Monday, July 27, 2015

They're Not Like Us Volume 1: Black Holes For the Young by Eric Stephenson

Author: Eric Stephenson
Illustrator: Simon Gane
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: July 23, 2015
Collects issues #1-6
Disclaimer: I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

We all have advantages over one another, but what if you were capable of things most of us can only imagine? What would you do — and who would you be? A doctor? An athlete? A soldier? A hero? Everyone has to make a choice about how to use the abilities they're born with... but they're not like us. 

It's easy to try to compare the characters in They're Not Like Us to those in the X-Men universe (at first glance anyway). They all have special powers, such as the ability to create illusions and superhuman strength. The thing that sets them apart is that this group doesn't seem especially interested in being heroes; rather, they seem angry at "normal" people for treating them differently/badly. This is especially true for their parents, who had trouble accepting that their children were special and saw their gifts as curses; as a sort of initiation, the members are expected to murder their parents.

Then along comes Syd, a young telepath who doesn't understand the constant barrage of voices she hears day in and day out. She wants to make them stop at any cost, until The Voice (the leader of this group of misfits) finds her and brings her to his house. She's so tormented by her gifts that you almost assume that she will do whatever he says because he helps her control the voices. Syd is no push-over, however, and she quickly realizes that the people she meets are less like heroes and more like monsters. She refuses to blindly follow orders and questions their motives at every turn.

There are a lot of characters introduced in Volume 1 and we don't get to know all of them very well. The story pretty much centers around Syd trying to figure out if she wants to become part of the organization, as The Voice tries to convince her why she should. There is some background given about The Voice's childhood and one of the other members, Maisie (who can see into the future), insists that there is more to his story than Syd understands yet. I'm definitely interested in reading more of this comic to find out if there really is more to why they do what they do. I really liked Syd because she didn't just take what she was being told at face value; she continued to ask questions and stick to her morals.

The illustrations were just okay for me. I thought they were a bit rough and the colors were very subdued, although this last observation worked with the tone of the story. The story itself though was very interesting and I loved how it blurred the lines between good and evil. It makes you question what you might do in the same situation. By the end, it's apparent that there is some discord within the group and it remains unclear how everyone will proceed from there. This was a great introduction to what could be a very engaging series, and I am very much looking forward to finding out what happens next with these characters.

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