Written by Eric Stephenson
Art by Simon Gane
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: February 25, 2015

Syd slowly adjusts to her new life with Voice and his crew. As she begins her training to hone her powers, Syd is given her first field test.

They’re Not Like Us # 3 continues the ‘figuring out powers’ story line from the previous two issues. The story has turned into a paint by numbers team origin featuring her first time outside and how predictably it all goes. There isn’t anything truly wrong with the set-up, but I just can’t help but feel that I’ve seen this so many other times before. For how run-of-the-mill the plot is, at least the book is structurally sound. The comic goes at a quick pace and puts Syd in a wide range of situations in only 20 or so pages of the issue.

After 3 issues, the single biggest problem with They’re Not Like Us is how unlikable the whole cast of characters are. None of them have shown any back story or any hints of character development yet and the only character to show any form of development, Syd, suffers from the same by the book problems of the story itself. Voice is, naturally, the only member of the team have his own voice so far, while everyone else sounds the same. They are meant to be portrayed in a blood thirsty, looking down on society light, but with no history to latch onto or depth for the characters, it is a huge challenge to want to to continue following this almost repulsive cast.

Speaking of unlikable, the dialogue walked on the wrong side of crass. A mix of pretentious and over the top vulgarity, the dialogue was extremely off-putting. A conversation about a sexual predator — that felt out of place within the scene already — was one ridiculous phrase after the next to ‘push the envelope.’ The unlikability of the cast made the dialogue stand out in an negative light. Voice’s and Co. constant pompousness and put downs are nauseating and even moreso as 3 straight issues of arrogance takes its toll.

If there is a saving grace to the comic, it comes from the art department. Gane does have a knack for drawing really good looking people wearing stylish clothes and that bodes very well for a story like They’re Not Like Us. A few spots could have been confusing to the reader, especially with the a heavy focus on illusions, but Gane does an impressive job of keeping the panel transitions simple and easy to follow so they story does not become confusing to perceive. Bellaire’s coloring is expectedly impressive and the artist and colorist combine to make an amazing splash page in the middle of the issue that may have been the best spot of art in the young series so far.

I do know what this comic is trying to go for with the gods amongst men mindset and the ‘sheeple’ the team is spatting on, but without the balance of heart and character depth it becomes increasingly harder and harder with each issue to stick with Syd.  They’re Not Like Us has one loose end to wrap up that will make for an exciting issue 4. If that doesn’t knock it out of the park though, They’re Not Like Us may continue this current bumpy ride for the rest of the opening arc.

The Verdict: 6.5/10

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One Comment;

  1. Jordan Richards said:

    It’s fair to say that, for me at least, this is quite possibly one of the most pretentious drivel based comics I’ve read in a very long time. Stephenson is writer who was nominated for Best Writer one time, but this seems incredibly below him. There’s nothing deep or nuanced about what his characters say (it’s a lot of buzz words and dollar store commentary on society that any “deep” teenager could make). Like you said, there’s no sense of likability or charm to any of these characters and it’s honestly laughable about how we are suppose to get invested or care about any one of them.