If art makes you question yourself, society or both it’s doing its job. You might not like it or agree with it but damn if it’s getting you talking then it’s doing something right.
They’re Not Like Us has introduced us to a morally ambiguous group of mind powered people. Can the latest issue continue to make us question our surroundings? Is it good?
They’re Not Like Us #3 (Image Comics)
If you’re just joining us this comic is all about a girl named Syd who was rescued from a hospital. She was committed by her parents because she heard voices in her head, but the truth is they weren’t voices in her head but the thoughts of those around her. She was rescued by a group of mind powered people, but they aren’t heroes, nor are they superheroes. No, instead they seek out those who will or have committed crimes and beat the crap out of them. It’s a bit wrong, especially when some of the people getting beatings haven’t done anything wrong yet, but it’s their way.
They’re telepathically talking because the balloons are closed.
Writer Eric Stephenson has basically got himself a thought experiment on his hands: the characters around Syd have a rather unapologetic view on life that’s br utal and ruthless, but viewed through the lens of Syd, who like the reader isn’t so sure about these folks, we’re dared to relate. Considering all these mind powered people thought they were freaks only to to discover they’re just different — it’s not too hard to relate. Now I imagine some will find it disturbing or downright disgusting, but the fact that Stephenson has cast all of this through a lens that allows us to view it impartially is a great thing.
Of course, one might argue this is all done to stir the pot and evoke a reaction, but that’s okay too. Sure the approach is a bit shocking and we aren’t given enough about The Voice (the leader of this operation) to really know his intentions — but the fact we’re talking about violence, right and wrong and the role of the outcast is a good thing.
What is this the Matrix? “Guns…lots of guns…”
The issue opens in a place called The Calm, a starkly white scene where the characters can presumably train their powers. It appears to be a sort of fail-safe if you lose yourself in your powers so you can get your bearings and move on. Essentially this is a training issue that turns into another mission similar to last issue’s tagger who was brutally beaten. This issue offers a much more obvious bad guy to beat up, but the uncomfortable nature is still there. The question lingers, is it ever okay for a group of people to take it upon themselves to enact justice? It hovers over this book and Syd as she comes to grips with her powers.
The art by Simon Gane is fantastically detailed and vivid. The opening page of outside the headquarters is incredibly lifelike yet has a ballpoint pen sort of feel. You know an artist takes attention to details seriously when there’s a semi-perfect looking Van Gogh sitting in the background for reasons one can only imagine (or maybe Simon thought, “just because.”) He’s very good at facial expressions too. The backgrounds remind me of the work of Craig Thompson, and I’d even say Gane has a way of making the real look mystical like Thompson too.
Wow that is nice!
Is It Good?
Another thought provoking issue that should be devoured by those who want a challenge and enough character development to keep casual readers interested too.