This week I want to talk about two new titles from Image Comics: They’re Not Like Us and Graveyard Shift.
They’re Not Like Us is a book that grabs readers from the first panel. While it contains an interesting hook, the biggest reason it grabbed my attention is that it’s on the cover, surrounded by minimal black and red type on a white background. Sitting on the shelf in the comic shop, it’s already pulling you in.
The story is evocative of X-Men stories we’ve seen for years. The new generation is developing powers and it isolates them from society. What sets this book apart is the realistic approach to the situation. Syd, our main character, can’t cope with her telepathic powers. The flood of voices is interpreted as a symptom of a mental disorder. She’s ready to end her life because of her powers. The story evolves from there, introducing more teens with powers without over-the-top displays of their gifts. Everything is minimal and the story promises a new take on the examination of teenagers gifted great power.
Simon Gane keeps his layouts simple and effective while the panels themselves feature very detailed line work. His facial expressions portray a lot of the characterization in this book, taking the load off of the narration and allowing the book to flow at a steady pace. Jordie Bellaire is on colors and, as always, does a great job enhancing the panels and bringing everything together.
They’re Not Like Us is yet another strong Image #1, promising a new examination of super-powered teens and great artwork. Track this one down.
When I first heard about Graveyard Shift, the idea of another vampire book put me off the series. However, Jay Faerber wrote possibly my favorite new series debut earlier this year with Copperhead, so I decided to check this one out. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.
The writing in this issue is strong, even if the story isn’t groundbreaking. We’re introduced to Liam and his fianc Hope, a cop and an artist, after a particularly strange case involving a man who can survive shotgun blasts but not the sun. Their relationship works well here to keep the readers invested in the story. Faerber hasn’t introduced anything new to the vampire mythos (yet) but the issue is a strong start to the miniseries with a great cliffhanger ending.
I wasn’t familiar with Bueno’s work going in, but just flipping through the pages I was impressed. I really enjoyed the artist’s use of shadow throughout the book. Dark colors and shadow are pretty standard fare for a book about vampires, but that doesn’t detract from how beautiful the panels are. Bueno takes control of the story with his precision and steady pacing.
Graveyard Shift isn’t breaking the mold, but it’s delivering a satisfying story so far. I’ll be back for the second issue.