By Dustin Cabeal
Usually, I’m not a fan of anthologies written by one person. It takes a talented writer with a solid vision to pull off such an anthology. For the most part, creator and writer, Jacques Nyemb does just that. Humanescent is unique in that the theme isn’t superheroes, sci-fi or the typical “here’s the character tell a story with them and use these personality tropes” themed story. I’ve never read a collection of stories about “being human” and while that could come across as intentionally vague to some people, I find it to be ambitious.
Personally, and this is just me and my tastes talking, he shouldn’t have lead with Skuds McKinley’s story. I’m a pretty big mark for McKinley’s work, and so nothing past the first story could top the first story. Again, that’s my personal taste because an artist I enjoy kicked off the comic. The story itself also seemed to be the most put together and was an interesting take on evolution and learning. Now, full disclosure, I know the colorist on this story as well. Justin Wood is a talented artist in his own right, but this is the first time I’ve seen his colored work published. I’m going to heap praise on the man because I as I said in a review for another comic that McKinley did, it takes a special talent to color his work. McKinley’s style isn’t 100% friendly to coloring, and that’s part of why I love it. He’s made it friendly most recently, but the wrong colorist can tank his art in a heartbeat. Wood makes McKinley’s art shine, and I loved it. They made a cohesive art team, and that made it a great story to start with.
The stories range from feel-good tales to stories with deep social commentary. I found the stories with deeper meaning to be the most enjoyable, but it keeps the issue from being too drape. Nyemb lifts you up with such stories as “Mirror” with Meredith Laxton but then hits you in the gut with “Hero Worship” with Michael Neno. While “Mirror” is uplifting and tackles gender norms in society, “Hero Worship” takes a look at a white superhero married to a black woman during a time in which it was likely illegal for them to be married. Aside from the first story, “Hero Worship” was the best of the issue and dealt with so many real-world issues that are relevant today, but on top of all that it’s a story about husband and wife which is the part I related to the most.
I would love to see more anthologies like Humanescent. With themes that are bigger than genres and with a talent pool that is diverse and unique. Having read another anthology by indie creators, I would take Humanescent over it any day because of the depth of talent on this issue. From Nyemb’s writing to the incredible artists that brought his writing to life. While not all of the stories are perfect or the best fit with the rest of the tales, it’s overall a fairly consistent anthology and one that any comic fan should check out.
Writer: Jacques Nyemb
Publisher: No So Super Comics