Review: ExtraOrdinary

Series: Villians #1.5
Author: V.E. Schwab
Artist: Enid Balam
Colorist: Jordi Escuin Llorach
Letterer: Rob Steen
Publisher: Titan Comics
Released: November 16, 2021
Received: Own

Okay, so I know that V.E. (Victoria) Schwab writing graphic novels is not new (she wrote a tie-in series for her Shades of Magic world), but this is the first time I got to read the issues/volumes as they came out, and I am so very excited about that!

ExtraOrdinary is set in the world of Villains, fitting snugly between Vicious and Vengeful. As a fan of Schwab’s that hasn’t had a chance to read those novels (yet! It’s on the list), I sincerely had no trouble diving headfirst into this world.

Sometimes when a person has a near-death experience, they come back different. In the world of ExtraOrdinary, they come back with powers. These people are known as “E.O.s.” Their powers run the gambit.

Unfortunately, not everyone in this world is willing to live and let live. Some believe that E.O.s need to be exterminated, even those without dangerous abilities. Including a certain E.O. who believes it is his duty to hunt (and kill) the rest. Imagine waking up in that world, with the ability to know exactly how you will die…and seeing his face.

Writing

So, I’ll admit that it was probably a bit of a mistake for me to jump right into ExtraOrdinary without reading Vicious (at the very least). However, I was too excited (read: impatient) to do anything else. Still, I enjoyed this world and am happy that I have two novels (at the moment – more will be coming) to enjoy in my near future.

Thus far, I’ve enjoyed everything Victoria Schwab has written, so I went into ExtraOrdinay with high hopes. Hopes that were not disappointed. This is such a fascinating world with SO much potential.

I’m sure that the other novels delve further into abilities, different characters, and the consequences of it all. So I’m not going to focus too heavily on the millions of questions I am left with.

Charlotte Tills is a character that immediately grabbed my heartstrings. She survived something terrible, only to have the horror keep on rolling. It’s easy to see the drawback with her ability, as it is both passive and inescapable.

I wouldn’t have minded a slower pace surrounding the secondary characters and the break-in, but I imagine that more of that might happen in the novels, as I mentioned earlier? I certainly hope so. Finally, there’s the antagonist. Everything about this guy reads as somebody you love to hate – and boy did I relish that opportunity!

Art

If I’m being completely honest here (and I always strive to do so), what I loved the most about ExtraOrdinary is the artwork. It was so vibrant, especially when it came to portraying different abilities. I could picture myself happily looking at a hundred more pages of this artwork or buying a print (or ten). And don’t even get me started on those variant covers!

Enid Balam’s artwork is so bold and evocative. It’s partially because of how Charlotte is portrayed that I felt so strongly for her. The way her ability reflects on every surface – it’s harrowing. And the artist does not let the readers forget this.

I also really enjoyed how the rest of the world moved around these characters. I won’t go so far as to say it was muted…but you can feel the difference between the E.O.s and the ones hunting them…and the ones that are oblivious.

What threw me head over heels would be the coloring provided by Jordi Escuin Llorach. That vibrant red on each title page slays me – it’s so perfect. Meanwhile, the characters pop from the pages, thanks to a clever balance of bright accent details (hair, clothing, etc.) against duller backdrops.

Finally, there’s the lettering. Rob Steen did a brilliant job here; you can feel the tension as things turn more hectic. Likewise, the lettering works hard not to overtake everything else on the pages (which is quite a lot, come to think of it). It’s a careful balance, but one that was struck nonetheless.

Conclusion

ExtraOrdinary was an enchanting and shocking introduction into the world of Villains. I know that it was not intended to be an introduction, but that’s how it ended up for me. It was more than enough to leave me eager for the next two books in the series, not to mention anything else that may come my way.

Review: Adler #1

Review: Adler #1

Publisher: Titan Comics
Writer: Lavie Tidhar
Artist: Paul McCaffrey
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Released: February 5th, 2020
Rating: 3 1/2 Star

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets Sherlock Holmes in Titan Comics’ latest series: Adler. This new series picks up the tale of Irene Adler herself, and she is on the hunt. She’s going to be collecting a group of women she trusts implicitly. All with the goal of taking down Moriarty himself.

This new miniseries is written by Lavie Tidhar, drawn and colored by Paul McCaffrey, and lettered by Simon Bowland. It’s a series perfect for die-hard fans of this dynamic woman – and doesn’t require you to have read any series previously in order to be able to dive in. I for one had no problems, though I certainly wouldn’t mind a bit more information here and there (for curiosity’s sake).

Adler #1

The Writing

Adler #1 was an interesting yet complex read. I went into this series knowing that it would feature other strong and independent women, while still expecting most of the focus to be on Adler. That may become true later. But this series was afraid to start off by introducing us to the other ladies in this group, namely the nurse and presumably newest member to the team.

Her backstory was a fascinating one, albeit a heartbreaking read. They did an excellent job of creating somebody so compelling, while also raising curiously about her and her connection to the story as a whole.

Don’t worry, the issue did get around to introducing us to Irene, and she’s as spirited and observant as ever. She’s picked up the trait of declaring observations (and then explaining how she came to that conclusion). It’s not always an endearing habit, as we all well know. But she pulls it off nicely.

The (re)introduction of Moriarty went about as well as one might expect. That is to say, his character is exactly what I had hoped and expected: he’s dark and brilliant, and utterly unafraid to make a move, or in this case, make a warning perceived as a move.

Adler #1

The Art

There’s something very charming about the artwork of Alder #1. For starters, I really appreciated the inclusion of character designs at the beginning of the issue. It was a quick refresher and allowed readers to be able to immediately know who is who. Given the varied cast, that’s an important bit of information to go in with.

The series is highly stylized and influenced by the time period, which again, is really perfect. I particularly enjoyed the level of expressiveness included on the faces. There’s one expression in particular (one of horror, naturally) that will make me giggle every time I see it.

The color palette is rich and beautiful, and I could happily look at it all day long if you let me. I love how it was all complementary, even while fitting the period and sometimes more somber nature of the story.

Adler #1 alt3

In Conclusion

Adler #1 was not quite what I expected, but I did still find it to be a highly entertaining read. I’ll be curious to see where this series goes. And how far they’ll able to push the plot. It seems unlikely that they’ll have the hunt be a successful one, but hey! This series could surprise me, and wouldn’t that be something?

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