REVIEW: Only Human #1

Story: Joseph A. Michael
Art: Daniel P. Gorman
Letters: Joseph A. Michael
Colors: Yinfaowei Harrison
Publisher: OH Comics
Release Date: December 2014

By now you know how I feel about zombies. Once, long ago, I was somewhat drawn to the now ubiquitous creatures, but mostly in a what’s-the-history of the undead way; I wanted to know if their popularity had any historical precedents in other cultures throughout the world. So, I did a little research and sated my thirst for zombie knowledge. Well, just because I got my fill pretty quickly that doesn’t mean they’re going anywhere, now does it? No, it doesn’t; The Walking Dead is back for a new season, Dying Light has finally been released for next-gen consoles and of course, there’s a new zombie book to review.

Only Human is about a zombie apocalypse, as its creators put it, where the zombies “aren’t actually zombies at all, at least not yet”. Whoa — you may ask – Adam, how can this be? Surely in order for a zombie apocalypse to take place, the world must first fall victim to actual zombies?

Within the context of our hypothetical discourse, I might answer in the following manner: Why,yes. Yes it does.

At this point, I’m not really sure anything else can be done to spice up the zombie game; we’ve seen zombie bands, evil zombies, smart zombies, animal zombies, medically treated zombies that regain some of their humanity…Basically what I’m getting at is that this genre has been done to death, and maybe I intended for that to be a pun. Maybe I didn’t. The point is, I can’t take anymore zombie-related franchises. I just can’t.

As for this particular book, the prelude was actually pulled off fairly well; serviceable artwork, good story pacing, nothing really out of place. It’s just that even if you had a big name creative team behind this, the story, as it stands, has been told before, and with more flair. And no, I’m not talking about the zombie angle in a general way. I mean the idea of a big pharmaceutical company handing out vaccinations in response to a deadly pandemic, and of course, said company has ulterior motives. I honestly had to make sure I wasn’t reading another Resident Evil spin-off here a few times.

After the prelude things go south, quickly in the official opening issue. The timeline seems, to me at least, to be in disarray. We’ve already established that the super-plague hit in the prelude, so why are the main characters so oblivious to that in issue #1? Beyond that, the book feels a little over-written. The decision for each character to tell the story from a first-person perspective only hurts things more; we spend too much time on mundane details that don’t drive the story forward.

Your opinion of Only Human may be drastically different from mine, so I won’t tell you not to read it. You may very well enjoy it – as is your right — I didn’t, but I’m going to give it another shot.

by A.C.

TeamCC has decided to read over the book for their added opinion:

Dan Sharp:

After reading Adam’s review of Only Human, I decided to give it a try. I write a post-apocalyptic story with conspiracies and super plagues myself, and thought it might be interesting to read another take on the genre.  Unfortunately, I did not enjoy Only Human.  I read both issues #0 and #1, and was unimpressed with both.  They both suffer from problematic pacing and “telling” instead of “showing”.  The very first page of Issue #0 is great, with just a beautiful visual depiction that easily sets the stage for the story.  But instead of allowing that to do its job, the entire issue rehashes everything, jumping erratically from one scene and location to the next introducing a variety of characters without identifying any as a protagonist for me to care about.  And then it goes and tells me who the bad guys are, ruining any suspense there.

I hoped Issue #1 would be better, but it actually got worse, both in art and writing, relying primarily on overly descriptive 1st person narration of action, intent and emotion instead of allowing the art to show them.  We get a couple of protagonists to start following, as well as an antagonist, but they feel very one dimensional and poorly defined.  The antagonist is the best defined, but only because I know what to expect of a clichéd sexy evil business woman who wants to rule a zombified world.  In all, both issues overly relied on zombie and “evil big pharma” clichés and failed to provide me with a compelling narrative or character to make me want to read it any farther. Rating: 1.5/5 stars

Martin Ferreti:

Only Human #0 gave me high hopes for what this series could have in store. The plot isn’t anything new – a mega corporation trying to take over the world through a magical cure to a global pandemic – but the dialogue was good enough for the most part, even if the story itself felt disjointed. The highlight of the issue was Don Ellis Aguillo’s art which could easily have helped Only Human earn a higher rating. Unfortunately, that hope disappeared after reading issue #1.
Only Human #1 lacks any of the aspects that made issue #0 a passable read, and oddly enough, any mention of the pandemic which was a central topic of the prelude book. Maybe issue #1 is supposed to take place before the global pandemic erupts as it would explain the characters’, Wesley and Fisher, utter lack of knowledge of what’s going on. If this is the case, then it’s just bad planning on behalf of the writer.
Remember how I mentioned the best part of the zero issue was the art? Sadly that’s not the case here as Daniel Gorma takes over art duties. It’s not bad per se, but definitely not as eye catching or finished as Aguillo’s work and with the large numbers of issues with the writing and dialogue, Gorma has a tough time making this book at least visually interesting.
While off to a promising start, Only Human quickly fades into a dull and unoriginal story which failed to keep my interest. 2/5
13th Crusader:
As I had mentioned in one of my previous reviews, when it comes to independent titles, especially from publishers I am not familiar with, I have a strong tendency to assess the artwork prior to reading the actual story. What stuck out in my opinion with the Only Human #0 issue, was the coloring element along with good utilization of shadows and an interesting take on perspective. Unfortunately, Only Human #1 stood in stark contrast to issue #0. The plot overall with both of these books was unoriginal and leaves little to be desired. Post-apocalyptic books in this day and age that feature zombies and/or a near omnipotent plague, will unfortunately draw numerous comparisons to The Walking Dead, Resident Evil, 28 Days Later, and even 12 Monkeys from a virus aspect. One thing that binds all of these books/movies together is the central theme of “only the strong survive”. Unless the creators can figure out a way to salvage this series pronto, Only Human will fall victim to the key component of the story its trying to tell – a super-plague. Rating 0.5/5
Johnny Hughes:

We live in a cynical world, where the lack of originality can be seen as homage and becomes the norm. That doesn’t mean that when we see this happening we should just let it be, in part because we then help maintain the status quo rather than drive to someone greater.

Only Human falls bang into this area of mediocrity, right down to the child hero, the evil corporation and the sexy (inappropriately so) nurses. The art suffers in issue 1, as does the internal monologue, which has been done a million times in a million Spider books.

If the creators were aiming for a bag standard story than mission successful. Rating 1/5

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