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EXTRAORDINARY #0 [Advance Review]

EXTRAORDINARY #0Script by V.E. SCHWAB/ Art by ENID BALAM/ Color Art by JORDI ESCUIN LLORACH/ Letters by ROB STEEN/ Published by TITAN COMICS

V.E. Schwab has built up a following with the Villains series, which offers a darker take on superpowers than traditional superhero fiction. ExtraOrdinary #0 marks the first graphic novel born of the same world. Set between the novels Vicious and Vengeful, ExtraOrdinary #0 introduces us to a young woman who has just discovered her hidden horrific powers.

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The core conceit of the Villains setting is that superpowers are quite rare and are only awoken after a person has a near death experience, with their personality and final thoughts before dying shaping the abilities they gain when they return. ExtraOrdinary centers around a teenage girl named Charlotte Tills, who had quite the morbid disposition before she was knocked into a coma by a fatal bus accident. When she wakes up, she finds that she has the ability to foresee how people will die by looking at their reflection.

Schwab’s script is engaging, putting a dark spin on the classic precognition power. It is unclear after this first chapter if Charlotte can avert the events she foresees or if she’s doomed to be a Cassandra. In either case, the writing is engaging enough to encourage further reading.

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The art is somewhat weaker. While Enid Balam is a fantastic visual storyteller who paces the story well from panel to panel and finds good angles from which to view the action, there is little sense of consistency to Charlotte herself. While she is said to be a teenage girl, she’s sized as a tween in some panels. It’s possible that she is short for her age, but some of the close-ups make her look like a young adult rather than a skinny teenager who is still growing into her body. The color art, however, is amazing.

Despite owing a debt to The Dead Zone for its base concept, ExtraOradinary offers enough twists on the classic tropes of super-power origin stories and precognitive powers to stand alone as a memorable and unique work. Despite some rough spots in the artwork, fans of both horror and superpowers will find ExtraOrdinary to be everything its title suggests.

Extraordinary #0 releases on May 5, 2021.

rating 4

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