THE UNIQUES: SEASON ONE (#1-9)
Written by Comfort Love and Adam Withers
The Uniques follows Hope “Telepath” Sage, the last hero on Earth with mental powers, as she puts together a team of young heroes in the wake of a vicious killer who murders her parents, as well as all other powered individuals with mental abilities, and put her in a coma for two years. She is joined by various other legacy heroes who suffered losses during the attack, as well as unattached teen crime fighters.
The core group is then filled with characters rooted in superhero archetypes that make them instantly recognizable, but through their interactions with one another become considerably more well-rounded than your average superhero. For example, there is Singe, a hot-headed anti-authoritarian with the ability to manipulate flames. As with other characters of his power, he's prone to abrasiveness, but the writers put a spin on this by providing him with a tortured past and powers that are self-destructive. Singe transcends the archetype that gave us characters like Marvel’s Pyro to give us an angry and confused young man that is torn between a desire to be accepted and an instinctive drive to be seen as a rebellious loner.
Perhaps the most interesting character, though, is Scout, who is an analogue to DC’s Robin. Scout balances his time with Hope’s team against his nightly patrols with The Ghost, an enigmatic hero who operates from the shadows and, to most, is more myth than reality. Scout is by far the most skilled member of the team despite having no super powers, which makes him the de facto leader in the field. Unfortunately, his role as Ghost’s sidekick means that he cannot be publicly seen with the group and has the hardest time socializing with his teammates. His responsibility to justice from the shadows is constantly at war with his own desires to be a regular teen hero. When romance begins to blossom with one of his teammates, the speedster Katie, his subtextual neuroses come to light as this dilemma becomes more apparent. It’s incredibly intriguing and engaging.
Thematically, the strong mix of character work and action opens the series up for the writers to tackle a number of issues through the development of the team and the battles that they fight. Everything from prejudice to the government’s role in national security to gender politics and even adolescent sexuality are explored through the course of the series. There are a lot of issues bubbling under the surface of this series, which makes it far more “real” than most superhero titles, especially when you take into consideration the realistic tone of the character’s voices (because let’s face it, teens cuss a lot more often than they dish out battle cries!).