The Others is a short-lived (3 issues, with a 14-page "preview" Issue #0) comic book series by Image Comics, which was published in 1995. The characters and setting first debuted in issue #15 of the 1995 Shadow Hawk run.
The titular superhero team "The Others" are the chosen guards of the Enclave, a paradise-like hidden civilization buried under Antarctica that is the last refuge of the Many - a collective of humanoid races who descended from non-primate animals at the dawn of time, who ultimately fled to Antarctica in order to escape from a human race hellbent on exterminating them. Despite centuries of peace, they have never forgotten humanity's crimes against them, and have lived in paranoid fear; thus, the Others - Guardd, Rebound, Racket and Klone - are gifted with super-advanced technological devices and charged with protecting their people from humanity's attack.
When Shadowhawk arrives as part of his quest to find a cure for his AIDS, the treacherous Lord Mongrel attempts to ignite a civil war. Though this causes Shadowhawk to leave rather than disrupt the Enclave with his presence, the Enclave receives no respite; human helicopters approach the Enclave's hiding place, and the scheming Thrall uses his Psychic Powers to manipulate King Skyglider into sending the Others to turn back the supposed-invasion.
On the surface, the Others bring down the helicopters, resulting in the accidental death of the squad's sergeant, and then resolve to take the survivors to the Enclave for medical treatment and to decide what to do with them. Unfortunately, Mongrel's minions intercept them and fight them to a defeat, locking them in a dungeon, whilst Thrall's psychic poison leaves King Skyglider bedridden, allowing Lord Mongrel to take his place as acting ruler and start preparing for war against the human race.
Escaping from the dungeon, the Others attempt to stop Mongrel, but whilst they defeat his minions, Mongrel uses their stolen weapons to battle them almost to a standstill. Only when the human Jayson Rife, at this point the last of the humans alive in the city, escapes and comes to their aide with his own super-weapons does the tide of battle turn. During a brief lull, King Skyglider staggers to the balcony of his palace and publicly calls out to the Many, telling them that peace is the only possible path with humanity and castigating Mongrel as a traitor to the crown. For this, Mongrel uses his stolen Sonic Blasters to destroy the balcony, sending the mind-poisoned Skyglider tumbling to his death.
This sight drives Klone wild with rage and grief, and he attacks Mongrel in a frenzy, pounding on him with such savagery and strength that he manages to overload his forcefield and leave him in an unconscious heap on the ground. Seeing the way things are going, the treacherous Thrall attempts to escape, but is intercepted by his fellow serpents, who proceed to bite him to death for his crimes and the shame he has brought on his people. The Others soon overwhelm the last of Mongrel's minions, and the civil war is crushed.
Jayson contacts his senator father, informing him to call off any military plans he had intended on directing against the Enclave, explaining that he intends to promote peace between the Many and humanity. King Skyglider is buried with full honors and his will read, which includes naming the Others as envoys to the world of man and a request for Kontact to become an official member of the Others. Finally, it asks that the Many try to finally welcome Klone and accept him as one of them.
Sadly, like most other Image titles, it succumbed to the Image curse and was Cut Short. The story ends at that point and was never picked up again.
This comic includes examples of:
- '90s Anti-Hero: It's an Image comic, what did you expect? That said, like many of the better Image titles, it reconstructs the trope; the Others may look scary and have 90's type "extreme" names, but they are shown to be honorable and compassionate. In fact, their idealism is even used against them twice; both in Shadowhawk #15 and The Others #0, they choose to bring humans into the Enclave for healing rather than kill them or let them die, and this is exploited by their enemy, Lord Mongrel, to play upon the fears of the Many as part of his goal to seize power.
- Klone actively states in The Others #0 that he does not kill, and the Others are deeply regretful of the fact that this encounter ended in the death of a human (which itself was an accident; he got hit by a rebounding bullet that bounced off of Klone), noting they haven't killed in many, many years.
- That said, they are willing to kill in the right circumstances; in issue #3, Guardd executes a bovine seditionist who declares he would rather fight to his death than surrender, whilst Racket implicitly kills Mongrel's kangaroo-woman follower Pouch by hauling her into the air and then letting her drop from a great height.
- Advanced Ancient Humans: In a time when humanity was still using iron weaponry, the collective talents of the Many allowed them to create technological marvels; the Enclave of the Elders in particular, which debuted in Shadowhawk #4, is so advanced that its current possessor, the crimelord Vendetta, believes it to be an ancient alien device.
- Badass Normal: Alone amongst the Others, Klone wields no power-granting device. The simple truth is that he doesn't need it; he already possesses Super Strength and is Nigh Invulnerable.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Klone is actually established as a Technical Pacifist in the first three issues of The Others. When King Skyglider is murdered in issue #2, his berserk fury shows why that's a good thing.
