Written by: Keenan Marshall Keller
Art by: Tom Neely
Color by: Kristina Collantes
Coming off issue three which is sure to get an Eisner nomination for best single issue, The Humans #4 gets down to business as the crew visits FLEX trucking for some wheeling and dealing as well as some homo-sapien cock fighting known as Skin fighting.
This issue is where the world building really opens up as we meet Abe Simian, the Boss Hogg of Bakersfield, who also hosts a big gang summit at his FLEX trucking facility. The main attraction is the bloody brawls between each gang’s human fighters. The stakes are high as Bobby has to reassert his authority to some in his own gang and stand up to Abe as well. The situation escalates as a lot rides on Bobby’s agreement with Abe.
We also get the lowdown on other gangs from around the country. Each featured with accompanying detail and they look awfully familiar, from the hippies to the implied black and Latino gangs. The world of The Humans is a mirror of ours except for the apes are on top of the food chain.
Keenan Keller along with Tom Neely have created a vibrant and deadly world with distinct characters. Bobby, for example, is a strong leader with a clean appearance and the range of characters give the gangs a unique quality that some creative duos would take for granted. Instead, they take a painstaking attention to detail to vary each and every character, big or small, on every panel.
Keller knows his characters as though he’s known them for years. Each has a personality all their own and each rings true with their actions. Neely has brought this retro look with creative touches in layouts and panel design. Even the brutal fights have a grotesque beauty that feels right at home in this world. Kristina Collantes’ colors bring the 70’s Technicolor in browns and yellows.
You can’t go wrong with The Humans. It’s a complex allegory of ourselves told through from the seedy side of a band of bikers. If a comparison must be made it would have to be Sons of Anarchy meets Planet of the Apes but it’s much deeper than that. Having Johnny fresh from the war suffering from PTSD makes it as important and relevant as anything in the news today. This is another great issue that sets the stage for more to come.