Keenan Marshall Keller and Tom Neely are back with their exhilarating series, The Humans, with a new story arc that is guaranteed to get your motor running. The mature-themed comic that mashes Planet of the Apes and Sons of Anarchy together to make one fantastic exploitation adventure right out of the '70s returns with a bang as the biker gang has to secure a dangerous drug run from Oakland to Los Angeles.
After a blockbuster debut that covered some deadly gangland politics, Vietnam War PTSD and plenty of sex and drugs, issue #5 of The Humans is all action. Keller probably unknowingly provided the premise of the new arc that resembles the hit movie Mad Max: Fury Road. Luckily, it's every bit as explosive with some over-the-top road warrior action of its own. The gang is transporting some truckloads of doped down the freeway from Northern California heading south if they can avoid suspicious cops and opportunistic rivals ready to steal their cargo.
It all makes for an exciting read that is great visceral escapism just in time for summer. The Humans can afford some cinematic popcorn indulgence because the characters have been developed so well in such a short time. None better than Johnny the war vet. Issue two was one of the best of the year because it focused on his recollections of the war. The series is so compelling I find myself forgetting they're apes.
Neely's art is cartoonish in the 'Saturday morning cartoon' of yesteryear-way but the themes are 100% R-rated. It's that dichotomy that makes all the violence and sex all the more striking. You don't expect big bright panels to convey such killer action. Kristina Collantes does a magical job balancing some city and rural landscapes with subdued tones while ramping up the color schemes as the action gets under way with oranges, reds, and yellows.
The Humans may not be for everybody. I get that. You have to buy into the premise that a world inhabited and run by apes is compelling enough to stick around. Keller has built a totally believable world that resembles ours warts and all but uses apes to heighten the realism. It's one of the most creative comics to hit shelves in a long time. If you haven't read The Humans, issue #5 is as good a point to start as issue #1 (although I recommend reading the first arc too).