Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Rafael De Latorre
Release Date: 2nd November, 2016
This is an important issue in that a few things become clearer. First point, I’m really glad that we are given a plausible explanation as to why Jessie’s dad (Oscar) was so aggressive towards Sandor in the previous issue. It makes so much more sense now. Secondly the past/present structure to the story is beginning to make a little more sense now we are learning more of this new world after The Awakening. Identification of a scene in the timeline is becoming more relaxed rather than having to think about where we are in the story so that scene makes more sense. In fact, I’d almost liken this issue to a graduation of sorts.
Story-wise, there are some really cool things happening. Its now five years after The Awakening and the world is pretty fractured. Sandor and Jessica are in contact with The Animilitary, Sandor has agreed to do a job for them in exchange for safe passage south to Jessie’s family. Currently the way is blocked by a DMZ and the Human Military. The Animilitary want Sandor to track down some missing operatives, to determine if they have indeed been captured, before agreeing to a prisoner exchange.
However, the beauty of this issue isn’t in the story (as good as it is), it’s in the character interactions. If you liked Sandor previously, by the end of issue three you’ll love him; especially the way he is trying to act as surrogate Father to Jessie. I’ll tell you this right now Marguerite Bennett, if you ever kill off Sandor, my judgement will be absolute and my retribution quick! The innocence of Jessie will also melt the harshest of hearts, the way she sees the best in everything (both Human and Animal) just makes you want to put your arms around her to make sure nothing bad will happen. There is a definite emotional prowess to the writing here and it’s just bloody wonderful.
This resonance is also present in Rafael de Latorre’s art. His animal characters are great; the Animilitary soldiers are wonderful creations. Dogs with steel lock-jaws, turtles with rocket launchers strapped to their shells, a Stag with grenades dangling from its antlers like earrings. So many playful creations on themes, the best is the Koala with two six shooters which I think is clearly a tip-of-the-cap to the Gizmo/Rambo idea. Yet, in amongst all this military hardware is a wide-eyed Jessie making friends and touching the lives of others in the camp, and it’s all drawn beautifully.
I’ve fallen hard for Animosity this issue, I’m completely invested in Jessie and Sandor now. This wonderful creation of Marguerite is starting to take on a life of its own and is chock full of promise. The Jessie/Sandor dynamic does remind me somewhat of early Walking Dead with Rick trying to protect Carl from the inevitability of their world, and I feel very much the same applies here. I know that ultimately this is not going to be an easy journey and it’ll be heart-breaking watching Jessie change, having to adapt to the violence of this world (so far Sandor has managed to shield her, but that can only last so long, right)? I also get a bit of a DMZ vibe from Animosity, and in truth those are two helluva good stories to take influence from. Go and buy this issue, fall in love with Jessie and Sandor like I did, and I promise you will not regret it. Not one bit.
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The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.