Every so often I stumble across a comic that I have difficulty easily summing up. These unfortunate (and often creative) works often languish in my reading queue until I either forget I’ve never reviewed them or lose the initial creative urge to critique the comic in the first place. This is the sad lot that the alternative reality/superhero webcomic Supernormal Step fell into a couple years ago, and since that time I’ve enjoyed it while procrastinating on writing an actual review. Fortunately for SS, another comic just recently crossed my radar and displaced it on the procrastination table so I figured I’d see if the Muse would be interested in writing this comic up. She was.
The comic focuses on the dimensionally-displaced heroine Fiona Dae, a young lady from Earth who has found herself displaced to another Earth where people have magic (but no guns), humans are just one of a multitude of intelligent species, and the U.S. government is a benign dictatorship under a man named Henderson who provides security and some semblance of order, in return for being the undisputed ruler of the nation. Of course, how benign he is depends on just who you ask, and there’s naturally a Resistance of sorts that is trying to get Fiona to work for them, even as Henderson tries to get her to work for him (even while claiming she could leave anytime she wants to).
As with most stories in the Transference genre, Fiona is intent on returning to her old world (which is of course easier said than done). This is despite the fact that in this new Earth, she has learned magic and has become a bit of a hero (having fought a giant wolf at one point, as well as a band of villains who’d been hired by the Hendersons to identify who the dimension-traveler was, and who don’t know when enough is enough. Part of this lies with her upbringing; her father was apparently a survivalist and a vigilante who home-schooled her, resulting in Fiona being… paranoid about letting people get close (as well as dying her hair blue so she’s not reminded of her dad when she looks in the mirror). Despite this, she’s become friends (of sorts) with the two people she first met in this alternative Earth, a heroic sorcerer named Van who has this talent at attracting women, and a cursed hero named Jim who tends to turn into a stuffed rabbit whenever he acts too arrogant or is caught in a lie.
More recently, there’s also Akela, a four-armed blue-skinned lady who started helping her investigate the Hendersons and who has apparently started to fall for Fiona. In this, cartoonist Michael Lunsford has actually taken a rather realistic approach; Fiona hasn’t shown attraction for anyone at this point (being focused on returning back to her Earth, though this seems to be more due to her being constantly weirded out by this alternative Earth than because of family or friends back there), and Akela even admits to herself that it’s probably a lost cause. I must admit I’m rather taken by this approach to a relationship. I could see it going one of three paths, with Fiona not being interested (in Akela or in girls in general), a relationship forming, or even Fiona not quite realizing until she finally has a chance to go back to her own world… but realizes she’d have to leave Akela. No doubt there are other paths as well.
Interestingly, the Hendersons are also being developed further, specifically with Hall Henderson (who has also shown a bit of interest in Fiona, though I’m not sure if he’s romantically interested in her as his partner Eva implies, or if he’s fascinated with her situation) learning he’s not the first (or only) Hall Henderson… and realizing that his boss, Mr. Henderson, is up to something. What this is has only been hinted at (though it may have something to do with dimensional transit), but in all likelihood as the story’s climax approaches we’ll see Hall (and his older incarnation) drawn back into Fiona’s story, even as she’s dragged (screaming and kicking) into an ultimate confrontation against Mr. Henderson.
Needless to say, the story’s grown rather complex and involved at this point with four years of archives (even with some occasional breaks and intermittent updates), but during this time Lunsford has created an impressive mix of characters. The obvious star of the story is Fiona, but that doesn’t diminish the stories of the other characters (though Jim seems more of a two-dimensional jerk who only avoids Mary Sue territory due to the curse he suffers under). And I must admit I’m curious as to what Akele’s story is, especially as she suddenly moves to share the stage with Fiona. I’m not exactly sure where Lunsford is going with Supernormal Step, but he has created something quite unique, and more than a little fun.