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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

REVIEW: The Humans #1 by Keenan Marshall Keller and Tom Neely

for Mature Readers

The Humans #1 is a wild ride that you won't see coming. I surely didn't and it took some time to sink in. I mean we're talking about Planet of the Apes meets Easy Rider in a rowdy Rated R world of sex, drugs, choppers and violence. What more could you want in a ape biker gang?

Keenan Marshall Keller took his love of 1970's exploitation films and transferred it to comics in this tale of rough and tumble bikers, The Humans, roaming the roads of Bakersfield, California laying a fallen rider to rest while battling a rival gang. It's more than a capable homage to the low-budget, gratuitously violent outlaw biker films of the late '60s and early '70s. The Humans is Russ Meyer-incarnate capturing the tone and tempo of those cult classic features that exposed America to the seedy underbelly of biker gangs. Except Keller swaps humans for apes creating an alternate reality that is bizarre but totally compelling. 

Tom Neely designed a perfectly laid out issue that incorporates larger panels for wide shots in the desert to fun splash pages that compartmentalizes the action. Neely's greatest gift to The Humans is the creative and diverse character design. He had the tough task to create a world inhabited by apes yet they come in all shapes and sizes, some more human in appearance than others, each one different than the next. The attention to detail is first rate and it's especially evident when he draws the characters in a long line, shoulder to shoulder, and you can see the amount of work and passion involved. 

The Humans is a time machine to a seedy movie house in some downtown metropolis with sticky floors and a single screen watching Naked Angels or Motorpsycho. The fact the characters are apes is just an added bonus. Keller and Neely have created a subgenre within a subgenre within a subculture that slaps the reader awake and reinvigorates what adult comic books are all about. 
  

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