"Animosity: Volume 2 – The Dragon Trade" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by AfterShock Comics
Written by Marguerite Bennett
Illustrated by Rafael de LaTorre
Colored by Rob Schwager
2017, 122 Pages
Trade paperback released on October 11th, 2017
In the blink of an eye, every animal on the face of the Earth gained sentience and started speaking. One year later, the world is a very different place. Civilization has crumbled. Creatures big and small are joining forces or going to war. Everyone is looking for a way to survive in a situation where the food chain has just been greatly disturbed. An old dog named Sandor is fiercely loyal to his owner, a young girl named Jesse. He's determined to get her across the country to her brother in California if it's the last thing he does. At the rate they're going, it might very well be.
If you're not pulled in by the premise of Animosity, there's something wrong with you. This is a book rife with possibilities. The sky is the limit with the stories that can be told in this world. The main tale in this second trade paperback has Sandor, Jesse, and a small group of other animals coming face-to-face with a would-be dragon. A creature is haunting the woods, swooping down from the sky with massive red wings. In a world where every animal can talk, is it really that far off to also have dragons?
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The truth ends up being something strange and creepy. The Wake, as the day of animal sentience is called, changed everything and it broke some people and creatures. This is one such example of the broken as they deal with this change in their own unique way.
While Animosity could exist solely on the crazy idea of talking animals, it brings more to the table. Jesse is in that tender space transitioning from a child to an adult. Sandor is trying to keep her innocent in a world filled with the guilty. How can she be a kid surrounded by all this death and bloodshed? There's only so long that Sandor can keep the reality of their situation away from her. She's going to have to learn sooner or later.
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Artist Rafael de LaTorre captures that innocence perfectly. On the surface, Jesse is a sweet little girl. She's kind to all she meets, regardless of species. This contrasts nicely with Sandor's gruff nature. He's like a grumpy old man in the body of a dog, only softening in the presence of Jesse.
Animosity creates some pretty startling images by its very nature. The one that takes the cake in this volume is the deer that carries the grenades. There are several grenades hanging with string from his antlers. I don't know how he's able to detach a specific one, but he does and it's terrifying. Imagery like that will have you rethinking that hunting trip. It's like Bambi's revenge.
There's a nice balance between human / animal drama, pure horror, and philosophical discussion in Animosity. There's so much we don't know about this situation and the characters don't know it all either. They're figuring stuff out just as we are, questioning what this new reality means for everything from basic survival needs to the concept of the soul. All in all, it's a pretty great read.