Marc Bernardin
November 21, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

DEMO (AiT/Planet Lar, $2.95)

In the ”X-Men,” when teenagers wake up with hair in funny places and brand-new superpowers, the kindly Professor X wheels in and takes them to a lush private school and teaches them to use their new gifts for the betterment of mankind. ”Demo” takes place in a world where those same kids are left to fumble with abilities they can neither understand nor control — like the barely held-together telekinetic who takes her boyfriend and runs from her mother, who pushed mind-numbing drugs on her. Writer Brian Wood and artist Becky Cloonan let their touching character sketches breathe with a sense of space and life rarely seen in books about mutants.

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