Note: This review was originally published on December 16, 2014.
We've seen stories where someone discovers they have a super-ability. There is the moments of confusion upon trying to adapt to this new change. Someone usually comes in to help them out and guide them in the right direction of being a super-hero. That's not what happens here.
Eric Stephenson takes the basic idea but runs in a different direction. Most of us have thought about what it would be like if something like this actually did happen. Most likely, many wouldn't rush off to put on a costume and risk their lives for others. Stephenson's take is rooted more in reality...or as close as you can get when talking about reality and extraordinary abilities.
One of the things I enjoyed best about this issue was not knowing fully where it was going to go. At first I thought we were going to have the typical edgy smoking guy in a fancy suit to deal with. We soon discover there is more to this guy than that. There's more to the characters' entire sense of motivation. There's plenty of little details to get a sense of who these characters are and what makes this book different from what you'd expect.
As a first issue goes, we get a good introduction to the characters. We get an almost overwhelming number of characters to meet but we pretty much have a scorecard of what their names are and what they can do. Simon Gane chooses a simple layout for the moment of 'meeting' everyone and it works perfectly. I like having all the characters information in one spot and it doesn't interrupt the story. His art further separates this series from a regular super-hero book. The characters look and feel more authentic which again gives it a more realistic vibe. I always have a strong appreciation when artists include tiny details in each panel to flesh out the world some more. As this is our first glimpse into a new comic book world, we need to understand what it's like. From the look of a cold hospital room to the plants around a house and the diverse look of each character, you can tell this book can easily stand on its own. Add in the colors by Jordie Bellaire and you can already imagine how gorgeous the art will look.
If the introduction, art, and characterization wasn't enough to express this is a different sort of story, the last page will likely catch you off guard.
There's always the good and the bad in reading a new series for the first time. There's still a lot we don't know about the characters. We're just starting to get a sense of what they're all about but this is something that obviously will be fleshed out in upcoming issues. You do get a sense of astonishment as you'll want to know where this will all go. The problem is by not really knowing the characters, it's difficult to form any attachment to them to make sure you do come back for the next issue. The main character we see, Syd, is the outsider who we might be able to relate to. I mentioned the smoking guy in the suit. At first he felt a little cliché but then we find out a little fact like why he dresses in a suit. These might seem like minor concerns, and they are. But with every new comic series fighting for our pull list money, sometimes you have to consider the little things.
Reading a brand new series can be thrilling. You're never quite sure what to expect when you're about to be introduced to new characters and a new comic book world. THEY'RE NOT LIKE US starts out with the similar concept of a person discovering they have special abilities and someone coming in to take them away and save them. You'll soon discover that this is not the story you've seen before. Eric Stephenson takes the idea of people being different and explores where their motivations might lead them. With Simon Gane doing the art and Jordie Bellaire, there is a really nice feel to the book that separates it from all the costumed super-hero books on the comic store shelves. While we do get a good introduction to the very large and very diverse cast, there is still a lot we don't know. This is the first issue after all. There is enough of a hook to make you want to come back to see where exactly all of this will lead. I'm definitely intrigued with this series.