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