Non-Humans #1 does a fantastic job of introducing this world through the eyes of the main character, Detective Oliver Aimes. In 30 pages, Brunswick and Portacio manage to explain what Non-Humans are, where they came from, and the effects they've had on the world while introducing our characters and setting all seamlessly, with very little exposition. The idea of the Non-Humans takes some getting used to, but where else are you going to find characters like a teddy bear drug dealer or a Victoria Secret mannequin who just wants to be a mom? The issues of race and civil rights that arise are nothing new for the genre, but are concepts well worth exploring again. The fact that NH's need humans to reproduce while humanity is doing everything in its power not to create more Non-Humans is a key struggle in this conflict, which sets it aside from similar concepts. Then, there are the measures humanity has taken to block imagination and prevent the creation of more Non-Humans. No toys, no stuffed animals, no internet, and much darker decisions. The bleakness of a world where imagination is discouraged is horrifying to me. No art, no literature, just life. In a way, humanity is giving up the things that make us truly human, which is a wonderfully atrocious idea to explore.
Non-Humans is going for a cyberpunk/post-apocalyptic look, which worked for me. I loved the fact that this issue takes the time to establish the neighborhoods of Los Angeles and shows how they've changed in the last 30 years. Aimes and the other human characters are all stereotypes: the bigot, the understanding partner, the curious teen, etc. It's the NH characters who really stood out to me. Part of their personality is derived from what they are and where they came from, but overall they're unique with histories I'd really like to explore. Someone had to bring to life that drug dealing teddy bear or that Victoria Secret mannequin after all.
I can't promise you haven't heard this story before, but the change-ups Non-Humans has made to the formula makes it something worth keeping an eye on. If Brunswick and Portacio continue to capitalize on what sets Non-Humans apart from every other humanity vs. machines story, then this series will be a must read.