"Animosity #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by AfterShock Comics
Written by Marguerite Bennett
Illustrated by Rafael de Latorre
Colored by Rob Schwager
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on September 14th, 2016
Sometimes you hear a premise that's so simple yet rife with possibilities. That is the case with Animosity. The book takes the basic idea of animals suddenly learning how to speak and shows you how that can cause the world to spiral out of control. After the novelty of having an intelligent conversation with your dog wears off, you begin to realize all of the ramifications of this. If animals big and small are not only able to speak, but have the same level of intelligence as humans, it levels the playing field...or rather, the food chain. It's a lot harder to kill a cow and eat it if it's pleading for its life.
That's where this issue of Animosity picks up. The animals are negotiating with the humans for their civil rights. Entire industries and societies are crumbling all around. Hunting is essentially a major crime now. How does the world function when you've increased the intelligent life on the planet by billions?
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Central to the story is a young girl named Jesse and her bloodhound Sandor. Their relationship is heartwarming even in the face of all this chaos. Their love for one another is pure and sweet. It's a tight bond that can only be formed with a kid and their pet. Despite gaining thought and speech, Sandor stays by Jesse's side to help and protect her. Everyone is not comfortable with this situation. Jesse's father takes Sandor out scavenging with him and they encounter a few alligators in the subway. There is a chilling scene as they fight for their lives and Jesse's dad holds back for a moment, almost like he's going to let the dog die. Just like with zombie stories, the real monsters are the surviving humans.
Artist Rafael de Latorre walks a fine line between the wholesome with shots of Sandor and Jesse, and the terrifying, like a moose towering over a politician with two squirrels in its antlers holding guns. Yes, that image is just as awesome as it sounds. I want to read an entire mini-series about the adventures of this moose and his shooting squirrel buddies. Holy crap, I just got that this is a reference to Rocky & Bulwinkle. That's not the only sight gag as there are many peppered through Animosity. There's a scene where Jesse and Sandor walk through a trading post of sorts with animals selling their wares. It features some pigs pitching communism and some rifle toting primates right out of The Planet of the Apes.
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Latorre makes your everyday animal menacing and terrifying. You will not look at a zoo the same way after reading Animosity. The aforementioned alligators are a definite standout, bursting out of a subway train with blood splattering from their massive jaws.
Rob Schwager's colors work with the mix of drama and terror, helping to set the appropriate mood. The trading post scene is brightly lit with the sun shining overhead. It could be an average spring day if not for the cat trying to sell you pharmaceutical grade pain meds. This is a great contrast to the subway scene or the appearance of the moose and squirrels which is presented with a darker and grittier palette. This really drives home the dystopian nature of the series.
Animosity presents a frightening reality that hinges on just one element being changed in our world. Talking animals have never been more terrifying. If anything, it will cause you to be nicer to any creature, big or small, that you see, because if they do gain the ability to speak, they're going to have some choice words for you if you've wronged them.