REVIEW: 'Ordinary Gods' #1 by Kyle Higgins, Felipe Watanabe, and Frank William

 Young Christopher is like any other 22-year-old, working a job he hates, in therapy for his depression, with a loving family. He's also a reincarnated god in a battle that's been raging for millenniums but doesn't know it...yet. 

ORDINARY GODS #1

Writer: Kyle Higgins

Artist: Felipe Watanabe, Frank William

Lettering: Clayton Cowles

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: July 7, 2021

Cover Price: $3.99

For fans of THE OLD GUARD and GOD COUNTRY comes the extra-length first issue of a centuries-spanning action epic from writer KYLE HIGGINS (RADIANT BLACK) and artist FELIPE WATANABE (The Flash)!

The Luminary. The Prodigy. The Brute. The Trickster. The Innovator. Five gods from a realm beyond our own, leaders in the "War of Immortals." At least, they were - before they were trapped, sent to a planet made into a prison, forced into an endless cycle of human death and reincarnation. 

Christopher is 22. He's got two loving parents and a 12-year-old sister. He works at a paint store. He's in therapy. He's one of the Five. Which means, in order to save everyone he cares about, Christopher will have to reconnect with his past lives and do the unthinkable: become a god again.

Score:

 ★★★★★ (5/5)

As if the successful superhero comic 'Radiant Black' (also on Image) wasn't enough for writer Kyle Higgins, he along with artists Felipe Watanabe and Frank William have unleashed an even more spectacular and exciting comic, 'Ordinary Gods.' It's an embarrassment of riches for comic book fans who get to immerse themselves in another Higgins title. The comparisons to 'The Old Guard' are fair but 'Ordinary Gods' has its own twist with immortal warriors and an energy all its own. 

The story alternates between the backstory of the gods and the present with young Christopher. The opening scene sets the tone for violence with a very John Wick-esque shootout. It gets the readers' blood pumping and illustrates how the reincarnated gods function in any given timeline. The level of expertise shown here has Higgins conducting all three movements of a symphony. 

Often, a first movement will be lively and set the mood. The middle movements might be slow and lyrical. The final movement is typically another fast and exciting movement that will bring the audience to its feet at the end. And that's exactly what these creators have done, a crowd-pleasing opening act that raises the bar going forward. The amount of execution it takes to balance the two storylines, not as separate entities but as two runaway trains destined to collide is god-tier. The expository is informative but exciting, the therapy session is a great device to learn who Christopher is while being poignant and relatable. All these elements converge at the end to form an explosive cliffhanger. 

Felipe Watanabe has a great eye for storytelling. As director and cinematographer, essentially, Watanabe frames the story efficiently and dramatically. Each scene is given its own pace and mood. The violent action is fast and brutal using close-ups and clever angles to capture the carnage. The quiet moments like the therapy session have their own pace with a combination of Higgins' script, Clayton Cowles' lettering, Frank William's subdued color scheme, and Watanabe's intricate line-work. It's all made to hit emotionally differently which makes what happens later in the issue all the more impactful. 

'Ordinary Gods' has some familiar themes told with extraordinary expertise and pacing. This pulse-pounding action thriller spans millenniums but its heart lies with a young man in the present day who could change the fate of the immortals. This is first-class storytelling as Higgins writes another winner with another phenomenal creative team.  

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