Published by Image Comics.
Written by Glen Brunswick. Drawn by Whilce Portacio.
It’s Los Angeles in 2041. many of our conveniences are gone like TV and our beloved Internet are gone. Instead, detectives deal with Non-Humans, once inanimate objects that come to life due to a mysterious disease. Detective Aimes is searching for the serial killer named Humphrey. Killer also murdered his partner. Assisting Aimes are young, well-connected Detective Eden and plushy informant Buddy the Bear.
Aimes has trouble in his home life: he’s divorced and tries to look after his teenage son, Todd, who’s cavorting with an ex-mannequin. Mannequin girlfriend wants to start a family with Todd. She and the other Non-Humans are living out an existence as freaky unequals. Non-Human equality wouldn’t sit well with Detective Aimes, who’s barely tolerant of his own N.H. colleague, Detective Medic, first N.H. to earn a Gold Shield.
The official Image line is that Non-Humans is “Blade Runner meets Toy Story.” The latter work evokes memories of a pleasant, family-friendly good time. There’s nothing cute or adorable about Non-Humans, but I did chuckle at some of Buddy’s dialogue. There’s not enough room in this initial issue to show why L.A. has giant, rectangular monoliths in its skyline or even details about the disease. Then again, seeing this Bad Future realized by the thick linework of Portacio makes me content for now.
Detective Aimes is the worst of the main characters. He’s a one-eyed, surly accused deadbeat dad who complains a lot. His unsavory qualities do not make him sympathetic. I’d rather focus on the Eden or even the Detective Medic. There are some interesting people and events surrounding this dystopia that have more potential than the cop drama plot structure.
Portacio uses a dark color palette and thick, unrefined lines to visualize Non-Humans’ bleakness. Most of the pages stay in a grid, or near-grid layout with some overlapping panels. The overlapping didn’t bother me here; one example is where Aimes is surrounding by a zombie-esque Non-Human horde. On some pages the panels have odd rectangular shapes. There’s no need for those shapes, but I wasn’t annoyed. Overall, the original Image founder did a solid, competent job.
I’m sticking with this mini-series. I would’ve preferred something outside a chase-the-bad-guy plot and had the main character be someone else, but the first issue is decent and readable.
Three hooves out of four.
Preview this issue at Comic Book Resources.