Review – Animosity #2 (Aftershock Comics)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Rafael De Latorre
Release Date: 14th September, 2016

After a frankly stunning – and by all reports hugely popular – first issue, Animosity is back with its sophomore episode, but can Marguerite keep us as enthralled? The answer is yes, but whereas part one was a knock-out blow part two is more of a cerebral jolt.

The writing is good and strong, as should be expected by now. Marguerite highlights just how difficult it is to find a sense of normality this new world of animal sentience with both some big questions, and some excellent humour. Think about it, should all humans be absolved of crimes against animals before they awoke? How will the population survive now that eating meat is murder? Should population (both animal and human) be regulated? These are big issues and it’s going to be interesting to see how it’s managed – especially when free will is involved, and all the complexity that can bring.

Those are the broad strokes that Animosity is starting to address, but on a smaller scale there are some wonderful little tidbits. The Free Trade Zone market is deliciously clever, with references to Animal Farm, Planet of the Apes and Watership Down. It does well at hinting to how humans and animals could co-operate, but it also shows the roots of fanaticism in both the human and animal populace. It’s also a huge hint at how the story direction may go, but it is not forced on the reader, it’s something that is evolving naturally in the writing and really works well.

The lone sticking point that I do have with the writing is the portrayal of Jessie’s dad, Oscar. A man who was a vet acts openly aggressively towards Sandor – indeed he threatens him mortally, and it just feels to me like the one piece of this story that is just a little out of kilter. I find it hard to identify with this character’s outlook as he was a vet, a healer, even if his indoctrination into this new world was witnessing several rats kill a pest control officer. Perhaps this will become clearer in future issues, but just now it’s a small irritant in an otherwise excellent story.

Rafael De Latorre’s artwork is very much up to the task here. It must have been incredibly daunting to take on the task of giving animal’s sentience while maintaining the fact they are still animals. A hard balance to strike, but one he has managed to achieve remarkable success. Especially with Sandor, very much a dog, and yet this is a character that you are going to fall in love with.

I have to say that this issue of Animosity took a direction I wasn’t quite prepared for – more because I hadn’t properly thought through the scope of the idea that Marguerite has hatched. For such a simple idea there is an incredible range of scope for this story, and folks, I’m excited. If this story is cultivated as well as the author’s other recent titles, then Animosity will unquestionably be a hit.

Rating: 4/5.

13043453_10154167818863408_9180033184388957427_nThe writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.

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