Holy shit! My mind continues to reel from the events of this most recent issue of The Humans even after the fourth time reading it for this review. Even though the last issue ended with a few of the Humans’ enemies conspiring to bring down the gang, I’m surprised that that plan already gets enacted in this issue. A comic that sees the Humans in their most vulnerable condition, I was blown away by the multiple jaw-dropping moments in this issue. After Peg takes Johnny back to her crap apartment to recover from his recent beating, Peg nurses the worn Johnny as the two talk about their individual suffering as a result of Johnny’s time in Vietnam and his assumed death. Meanwhile over at Kirby’s Roadhouse bar, the rest of the Humans continue celebrating their recent successful run to LA unaware that Crispy has conspired with Flex and the Skaabs to kill them all. What follows is a full on assault of Kirby’s by the Skaabs and Flex’s goons with the Humans uniting once again to face their attackers even though their outgunned and outnumbered. Back at Peg’s place, Johnny and Peg end up having some overdue sex, Johnny unaware of the fight his fellow Humans are undertaking.
The only downside of this issue is the coloring in some of the earlier pages, which popped but made the pages difficult to look at on a digital copy. I point to that downside first only because the rest of the issue had me amazed by the ensuing events. Previously, I mentioned how much I dug Tom Neely’s lettering, but I need to stress once again just how adept he is at employing lettering to assist writer Keenan Marshall Keller’s dialogue in conveying a wide array of tones. Two standout moments for me would have to be when Peg tells Johnny “I can be gentle,” and Neely letters the statement in a manner that conveys sensuality through slight tilts of each letter, the ‘L’ lingering in the mind of the reader. The other would be the last page where Neely draws a pained Roar that conveys an incredible level of anguish that encapsulated the emotions felt by the character in the panel.
Keenan Marshall Keller does some fine work this issue between making the formerly laughable Skabbs a menacing bunch and injecting a deep level of intimacy in Peg and Johnny’s painful and joyous reunion. What I really enjoy about Keller’s writing is that he provides each characters a unique voice and set of motivations, going so far as to devote time to a Skabb’s reluctance to participate in the assault on Kirby’s. Such devotion to character work between the exploding heads and orgasms makes the comic memorable on all fronts.
The Humans continues to surprise me with the turns it takes each issue. It stands as evidence that Image Comics lets comic creators publish their visions as they originally intended. With The Humans left in disarray at issue’s end, it’ll be a treat to see how they recover after their brief hiatus. However, I’m still waiting for the Skins to revolt.
Humans #7 Writer: Keenan Marshall Keller Artist: Tom Neely Colorist: Krisitina Collantes & Tom Neely Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 8/5/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital (Series returns in October)