Brought to you by OBS reviewer Albert
*Beware of possible Spoilers*
Brent Marks is not a freak. He’s one of the “PARIAH”, a group of teens who become extremely intelligent after being cured of a genetic disorder. Although in most ways a normal teen, Brent is considered dangerous and is tracked down by the government who see these kids as an enormous threat. Can he evade them? What do they have planned for Brent and the others?
Why are the most elite black-ops forces chasing a 16 year old girl across the country? Why can’t they find her? And why do they want to kill her? Because they think Lila Ellerman is a terrorist who released a deadly virus into the wild. But really, she’s just a girl with a crush on a guy named Brandon. Yes, she’s figured out the science of controlling anti-matter, but that doesn’t make her a criminal. Will she be able to protect her friends and keep them from being taken prisoner, or worse?
Robert Maudsley knows what makes us tick. He knows what people want, need, hate and love. He can use that knowledge to get us to do whatever he wants, no matter how dangerous, immoral or repugnant that might be. Maudsley has no moral compass. He has no compassion. But he’s very curious about how far he can push people and what he can get away with. Maudsley wants to rule the world. Maudsley wants to control us all. Maudsley is 15 years old.
Franklin Hyde was born into politics. He’s smooth, he’s suave, and he’s a Vitro which means he can outthink pretty much anyone.Franklin has a plan to unite all the Vitros and keep them safe from those who wish them harm. The problem is, how can he get all the Vitros to go along with him when they’re loathe to trust anyone? In trusting his parents,Franklin has made a critical error – one that will change the lives of all the Vitros forever. He’ll earn the undying hatred of the rest of the Vitros, but has he signed their death warrant, or given them the chance to become what they’re truly destined to be?
When the Vitros find themselves imprisoned in an abandoned and outdated space station, any hope of them truly uniting seems lost. But when it becomes clear that the station has been rigged for destruction by some unknown foe, the Vitros must toss aside their difference and face an ever escalating series of challenges and choices if they hope to survive. (Sea Lion Books)
A pariah is an outcast, i.e. someone despised or rejected. This definition fits the protagonists of the Pariah series. They’re Vitros, teenagers gifted (perhaps cursed) with incredible intelligence. They’re hated by their peers and hunted by the government.
In many ways, the Pariah series mimics other famous comic books where the heroes are gifted with special abilities and despised for it, i.e. the X-Men. However, there’s some fundamental differences. Instead of superpowers, the Vitros get heightened intelligence although it can manifest in different ways. Most of the Vitros just want to live as normal of a life as they can. Others, not so much. In any case, the government wants them gone.
The series starts off fairly small. You see one Vitro, Brent Marks, as he attempts to be a normal teenager. He fails miserably since high school is a difficult place when you’re different.
In each of the next three issues, you follow Lila Ellerman, Robert Maudsley and Franklin Hyde respectively. Each of them are also Vitros with varying intellectual talents. In issue 5, all the players come together and are forced to cooperate in order to survive a deadly trap in an abandoned space station.
In general, the story lines are very believable. Not that Vitros live among us, but if they did, I could easily see them being bullied and harassed until they fought back. Since the first four issues key on one Vitro, we get a lot of back story and we get a feel of the literal hell these teenagers are being put through by the so-called normal members of society. This realism makes these comics into excellent reads. You want them to succeed even though they’re different, perhaps because they’re different.