side characters. Still, from a story point of view, not much is happening.
The new additions to story with the setting and characters are decent at this point. It’s your typical looking school, but with the addition of monsters and more supernatural/alien like creatures, it does give the place more personality and makes it so lively. Plus, with the addition of the teachers asking Oddly questions about her world and discussing theirs in comparison, the issue does even provide a bit more backstory and a look at Fignation in general. That stuff is nicely handled and even a bit subtle in some ways. The rest of the characters introduced, though, don’t leave much of an impression outside of their very creative and occasional homage design. They are your basic stereotypes: The bully, the nerd, the loner, the upbeat girl, the snobby popular girl, the “cool” kid, etc; that sort of thing. There’s not much to them or even small hints of them having any depth, but that could change as time goes on.
Oh yeah alien man? I’d like to see how “perfect” your world is!
Regardless, Frampton’s writing is still solid. The pacing on the book is very nicely handled, always keeping the story going and never feeling slow at all. The structure and flow may feel a bit off in the opening pages as we constantly switch back and forth between the school’s teachers talking and Oddly answering some students’ questions, but otherwise it works and never really takes you out of the comic. The dialogue is also well done, with a lot of personality and humor which helps characterize the cast (even if there’s not much to them to begin with). I will say that the ending is on the weak side, feeling like the story ended before it really got going. Hopefully, the next few issues fix some of the minor issues and make the comic really shine.
The artwork on the book looks as great as always. Every single character in the book looks very distinct and unique, with not a single repeat or clone in the entire book (not even in the backgrounds). The characters are just as expressive and display a nice range of emotions, even subtly at points. The layouts are generally well handled, with the minor exception of the opening pages (though I get what he was going for with it). The coloring is also nice and helps with establishing the mood and feel a lot of the times. All in all, another win for the artwork.
Is It Good?
Oddly Normal #4 is another good issue of the series, but it could benefit from maybe moving on with the story or develop some areas more. That said, the writing is still pretty strong and the artwork looks great as ever. I still definitely recommend for kids, but I don’t see many adults getting much out of the series, at least at this point.