They're Not Like Us by Eric Stephenson, Simon Gane, and Jordie Bellaire is not your typical collection of gifted individuals brought together for a common goal. In fact, this group led by a man named The Voice would rather you not know about them at all. Doing everything in their power to blend in and not draw any undue attention. Even if it takes pounding some guy in the chin with a boot.
Issue 2 entitled 'Black Holes for the Young' lays down the mission statement for The Voice and his home of talented young people living among the "normals." But first the opening scene is shocking and disturbing. It's not the type of behavior you'd see the X-Men doing. No one is more aghast than Syd. Ever since she was "rescued" from the hospital after a failed suicide attempt she's been trying to adjust to the kindness and weird hubris of her new roommates.
The Voice goes on to justify the actions of the group but reiterated his militant stance on privacy and more importantly his philosophy that drives their cause. Being different has brought along with it misery and ridicule from normals throughout their lives. And now that they have more control of their powers it was time for retribution.
If a different skin color or a different culture is a threat to them, then what do you think we represent? - The VoiceStephenson invokes his inner-Alan Moore as the Voice lays down his manifesto against the bullies of the world. It's a compelling argument that galvanizes this issue. In two issues, Stephenson has created something unique and thought-provoking despite very little happening. It's a testament to the writing and the overall look and tone of the book that takes the reader behind the closed doors of this powerful collective and keeps them riveted.
Syd is morally outraged, but she can't help feeling better among people that understand her for once.
Paired with Stephenson's wonderful dialogue is the detailed lines of Simon Gane and the earthy tones of Jordie Bellaire. Gane takes an insane amount of care and attention to detail in every panel creating a world that looks fully realized. His character designs are diverse and distinctive with surprisingly good fashion sense for this eclectic band of millennials.
The Voice's diatribe about being different and essentially saying,"they're not like us," could just as well be Stephenson telling whoever picks us this book. It is different and unlike anything on shelves right now. The series is just getting started and the writer is challenging the reader to buckle up and prepare for something entirely new. We are Syd and perhaps we too have a right to be a little bad.