writer: Eric Stephenson / artist: Simon Gane / Image Comics
The stage for They’re Not Like Us has been set. As of issue #5, we’ve met all of our key players and some are starting to make moves towards their end goals.
This isn’t a book about a house of super-powered teenagers playing out a teen drama. No, it’s much more than that. From what we’ve seen so far, They’re Not Like Us is a study into what happens when characters make the choices to do what your typical comic book protagonist would scoff at.
In my earlier reviews of They’re Not Like Us, I explained how one of the characters named The Voice appears to have Magneto’s motivations with Professor Charles Xavier’s abilities. Yes, that’s still fitting. But after reading issue #5 I understand that he’s also so much more.
This issue brought us in the loop on the origins of one of the series’ most mysterious characters as Maisie tells Syd what she needs to know about The Voice. He once had two brothers. The three were a set of telepathic triplets that each shared a third of the personality traits that would normally comprise one person. When two of the three were killed in a house fire, The Voice was hardly able to function normally.
He woke up in a hospital being questioned about his claims that he and his brothers were mentally linked. Now unable to get a grasp on his emotions because two thirds of his personality were dead, he was on the verge of heading down a path he wouldn’t be able to return from. That’s when he met Heasley. A telepath who took The Voice under his wing, taught him how to use his powers, and pleasurably molded him into the cold-blooded, sociopath that we now know.
We also see the beginning of a trend. It makes perfect sense that The Voice makes it standard practice that the telepaths in his home kill their parents. It appears that he was the first to do so. It’s heavily suggested that The Voice’s parents set the house on fire in an attempt to kill their three gifted sons that they could no longer control, as well as stage their own deaths. The Voice’s parents returned to their reconstructed home with new appearances and identities, only to find The Voice waiting on their return after following their paper trail. The house went up in flames, yet again, with his parents inside. The same house where our characters currently reside.
Meanwhile, The Voice has taken some members of the group with him to Syd’s house to presumably kill her parents, since she can’t do it herself, safely covered by the illusion of local police escorting Syd back into their possession.
Maisie explains that the house was very different when Heasley was still around and reveals that she too attempted to commit suicide after the continued rejection from the world became too much for her to bear. Down the hall, Gruff walks into a room to see Blur girl laying on top of her bed with her wrist cut open. All of a sudden Misery Kid appears behind him with a lamp over his head to knock Gruff unconscious.
Issue #5 of They’re Not Like Us may be one of the series’ strongest, following the first two which set the tone. After issues 3 and 4 being devoted to set-up, 5 picked up the pace, and then some. I was admittedly surprised to learn so much about The Voice so early, but I expect this to mean that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.