by Rae Hurley
The idea of animals rising up and revolting against humanity is not a new one; it's been done multiple times in a variety of media. With this in mind, I was curious to see what Animosity #1 would do with a story that is already familiar to a modern audience, and how writer Marguerite Bennet would make this into a compelling narrative.
While the core of the story is not particularly original, the way it is portrayed is refreshing and entertaining. The expected elements of horror, witnessing animals turning furiously on the human species, is peppered liberally with other responses to the animals “waking up” and starting to talk. Some are protective of their human owners, some simply don't want to be in this world anymore, and some find themselves feeling guilty of their instinctive natures. The reactions are varied and colourful, funny and horrifying, from a polar bear experiencing remorse for its latest meal to a killer whale who has... let's just call them unusual ideas on the interaction between species.
This is the world in which we find Sandor, a dog who from the very beginning sets out to protect his human owner Jesse from the more vicious creatures surrounding them. There is an immediate understanding that the focus is on Sandor and his relationship with Jesse, rather than the girl herself – though this may change as the story develops. While the first issue only shows us the beginning of what looks to be a long journey for these two characters, it will be interesting to see how they will survive the new status quo of the animal kingdom.
What struck me the most with this issue was the artwork. Rafael De Latorre does a fantastic job of putting a dose of realism and a large helping of fine details to bring every panel to life. Particularly in the first third of the issue, I find myself going back to look for things I may have missed the first time through. The colours chosen by Rob Schwager are bold and bright, giving an unexpected playfulness to the pages, particularly those of a more violent nature.
The only real criticism I have is the length of this first issue, which feels a bit shorter than it could have been. The upside is that the story is kept in one cohesive whole, and all the advert pages are left for the end, allowing you to enjoy the story from beginning to end without interruption. But it's a bit disappointing to discover that, of a 31 page book, 11 pages have been dedicated to marketing rather than story. Perhaps this is more a symptom of the modern age than anything, but I would have gladly had a few more pages of the narrative to lead into what happens next when I reached the end.
Animosity #1 walks a fine line between the familiar and the new, and ensures that the characters – human and animal alike – are memorable, individual, and entertaining. With its attractive artwork and confident pace, it also proves to be an easy read that left me immediately wanting the next issue. I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here.
Rae has a lot of catch up reading to do, but is really glad this one got shuffled to the top of the list.