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They're Not Like Us, Volume One: Black Holes for the Young

they’re not like us, volume one: black holes for the young

Eric Stephenson (Author),
Simon Gane and Jordie Bellaire (Illustrators)
Image Comics (Publisher)

At first glance, one might dismiss Stephenson and Gane’s They’re Not Like Us. We’ve already heard the story about kids who were “different” banding together to fight evil, gaining appreciation (and acceptance) for their differences by “normal” society in an effort to teach real-life outsiders that eventually, no matter how different you are, someone will love you for you. They’re Not Like Us is absolutely not that story, in no small part because the majority of the characters are inherently dislikable. How many people, wronged through childhood and beyond, would turn into holier-than-thou do-gooders when given superhuman abilities? Not many, the book proposes. Those who discover their gifts at the end of the hard road will be more likely to band together to get theirs, no matter the cost. We’re introduced to a large cast of characters, including The Voice (a telepath); Fagen, a pyrokinetic; Blur Girl, capable of superhuman speed; and Misery Kid, an empath that the rest of the bunch seems genuinely afraid of. The book focuses on Syd, a new-to-the-group telepath who might be the key to redemption that the other characters sorely need. While Syd at first relishes the chance to wreak some havoc on a world that has treated her poorly, she questions the line that The Voice throws out, which includes the casual and sometimes gleeful use of physical violence in order to solve problems. After Syd’s realization that “with great power, etc.”, she begins to push against The Voice’s sociopathic, dictatorial nature. The book moves quickly, offering colors and layouts weirdly like a lifestyles magazine from the 1970s. Retro visuals clash artfully with its ultra-modern storyline.

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