- Boom Stick: Guardd's Power Staff, which is a technological staff with a mace on one end, an axe on the other, and the ability to shoot energy blasts and cut through anything, even time and space.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Lord Mongrel tortures one of the human survivors for information and pleasure in issie #1, then murders him in a fit of pique after learning that the Others have escaped the dungeon.
- Dangerous Phlebotinum Interaction: A variation; Guardd's Power Staff simply will not function if he is wrapped in the energies of Rebound's Force Vest, and Rebound can't apply the Force Vest's field to Guardd if the lion-man's Power Staff has been turned on.
- Deflector Shields: Rebound wields a device called the Force Vest that allows him to envelop himself and others in protective forcefields. They can also be used to render their subjects invisible.
- Exotic Extended Marriage: Guardd's info-card at the back of The Others #2 reveals that he has a "pride" of six wives and over a dozen children.
- Fantastic Racism: The Many suffered this in the past, and consequently they still fear or outright hate humans in the present.
- Also, the Many themselves still suffer this; the Others are held at bay for their possession of the ancient power-weapons.
- The bug-man called Klone is an outsider even amongst the Others. It's implied that he's not one of the Many, but in fact an actual alien from a different planet.
- Higher-Tech Species: The technological capabilitioes of the Many vastly outweighs humanity's skills in that field, with devices that effectively create superheroes.
- Hollywood Evolution: The Many are made up of many different species of animal that evolved to a human-like level of sapience and physiology at the same time that humanity did.
- Humans Are Bastards: The Many were driven to the brink of extinction by ancient humanity, and have never forgotten it.
- Humanoid Female Animal: Exaggerated with Racket, the sole female member of the Others and the only one of the Many who looks perfectly human. According to her data card in The Others #3, she's actually supposed to be a skunk-woman. Subverted in issue #2, when we get to see a male member of her species; he's just as humanoid as she is. This may have been influenced by a desire to avoid accusations of ripping off Hepzibah, an alien skunk-woman (albeit one often confused for a Cat Girl) who belongs to the Starjammers, a cosmic ally of the X-Men.
- King of Beasts: Guardd the lion-man is one of the most noble members of the Others, such that King Skyglider's will names him as his heir, and is the team's leader.
- Lampshade Hanging: Racket's data-card notes that she looks incredibly human for a member of the Many.
- Last of His Kind: Rebound is one of the last of the dinosaur people amongst the Many, and is dying of a disease akin to tuberculosis.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Racket's Sonic Blasters allow her to project blasts of sound waves as a ranged weapon.
- Mutant: Racket is called out as one of these in her data-card, which is why she's able to fly under her own power.
- Noble Bird of Prey: King Skyglider, a Many descended from an eagle, who serves the Enclave as The Good King.
- Offered the Crown: At the end of The Others #3, Guardd is formally named as the new King of the Enclave after the death of King Skyglider. He turns it down, instead declaring that the Elders will rule in his place until Skyglider's original heir, the bunny-girl Alarm, comes of age.
- Pheromones: Racket has the innate ability to emit chemical odors that repel men of her own species, but has a Charm Person effect on the males of other species.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Zigzagged. The heroic Rebound is a member of the Others, but there's also the villains Komodo (one of Lord Mongrel's minions) and Thrall, the scheming serpent with Psychic Powers.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Thrall's own people execute him for starting the civil war in the Enclave.
- Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: The Many vary drastically in their level of anthropomorphism, from Beast Men and Beastesses to the Serpent People, who look like normal snakes with human-level cognition, vocal abilities and facial expressions, to the skunk-people, who are all but indistinguishable from humans at a glance.
- The Starscream: Lord Mongrel, who wants to usurp the throne of King Skyglider, and Thrall, who wants to dispatch both of them and become king himself.
- Skunk Stripe: The long streak of white in Racket's brown hair is the only clue that she's an evolved skunk.
- Super Empowering: The Others all wield devices created by the Many which functionally grant them superpowers. But granting internal powers is also within the the scope of their technolog; in Shadowhawk, the Enclave of the Elders (a remnant of Many technology) is used to create at least one member of the super-crooks team known as the Regulators.
- Technical Pacifist: Klone will fight to protect the Enclave, but never with lethal force, and in truth he hates violence. In fact, his usual contribution to a battle is to serve as a living shield, allowing assailants to demoralize themselves by seeing their attacks harmlessly deflected by his Nigh Invulnerable hide.
- Token Human: Jayson Rife, who takes up some of the Elders' weapons for himself and takes on the identity of Kontact to fight alongside the Others himself, with plans to become a representative for humanity in making peace between Man and the Many.
- Ultraterrestrials: The Many are a collective of humanoid races who evolved on Earth convergently with humanity. Klone is implied to actually be a conventional extraterrestrial alien, but the series was Cut Short before his story could be told.
- Wolverine Claws:
- Racket's Sonic Blasters take the form of bracelets equipped with these.
- Lord Mongrel's minion Wombat possesses these naturally.