ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Ordinary Gods,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Ordinary Gods #1 - But Why Tho

Ordinary Gods #1 is written by Kyle Higgins, illustrated by Felipe Watanabe, colored by Frank William, and lettered by Clayton Cowles. It is published by Image Comics. In another realm, thirteen gods ruled over their various territories until five of them led a revolution against the One King—leading to an endless cycle of war, death, and rebirth. In our reality, Christopher is a 22-year-old who lives a fairly normal life: he works at a paint company, he lives with his parents and 12-year-old sister Brianna, and he attends therapy. However, Christopher is secretly one of the five gods—and he has to unlock his power in order to save the world.

This marks another Image Comics series from Higgins, who is currently impressing me with his run on Radiant Black. Higgins has a great gift for balancing out-of-this-world concepts (in this case, a realm populated by immortals that are fueled by human emotion) with characters that have all-too-human feelings and fears. And, once again, he has crafted a protagonist I feel intensely connected to. Christopher talks about his struggles with depression and how he often questions his purpose in life, which are issues I’ve struggled with in real life. In the same way that Radiant Black‘s Nathan Burnett struggled with getting his writing career off the ground and had to navigate the superhero ropes, Christopher has to deal with his mental health and the fact that he’s essentially a god. The scene of a Black man in his 20’s going to therapy is one that resonates deeply with me.

Bringing Higgins’ script to life are Watanabe and William, whose artwork has to be seen to be believed. As Higgins’ script shifts from world to world, Watanabe’s work shifts to match it. The clean industrial landscapes of shopping malls and office buildings give way to a feudal kingdom and intense fight scenes as the gods collide with each other. Time itself also shifts, depicting Samurai warriors dueling one minute and an atomic bomb test the next. Christopher himself looks less like a deity and more like a normal 20-year-old, wearing hoodies and jeans. The gods themselves vary in design, with armor and weapons that feel ripped from a Dungeons & Dragons campaign; the One King himself bears a striking resemblance to God of War protagonist Kratos, with William giving him pasty white skin and glowing red eyes that only hint at the depth of his menace.

In addition to the main story, the issue contains a short story titled “Flip of a Coin.” Written by Jana Quinn, “Flip of a Coin” focuses on yakuza boss Masato Taoka, who plays a role in the issue’s opening sequence. The notions of fate and free will it brings up have been explored before, but Quinn finds a new way to discuss these notions—particularly why one would leave things up to a simple coin toss. I’m genuinely curious to see if more issues will feature backup stories in this vein, as it helps this universe feel richer and more lived-in.

Ordinary Gods #1 sees its creative team forge new mythology through character and world-building, leading to yet another great launch from Image Comics. Higgins and Watanabe have given birth to something special here, and I can’t wait to see where future issues take this concept as I’m curious to see what became of the other gods.

Ordinary Gods #1 will be available to purchase on July 7 wherever comics are sold.

Ordinary Gods #1
5

TL;DR

Ordinary Gods #1 is a wonderful example of world and character building that forges new mythology in the space of 34 pages, leading to yet another great launch from Image Comics. Higgins and Watanabe have given birth to something special here, and I can’t wait to see where future issues take this concept as I’m curious to see what became of the other gods.