Advance Review: Oddly Normal #5

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OddlyNormal05_Cover

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer, art, lettering, cover: Otis Frampton
Colours: Otis Frampton & Tracy Bailey
Alternate cover: Dani Jones

Issue #4 showed us young Oddly Normal’s first day in the Menagerie Middle School in Fignation, the fantastic world where she has taken shelter after her parents have disappeared. Some bullies have already started tormenting her in the cafeteria…

In this issue #5, the bullying is stopped by the intervention of Mr. Gooseberry, a teacher who, however, immediately sides with the bullies giving Oddly detention. Actually we know that Mr. Gooseberry, following in the tradition of “evil teachers” found in stories all over, was the man responsible for the bullying, having asked Nagis – the bully and possibly a vampire – to torment Oddly. We don’t know what his motivations are.

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The first thing that meets the eye in examining the credits for this book is the fact that, for the first time, Otis Frampton didn’t do everything himself (not considering alternate covers): there is now a “co-colorist” (Frampton’s own words), Tracy Bailey. Her style hasn’t left a major mark yet, but we’ll see.

This issue of Oddly Normal helps us understand slightly better what happens in Fignation. We are as lost as Oddly herself, hit by new information and knowledge that we struggle to process, lacking a frame of reference. At the same time, though, what Oddly experiences in school is something most of us will probably be able to relate with: Oddly is provoked until she reacts with a strength she didn’t know she was capable of (isn’t that a regular occurrence for teenagers?), then she is considered at fault by an authority figure who got it all wrong (in Oddly Normal, Mr. Gooseberry is malicious; in real life, more often than not such mistakes are caused by misunderstandings – but the wronged boy or girl will still feel they are a victim)…

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Oddly Normal is a series that, oddly (horrible pun fully intended), asks two new questions for every answer given. What initially might have seemed a simple children story is slowly becoming a really interesting adventure – still good for all ages.

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