Written by Keenan Marshall Keller
Art by: Tom Neely & Kristina Collantes
The Humans continues to impress as it evolves with every issue. Here in issue three the focus is on Johnny and his inability to shake off the horrors of Vietnam as the past and present collide blurring the line between what is real and what is memory. What could have been considered a novelty of a premise – an alternate reality where apes rule the world – is turning into an important and a brilliant examination of the consequences of war.
Johnny’s return from the war and back to the open arms of his biker gang family has helped him transition back to civilian life. However, the post-traumatic stress has him hallucinating that he’s still in the jungle looking for enemies.
The layouts on the page are cleverly done so scenes in present day melt into scenes from the battlefield. Neely’s attention to detail seamlessly makes these transitions so we the reader can see the world through Johnny’s eyes. The flashback is brutal, explicit and unflinching. There’s an integrity and an honesty to the scene of fresh recruit Johnny thrust into battle that makes The Humans more than a comic book but a history lesson. A lesson we as humans seem to forget that the cost of war is heart-wrenchingly devastating. And those that survive it never, really, totally, completely leaves it behind.
Despite the ‘Full Metal Jacket’ approach of the comic, it’s still a story about biker gangs and the aspiration to rule the drug trade takes on some interesting clinical trials.
The theme may seem heavy and it can be but this is after all a book for mature readers and The Humans is not just entertainment, but moving and compelling in ways you wouldn’t expect from sequential art. All the more reason to add this to your pull list.