Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Keith Giffen
Artwork: Benjamin Roman
Colours: Bryan Valenza, Beyond Colorlab
Release Date: 12th December 2018
It’s not you, it’s me. Ok it’s a cliché but it’s a cliché that feels appropriate for this comic. Whilst I don’t like to think of myself as having a ‘type’ of comic that I read, I realise from my collection that I tend to fall into certain genres and tropes. As a result, catching up on Auntie Agatha’s Home for Wayward Rabbits (oaft, that’s a mouthful), I was a bit flummoxed by what I was reading. At first, it all seemed like a bit too much whimsy and irreverence with not a lot of meat in the story. When it slowly dawned on me that the story was essentially the frame upon which to hang some disturbing, yet always entertaining, conversational set pieces I settled in and started to enjoy it quite a bit.
Following conversations of leporidae cannibalism last issue, we are switched up to an explosive outburst about colour choices for repainting the hutches here. Neither did I know what the colour ecru was, nor whether discussions about it could hold together so well over an issue… We also have the thugs Raquel and Naomi continuing their attempts at strong-arming of Auntie Agatha and a very tongue in cheek (can rabbits be racist to each other?) dialogue between two of the rabbits, Sawyer and the new exchange rabbit from Okunoshima Island, Asuka.
Auntie Agatha’s has all the hallmarks of the off-the-wall animated comedies that have been so successful over the last few years. Sweet rabbits these may look, but the foul trash talking underneath is well-judged juxtaposition. Part of why this works, punchy writing aside, is that the character design is so engaging. Whilst the ‘cartoon’ style allows for exaggeration and a fair bit of artistic license, being able to easily distinguish the rabbits and deliver good quality anthropomorphic expression shows Benjamin Roman must really be enjoying himself.
As the ensemble cast grows, I don’t see this story gathering a huge amount of pace; in fairness though, I don’t think it needs to. What we have here feels like an episodic sitcom with an arc. It’s not your standard run of the mill laughter reel comedy though, instead its tempo conversations where these rabbits see the punchline and decide they are ‘going there’ and not pulling any punches. Watership Down this is very much not and whilst admittedly not a style I’d normally read, I’m glad I picked this up.