Review: Norman #1

I wish that Titan Comics could go back and time and not publish this issue. Not because it’s a bad issue, but it’s not a first issue. This is the first issue of the third book/volume of the series. The problem being that if you haven’t read the first two books… this “first issue” isn’t going to make a damn lick of sense. It will actually be a very confusing first issue because even though it gives you a pseudo recap of the series through the dialogue… it’s just not helpful without context. If they could go back in time I would suggest that Titan reprinted the first two books as single issues first and then naturally work their way to this volume. [su_quote]Synopsis: Where’s Norman? That’s what our school kids are left wondering as the teacher previously abandoned him on a field trip, but don’t worry… he’s okay, better than okay actually. And what’s up with Grace? And why does Norman want her on his team?[/su_quote]

If you read the first two books like I did, then this is a good issue. It’s just all that pesky context that you need in order to understand what’s going on. Grace’s role in the story has increased a lot and this once arrogant and terrible character, now makes you feel pity for her.

Norman_1_Cover_B Stan SilasAs always with Stan Silas’ writing there’s humor, dark humor and then honest to god moments that are just tragic. That’s always been the weird charm of the book. The humor is stuff like the students going behind the teachers back to make sure that Norman is found missing by the police, the dark humor is the way that Norman kills one of his fellow students. The tragic part of the story is watching an orphan be adopted by a circus as part of their freak show while only Grace looks on. It’s a combination that only Silas can do as a writer with this world.

It’s still a pretty messy story at times though. As the world has gone on, Silas has added more and more elements making it really convoluted. The students and teacher feel like filler because they don’t contribute to the story moving forward, but they're given their own storyline. At this point a lot of kids have died and yet the parents don’t make an appearance in the story. Which hey, that’s fine. That would complicate things, but then don’t do stuff like involve the police or bother showing the classroom.

Silas’ artwork continues to be great. The line work is clean and it has a very animated cartoon look to it with both the design and coloring. It doesn’t look like a slasher horror story, but that’s what makes it visually funny. That and seeing a little boy serial killer in and of itself is just funny.

I’m being hard on this issue because I think it was a huge misstep. It’s really hard to image that new readers will understand what’s going on and pick up the second issue which is a shame because this is a solid series. That’s been proven with two graphic novels… that new readers are likely to be completely unaware of. Because of that and the fact that this is a really complex first issue, I’m scoring it what I’m scoring it.

[su_box title="Score: 3/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]

Norman #1
Writer/Artist: Stan Silas
Publisher: Titan Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: 6/8/16
Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital