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Thread: unOrdinary

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default unOrdinary

    unOrdinary (first comic) is a Manga-ish high-school drama webcomic in a world where everyone has superpowers. There's some interesting mysteries to the setting that I have a feeling the author does indeed have answers for. The characters gradually develop in largely plausible ways (with possibly one notable exception that we'll see how the author resolves), and a good range prove more sympathetic than they seem at first glance. I haven't seen it posted here before, so hope you all enjoy!

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    GreataxeFighterGirl

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    Default Re: unOrdinary

    Well, to start off discussion...

    Spoiler
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    I've kind of grown tired of John? He's been stuck in the same character rut for the past few months and he honestly feels like a caricature right now. I don't know if that's intentional or not. And i'm aware he's been through rough things, but today's update on President Vaughn just casually restraining him was much more satisfying than it should be.

    Why doesn't Vaughn alert his dad? Or is his dad out of town?


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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Still? I kinda decided to wait and just read through the whole edgy John phase in one go, but I have been waiting to hear about it ending for quite a while.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Yeah, this is the possible exception on the character development front...
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    I sort of figured John's instability and violence were chalked up to his disastrous experience at his previous school. But we got the flashbacks, and no, it looks like he had the same pattern there: nice kid before he starts using his powers, over-the-top violent monster when he does. This feels like a mistake on the author's front: if resolving what happened last time is necessary to fix this, how does that fit with him having gone down an awfully similar path without the prior experience?

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Spoiler: John
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    I will say that when this plot thread began - John going crazy - that I didn't expect it to become as big of a point as it's been or last as long as it has. I think it's really interesting and well done but I feel like the story is still going to incorporate a redemption for him and if it goes much longer it's going to make that harder and harder to swallow.

    EDIT: I also have one minor problem with the story as it stands - right now John has shown that his problems run deep. So deep that there's really only two ways to 'fix' him - the first is that he goes to a lot of therapy and the comic becomes about that. Which is unlikely. The second is that he does some sort of act of redemption (gets injured trying to save Sera) which shows he still cares and proves that he's not a monster. I don't think this is inherently a bad thing but the problem is that it's the sort of thing that isn't going to come about as a result of character development - it's simply going to be caused by **something** happening at whatever point the author feels like writing it. It causes me to feel like I'm waiting for the author to get to that point rather than waiting for the story to get to that point.
    Last edited by Typewriter; 2021-01-08 at 01:47 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: unOrdinary

    Thanks for the link! I read this a few years ago when it was only about 1/3 of its current length (I think it stopped just before the point John's dad first appears), then lost sight of it. Over the last few days I've gotten caught up, and it was well worth it.

    Spoiler
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    I agree that the John storyline is problematic. I'm kind of hoping that he's hit a brick wall in the latest update with Vaughn restraining him, and the only direction he can go now is back towards working with others. At some point, after all, his storyline has to link up with the other major storyline. Seraphina having learned the full truth about his background will help as well.

    The mystery storyline is much more interesting, but it keeps drifting in and out of focus and hasn't moved very far in a while now. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where that goes (especially since Remi is my favourite character), but I doubt I'll have the patience to keep up with weekly updates. I'll probably leave this one for another few years and then happen upon it again and see where we're up to.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: unOrdinary

    Not quite caught up yet, but it's a interesting story.

    Spoiler: John
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    I think the problem with John is that he got too powerful too late.

    Oh and also that their society encourages everyone to act like some kind of amalgam My Hero Academia's Bakugou and Worm's Sophia.
    Absolutely in love with themselves for their "power" and ruthlessly kicking down anyone "weaker" for the smallest excuse. And even those who aren't that bad- or, like Remi, want to help people -tend to overlook the lower ranks.

    This Keon guy called John a "late bloomer" and, despite everything else, I think he's right that this is the root of John's... subscriptions*.
    Basically, by the time his power put him at the absolute top of the pack (which in itself is probably unhealthy) he had learned that it's alright to beat down anyone weaker than him, but not how to show restraint.
    Add in a good bit of resentment against the system and those he sees as powerful and you pretty much get what we see.

    The "nice" John from the beginning was pretty much just a mask. And a good helping of trauma from his "re-education" If he ever was real it probably got beaten out of him in his old school at the latest.
    It's a coping mechanisms to help him stay out of the big game of power.
    And then Arlo tried to force him back** and Serafina lost her power.

    *Keon basically torturing him into behaving "right" is another one.
    **While I don't entirely blame him for John's rampage that wasn't his greatest move.
    "If it lives it can be killed.
    If it is dead it can be eaten."

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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: unOrdinary

    Not gonna lie. unOrdinary is one of my favorite webcomic/manga atm.

    But god, oh god, is the pacing atrocious. I've never seen such glacial pacing in a webcomic (and I've read Erfworld). Like, I **** on a lot of webcomics for this, but here it double applies. It seems like this might be a WebToons issue cause a lot of comics to follow a similar pattern.

    Spoiler: Here be spoilers for everything
    Show

    That said. I never met a more unlikeable cast that I can still follow around.

    Other than John, Remi, and maybe Sera, everyone is a massive douche. To clarify: John isn't a douche; he's a ****ing bastard.

    John seems to understand how cripple and low tiers feel. OTOH he's a powerhouse that hates using his power. He seems to be suffering from some PTSD and MASSIVE ****ING ANGER ISSUES that would make Khorn recruit him on the spot. Oh, and John-everyone-is-trash has massive self-loathing and ego issues (don't pin me beating your friends on me, says John, after quite brutally bashing his fellow students).

    Sera seems like a kind of **** tier friend, disbelieving John (her friend) and generally just enjoying the rebel life with John, but not really helping that much. Her siding with Arlo is quite understandable; John lied to her and never admitted to his failings. That said if your "friend" is going through a rough time, "Get over it" might be a complete ****ing wrong thing to say. There was a joke on some unOrdinary Discord that maybe Sera should "Get over" her issues with her sister. I mean, it's just that easy, right, Sera? What if her betrayal played on loop for a year?

    Remi is a slacktivist. Organizing stuff that, while well-intentioned, is bound to fail. Basically, Rei 2.0. In essence, he achieved nothing. She's, however nicest cast around.

    Arlo. Is a massive prick. Yeah, let's antagonize a guy that's not scared of you; let's trigger his deep-seated trust issues to force him into the fold. That worked out nicely for everyone involved. And he got with it Scotts free, sans a beating or two and loss of title, that he didn't care about much anyway. Right now, finding out authorities killed his best friend is probably the biggest punishment that he "suffered."

    Blyke. Also, a douche. Luckily he kind of redeemed himself by not doing drugs with obvious side effects. That said, yeah, he couldn't stand John, but John has inadvertently shown that he'd probably be the best super-power teacher in that world. He motivated Blyke to improve while showing techniques Blyke didn't know he had. But he basically has the same temper as John, though not as extreme.

    But what kills this webcomic for me is again the glacial pacing and John's character being stuck between a kind traumatized teenager you feel sorry for and an outright villain. And it's been stuck for hundreds of episodes. I kind of want him to be redeemed or go full-on villain and get to murder.

    I mean, I give kudos to the author for not chickening out and making PTSD trivial to heal, but this is just going overboard.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by -D- View Post
    Not gonna lie. unOrdinary is one of my favorite webcomic/manga atm.

    But god, oh god, is the pacing atrocious. I've never seen such glacial pacing in a webcomic (and I've read Erfworld). Like, I **** on a lot of webcomics for this, but here it double applies. It seems like this might be a WebToons issue cause a lot of comics to follow a similar pattern.

    Spoiler: Here be spoilers for everything
    Show

    That said. I never met a more unlikeable cast that I can still follow around.

    Other than John, Remi, and maybe Sera, everyone is a massive douche. To clarify: John isn't a douche; he's a ****ing bastard.

    John seems to understand how cripple and low tiers feel. OTOH he's a powerhouse that hates using his power. He seems to be suffering from some PTSD and MASSIVE ****ING ANGER ISSUES that would make Khorn recruit him on the spot. Oh, and John-everyone-is-trash has massive self-loathing and ego issues (don't pin me beating your friends on me, says John, after quite brutally bashing his fellow students).

    Sera seems like a kind of **** tier friend, disbelieving John (her friend) and generally just enjoying the rebel life with John, but not really helping that much. Her siding with Arlo is quite understandable; John lied to her and never admitted to his failings. That said if your "friend" is going through a rough time, "Get over it" might be a complete ****ing wrong thing to say. There was a joke on some unOrdinary Discord that maybe Sera should "Get over" her issues with her sister. I mean, it's just that easy, right, Sera? What if her betrayal played on loop for a year?

    Remi is a slacktivist. Organizing stuff that, while well-intentioned, is bound to fail. Basically, Rei 2.0. In essence, he achieved nothing. She's, however nicest cast around.

    Arlo. Is a massive prick. Yeah, let's antagonize a guy that's not scared of you; let's trigger his deep-seated trust issues to force him into the fold. That worked out nicely for everyone involved. And he got with it Scotts free, sans a beating or two and loss of title, that he didn't care about much anyway. Right now, finding out authorities killed his best friend is probably the biggest punishment that he "suffered."

    Blyke. Also, a douche. Luckily he kind of redeemed himself by not doing drugs with obvious side effects. That said, yeah, he couldn't stand John, but John has inadvertently shown that he'd probably be the best super-power teacher in that world. He motivated Blyke to improve while showing techniques Blyke didn't know he had. But he basically has the same temper as John, though not as extreme.

    But what kills this webcomic for me is again the glacial pacing and John's character being stuck between a kind traumatized teenager you feel sorry for and an outright villain. And it's been stuck for hundreds of episodes. I kind of want him to be redeemed or go full-on villain and get to murder.

    I mean, I give kudos to the author for not chickening out and making PTSD trivial to heal, but this is just going overboard.
    Spoiler: Yeah
    Show
    I think what makes it tolerable for me, despite all those flaws with the characters, is that it has a very 'real' feeling to it. I can totally believe that this would be the world if people had these random powers. I believe people would see things the way they do and act in these ways. Most of the time you see a story like this the author tries to give too many people normal 'real world' emotional reactions so it doesn't feel right. The characters are largely flawed, by our perspective, but if you can accept the world for what it is and how it's different they're actually a lot better by the standard being set.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: unOrdinary

    Quote Originally Posted by -D- View Post
    Not gonna lie. unOrdinary is one of my favorite webcomic/manga atm.

    But god, oh god, is the pacing atrocious. I've never seen such glacial pacing in a webcomic (and I've read Erfworld). Like, I **** on a lot of webcomics for this, but here it double applies. It seems like this might be a WebToons issue cause a lot of comics to follow a similar pattern.
    I mean, in contrast to Erfworld and quite a few other webcomics with pacing issues, at least the update schedule is reliable and not too slow. But yes, things develop fairly slowly as measured by comics or panels and not real-world weeks.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thales View Post
    I mean, in contrast to Erfworld and quite a few other webcomics with pacing issues, at least the update schedule is reliable and not too slow. But yes, things develop fairly slowly as measured by comics or panels and not real-world weeks.
    True. That's one benefit. But I get the feeling it is being slow on purpose.

    Spoiler: Fastpass last episode spoiler
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    The series dragged Ember's reveal so much, once it was 100% confirmed, it just fell flat for me. I mean, who could be behind Ember, was it a corporation backed by a government or just a special government task force? What could it be?


    Quote Originally Posted by Typewriter View Post
    Spoiler: Yeah
    Show
    I think what makes it tolerable for me, despite all those flaws with the characters, is that it has a very 'real' feeling to it. I can totally believe that this would be the world if people had these random powers. I believe people would see things the way they do and act in these ways. Most of the time you see a story like this the author tries to give too many people normal 'real world' emotional reactions so it doesn't feel right. The characters are largely flawed, by our perspective, but if you can accept the world for what it is and how it's different they're actually a lot better by the standard being set.
    Spoiler: Character inconsistencies
    Show
    I agree in some aspects.

    Yeah, people are acting realistic, but I don't get any consistency. Also, realism takes a backseat to a good plot and writing. People spend large time on the loo. You'll never see that in any good writing, unless plot-relevant.

    Like Arlo - He's pro-hierarchy. He gets dethroned, and he's like meh. Not even going to be the Ace, Arlo? Jesus. You were willing to fight a cripple to get him to accept hierarchy and suspend Sera because they didn't conform. And now you don't even want to try to maintain proper hierarchy?

    Or Sera. Grr. I hate my sister, I have deep-seated trust issues. Next chapter - I believe you, cause I want my powers back. Really, Sera? One, or the other. How do you know she isn't going to stab you in the back?
    Last edited by -D-; 2021-01-19 at 07:02 PM.
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  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by -D- View Post
    Spoiler: Character inconsistencies
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    I agree in some aspects.

    Yeah, people are acting realistic, but I don't get any consistency. Also, realism takes a backseat to a good plot and writing. People spend large time on the loo. You'll never see that in any good writing, unless plot-relevant.

    Like Arlo - He's pro-hierarchy. He gets dethroned, and he's like meh. Not even going to be the Ace, Arlo? Jesus. You were willing to fight a cripple to get him to accept hierarchy and suspend Sera because they didn't conform. And now you don't even want to try to maintain proper hierarchy?

    Or Sera. Grr. I hate my sister, I have deep-seated trust issues. Next chapter - I believe you, cause I want my powers back. Really, Sera? One, or the other. How do you know she isn't going to stab you in the back?
    Spoiler
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    The important distinction into realism mattering, in my opinion, is when it tells us something about the characters, the world, or the story. Most of the time realism takes a back seat because it does nothing but detract - we don't need to see people go to the bathroom (unless there's something key to it). But in this story we need to see the mundane 'realistic' details to get us into the mindset of the world. For a long time after I started reading it I rebelled against the world it was demonstrating, thinking it unrealistic, but I eventually realized I was projecting my perspectives on it - my perspectives that are derived from a boring, regular world. By seeing what is 'mundane' to the characters it helped me realize and understand more about the world and the story. The hierarchy isn't a random anime plot device - it's a key component of how the world evolved.

    It ties into my opinion of every aspect of the story - Arlo, for your example. Here is a character who *knew* how the world worked. He understood it and he enjoyed the benefits of his power. John comes along and starts preaching about something that goes against what Arlo knows to be true and so Arlo does what he thinks is right - he brings the hammer. And John destroys him. So he believes that might makes right - John is stronger than him - but John who is 'right' in the eyes of Arlo by virtue of his strength argues that he shouldn't be seen this way - that the hierarchy is bad.

    So Arlo has paradoxical beliefs forming in his mind and he attempts to force everything in place according to what is comfortable to him (enforce the hierarchy) to try and make sense of it all. And it blows up and continually gets worse and worse. Everything he thinks he knows is broken by John who argues against the hierarchy and so Arlo walks away and then John tries to force Arlo to play by the rules of the hierarchy - when he is the one who ruined it for him. Again - the paradox. Arlo believes in Jon by virtue of his strength but Jon argues against using strength as a measure of who someone is - all the while using his strength to measure everyone. And it's all his fault - but by his own beliefs he didn't do anything wrong in forcing Jon to take his place because he believes in the hierarchy even as he suddenly finds himself regretting his actions that have caused all of this.

    The system does not provide an answer and he's always relied on the system to do so. He does not have his strength to fall back on - it's already failed him. He doesn't have the mercy he failed to show to those he saw as his enemies. He's stuck in limbo and looking for direction. Every time something pushes him in a direction he goes with it but none of it gives him the guidance he needs. He goes with the safe room because a peer told him to do so then he gives up on it because someone told him to focus on his grades and his power. Then when Sera invited him along on her adventure he just sort of decided to go along with it. Arlo is lost and broken - he is looking for an answer that does not exist. He is being forced to think of things in ways that contradict his entire belief structure.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: unOrdinary

    New comic

    Arlo actually looks more impressive when he fights with less power.
    I guess that comes with actually fighting instead of just planting down his bubble and letting it reflect all the damage.

    Also, Sera might say no one deserves that power nullifier, but I think John might need it in the end. Not sure he'll stop otherwise.
    "If it lives it can be killed.
    If it is dead it can be eaten."

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: unOrdinary

    Quote Originally Posted by Kantaki View Post
    Also, Sera might say no one deserves that power nullifier, but I think John might need it in the end. Not sure he'll stop otherwise.
    Yeah. Let the guy who made massive grudges, and with no one to protect him. What could go wrong? Remember how he got his temper back when he didn't have powers? That times ten.

    Remember Sera? And her transgressions were relatively small. She didn't antagonize the entire school unless you want him to go full-on villain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Typewriter View Post
    Spoiler
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    So, Arlo has paradoxical beliefs forming in his mind, and he attempts to force everything in place according to what is comfortable to him (enforce the hierarchy) to try and make sense of it all. And it blows up and continually gets worse and worse
    Spoiler: FASTPASS
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    While Arlo's change of opinion is quite understandable, the pacing makes him look as dumb as a doorknob - namely the Ember reveal. Every other character and reader figured it out already.
    Last edited by -D-; 2021-01-31 at 02:27 PM.
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    Troll in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by -D- View Post
    Yeah. Let the guy who made massive grudges, and with no one to protect him. What could go wrong? Remember how he got his temper back when he didn't have powers? That times ten.

    Remember Sera? And her transgressions were relatively small. She didn't antagonize the entire school unless you want him to go full-on villain.
    Ideally it won't be necessary, but with John's current course? I'd definitely consider it a option.
    As a last resort if it's clear nothing else will work.

    It definitely beats letting Keon „work“ on him again. A large chunk of the John's issues probably come from that experience.
    "If it lives it can be killed.
    If it is dead it can be eaten."

    Ronkong Coma "the way of the bookhunter" III Catacombium
    (Walter Moers "Die Stadt der träumenden Bücher")



  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kantaki View Post
    Ideally it won't be necessary, but with John's current course? I'd definitely consider it a option.
    As a last resort if it's clear nothing else will work.

    It definitely beats letting Keon „work“ on him again. A large chunk of John's issues probably come from that experience.
    I mean, who knows. It's a possibility. But, eh, a lousy one.

    Keon didn't cause John's anger issues; his from Nobody to God caused those. He was bullied his whole life and got a chance to pay back revenge with interests. That and being "betrayed" by Claire, his love interest (confirmed by uru-chan on Reddit AMA). Keon just built a house on that foundation.
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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: unOrdinary

    Okay, that was anticlimactic.
    Spoiler
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    "You're cornered! Nowhere to run from all of us folks with knives! There's nothing you can do to avoid... a slightly awkward phone call."
    "Ugh, fine. Yes, yes, whatever, I'm a loose cannon who doesn't play by the rules. Now, we both know that you saying that means I'm pretty much in charge here. Talk to you later!"

    I feel like Seraphina is making a mistake here. Obviously, ability power is power, especially when you have one as strong as hers. But if she works with Leilah's org, their interests might not align with hers. And they don't seem like a safe group to backstab, even if she has her power back.


    It's mildly interesting that powers seem to have their strength as something orthogonal from what they actually are, and all seem to grant some level of superstrength, speed, and durability. Flame claws is a pretty awful power in a vacuum: it has no applications besides making close-range attacks a lot more deadly. But as we saw, it conferred enough general power to contend with on-paper vastly superior ones.

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