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Hum
Scott Marcano and Tom Lenoci, and illustrated by Renzo Podesta
Diablo Publications, 250 pages

Hum
Past Feature Reviews
A review by John Enzinas

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Hum takes place on a world that was colonized and then ignored. The world was capable of supporting human life, but something caused 80 percent of the colonists to be struck permanently blind. At first, the sighted cared for the blind, but then they became resentful and made the blind their slaves, justifying it through their physical superiority. The slaves rebel and leave to set up their own villages of the blind. The leader of the remaining masters plots to join the masters together against the former slaves under his leadership through the use of an addictive drug. His brother finds his former slave and lover and decides to stand against his brother and save the village.

There's a lot that is good about this book. It shows the value of freedom. It promotes the use of simple and direct solutions for simple problems. It shows people with disabilities living successful and happy lives. The hero doesn't save the day in the way he intends. The art is fantastically dramatic black and white with well placed color drug flashbacks. It's a good retelling of the classic hero's tale, with a slight subversion of the trope at the end.

That being said, there was lots that could have been better. The story was simplistic good versus evil and the art does nothing to add to the complexity. The civilization utterly collapses without the slaves in a remarkably short time. No good reason is given for this. Technology seems to have disappeared in that time with things like flying bikes and sonic guns disappearing so thoroughly that no one even questions their absence and doesn't recognize them when they reappear. It was like the authors were not sure how soon after the rebellion the story took place, even though they made it clear with the child and the master/slave relationship. Trying to show the slaves as being successfully autonomous is not helped by having the most successful village be the one that is partly run by a former master.

Fans of the post-apocalypse genre or of any of the three creators may enjoy this, but for the rest, there is nothing special to see. Move along.

Copyright © 2009 John Enzinas

John Enzinas reads frequently and passionately. In his spare time he plays with swords.


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