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Don’t Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Before: ‘They’re Not Like Us’ #1

Don’t Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Before: ‘They’re Not Like Us’ #1

They’re Not Like Us #1theyrenotlikeus_01
Story by Eric Stephenson
Art by Simon Gane
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Published by Image Comics

Modern storytelling really isn’t about doing something new. In the saturated media landscape we live in, new isn’t “the thing” we look for. “The thing” is taking an old story and finding a way to spin it; to give a story a hook that makes it unique and to tell it so well that no one cares if it’s something they’ve heard before, kind of like what Image Comics did with They’re Not Like Us.

A young girl, we’ll call her Syd, is standing on the edge of a building when issue one opens. Syd has a short conversation with a man in a suit and then jumps off the edge. End of page four. She later wakes in the hospital and eventually finds herself being led out by that same man. She’s taken to a gorgeous, albeit improbably large,mansion elsewhere in San Francisco where Syd meets a diverse group of other young people also staying at this mansion, all of them special in their own way. The issue ends there. I realize how vague that synopsis is and that’s on purpose.

Based on that description, this could be an issue of several different series from several different publishers but instead, through the expertise of the storytellers involved, the comic deftly dances through the X-Men and the Wanted of it all to produce a first issue that tells you almost nothing but hooks you all the same.

Eric Stephenson’s output as a writer is slow and spread out, but always worth the wait. The script is slick. Everything we need to know is told in dialogue that sometimes edges on overly expositive, but never actually crosses the line. UK-based artist, Simon Gane has a distinctly European sensibility and creates a perfectly surreal San Francisco for the story to occupy. Jordie Bellaire once again displays her uncanny ability to blend into a story and setting in such a way that makes the only recognizable “style” in her work the quality.

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They’re Not Like Us #1 does a better job of telling us what it isn’t than telling us what it is, but the result is a series opener that promises great things and confidently leads the reader into anticipating issue two.