Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Keenan Marshall Keller
Art: Tom Neely
Colours: Kristina Collantes
Right, I need to get this out: as a regular reviewer, normally I try to remain objective and balanced in my judgement, and to analyse any issue of whichever series I am writing about from an outsider’s point of view. Sure, I do enjoy (most of) the stories, but my aim is to give our readers a chance to understand whether they would like to pick up a certain book or not. Well, with The Humans, especially with this issue (and, very likely, with the next), I am struggling to remain detached. Because, you see, Keenan Marshall Keller has created a story so captivating that I fell straight into it. I ended up mourning Bobby’s and Bricks’s deaths, and the cover of this issue #9 gave me a knot in my guts: all the Humans – except for new acting President Johnny – dead. And the Skabbs too, but that’s cool. Very cool, actually. On my Facebook page, my “cover picture” is a scene from The Humans, with Bobby and Bricks drinking and smiling only minutes before being brutally murdered. Yes, I really like this series. Sue me.
Now, let’s try to summarise what happened until now. Hold back your manly tears.
In issue #8 we found the Humans barricaded around Johnny, their Vice President, who has locked himself in a barn trying to cope with the death of his brother Bobby, the club President, killed by the Skabbs alerted by traitor Crispin. Behind that attack, however, there is none else than Abe Simian, who runs the criminal empire that in theory the Humans are supporting. In theory. Johnny is also a Vietnam veteran, and PTSD is not making his situation any better. An unwelcome visit from the local Police, however, makes him snap out of his misery and decide that it is time for revenge. So he leads a crazy attack against the Skabbs’ clubhouse. It is a massacre. And it is catharsis for Johnny, who smashes into a pulp the head of Bobby’s murderer Woz shouting “There is no God, there is only me”.
I’m getting goosebumps. Honest. And it is not over.
Yes, because now we get to issue #9. The Humans are discussing what to do next, with Johnny apparently disappeared. But their new leader was simply hiding in a tree, listening to their words. Doc, the oldest and wisest of the Humans, seems extremely worried, but Johnny’s rousing words manage to bring him back into the fold, hungry for revenge. Even the girls are ready to kill and risk being killed. The Humans ride again. Probably to their deaths, as anticipated by the cover of this issue. The only one who is not convinced is Peggy, Johnny’s girlfriend, who slaps him and leaves him because of his disregard for his own and his friends’ life. After their confrontation, Johnny leads the Humans to a war they can’t win. Or can they?
At this point, I don’t think I need to tell you that this is a good story: I guess I made it clear already. I didn’t mention the art. Well, it is very 1970s. Which, for a book set in those years, is perfectly fitting. The dream (or rather, delirium) sequences are perfectly set up and balanced, and we do get an idea about Johnny’s deranged state of mind. The fact that the pages themselves are slightly yellowed, as if this was an old comic, adds to the 1970s feel.
Sure, The Humans is not exactly politically correct. But that adds to the edge that this series has. Unless you think you may be easily offended, give this great series a try and you will end up yelling, along with Johnny and his crew, “Humans till deth”. Yes, this is the correct spelling.