Rating: 3/5 – Planet of the Apes Meets Sons of Anarchy.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo.
It’s no surprise to people who know me that I go bananas for stories featuring our simian brothers. I have much primate love for movies like King Kong and Planet of the Apes, to the point that I named my kid after a character in the latter. I’ve also always been interested in the lore of biker life and culture: the drinking, fighting, and brotherly love shared by a group of misfits who defy social conventions. So when I saw a preview of the Humans, with a crew of wicked looking apes on motorcycles, there was no way I was going to pass up a melding of the two worlds in what looked like Planet of the Apes meets Sons of Anarchy. After reading the first issue, though, I’m afraid this is a case where I loved the idea and concept of the story more than the execution.
This inaugural issue starts off promising. I loved the first few pages, with an impeccably written narration by Keenan Marshall Keller that leads up to a beautiful two-page splash emblazoned with the book’s title (also the gang’s name) and various scenes of debauchery. This tells you everything you need to know about the gang in five glorious pages. It was cinematic in its introduction and I wish the rest of this issue was written as tightly. What follows instead is a small slice into the life of the Humans before a ruthless turf war erupts in a couple of two-page splashes. The splash pages are creative, and artist Tom Neely is certainly setting up the book’s artistic style, but ultimately I feel like this is something that should have occurred in another issue down the line. It was a whole lot of action in lieu of characterization and it threw off the pacing of the first issue for me. Maybe it isn’t Keller’s goal to make this an overly character driven book, but I did get the feeling that he wants to flesh out these characters that on the surface seem cliché. Unfortunately, this first issue didn’t do that enough to make me feel anything for the cast or the story. Oddly, it’s in the back of the issue after the story that we get the biggest glimpse into some of the gang’s personalities. Rather than a typical letters page or an introduction by the writer, we get three pages of odds and ends, including a couple of meta moments as some of the gang take over. The back of the book was fun to read and almost worth the price of admission itself.
I thought this first issue of the Humans was a bit of a mixed bag. The concept is there, and so is the cast, but the story seemed disjointed. I didn’t get the feeling after reading it that I was invested in the characters or their plight. I really feel that for the book to work, it has to be about breaking the character tropes and offering up a little more than sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The book is crass and naughty in the way that bikers are, and I certainly appreciate that Keller didn’t shy away from that (which means this book is not one for the kiddies). It keeps it real in a way that most comics would otherwise avoid. Hopefully future issues will get more deeply into the characters and make me buy into them as individuals.
Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
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