In Review: Animosity #10

Tension is on every page as the search for a captured queen bee continues.

The cover: Jesse hangs within a massive honeycomb. She’s recently been placed there since the cells haven’t begun to be constructed around her. Making his ominous illustration horrific is that there is a human skull to her left and a large animal skull to her right. Evidently the bees are devouring the creatures that they catch. This doesn’t look good for Jesse. Created by Rafael de Latorre with Marcelo Maiolo on colors, this is a great illustration that shows how strong one of the smallest members of the animal kingdom can bring much larger beasts to their knees. Overall grade: A

The story: A four page flashback begins this issue with the Mandel family having dinner four years before The Wake. Shannon asks Oscar how his day went at the college, while daughter Jesse listens attentively. Mom is having a glass of wine with her meal as her husband relates an event with his boss. The tale is stopped when Oscar notices puppy Sandor, whom the family has had for two weeks, is at the table. He tells his daughter, “…you know no doggies at the dinner table–” Jesse reaches down to scratch the happy puppy’s head. “He isn’t begging! He just likes to be close to us! I’m his mom, remember?” Marguerite Bennett then moves the story forward a year, as Shannon pours herself a glass of wine and reads the notice that a package she mailed has been returned. Only Sandor is present and she says, “…it never ends, does it?” A year later, another glass of wine and Shannon reads Jesse’s behavior report from school. “Oh, Sandor, it…it never ends.” Another year later, another glass of wine, she looks in a photo album, but says nothing. She takes her glass of wine into the bathroom and shuts the dog out. He scratches at the door and enters, shocked to see something in the shower. This isn’t the only trip to the past in this issue. Though these pages establish backstory for Jesse’s family, they also are key to how Mittens the cat knows Jesse and Sandor. The story in the present is extremely tense, Jesse and her group of friends are searching for the queen of a hive of bees who are holding two of their group as hostages until their matriarch is returned. Jesse gets another to go undercover with her into a group of survivors they’ve encountered. Jesse is frighteningly in control of the situation with her choices. This co-op is teased to have much going on, though nothing is seen until the final page. A creepy issue with some painful, though welcome, backstory. Overall grade: A+ 

The art: Rafael de Latorre is the artist of the book and this looks great. The second and third pages show the progression of time for three years and how Shannon’s life isn’t changing. The focus on the wine glass is an instant warning sign that all is not right in her life. Having Sandor in the last panel of each year shows how he’s aware of her distress. The pages in the past that follow this show the dog to be loyal to her, even if she’s not his “mom.” For sequences in the present, de Latorre creates some excellent tension with where he puts focus. Look how he pulls in closer on the third panel of Page 6 to show that Mittens isn’t sure about what is said to Jesse. This makes the feline to be a questionable character. The bottom panel on the page shows a pair of characters just below their eye lines, making the words being said extremely conspiratorial. When this pair again has a secretive conversation, their faces are fully shown after their goal is stated on 8. Having Jesse clutch onto Kyle throughout his introduction to the co-op is a great way to physically reinforce her bond to with the man. Her big eyes make her incredibly sympathetic. However, the fifth panel on 10 shows her to be incredibly smart. When she and Kyle are alone in their room de Latrorre makes their conversation uneasy, with both having worried looks. With the return of a trio of small guides, Jesse becomes the leader and her determination is terrific, especially with how focused she looks. The final page is a full-paged splash that will leave a reader talking to the book: “You better get out of there!” Overall grade: A

The colors: The scenes in the past are very bright, because they are set before The Wake and are set during the day, while those in the present have dark, sinister colors because the time is night and this new group is an unknown factor. Rob Schwager gets to show off the best of both worlds in this book and he succeeds. The neutral, bland colors that make up the walls of the Mandel apartment are perfect because they focus the reader on the green wine bottle and its red contents. I really like how Schwager uses dark blues to create a night sky, rather than a black, which would darken the images too much. Inside their room for the evening, Jesse and Kyle’s flesh takes on a gray color, making them wraith-like. The orange and brown backgrounds behind them give their conversation a simmering feel. The final page is too dark, however. This is the reveal that the issue has been building toward and it’s incredibly difficult to make out any details in quadrant two of the visual because it’s so dark. Lighter coloring would have helped. The rest of the book looks terrific. Overall grade: A

The letters: Marshall Dillon creates scene settings, dialogue, whispers, the tiny voices of the bees, sounds, and worried barks. The scene settings look great. They don’t have the computer look of most fonts, instead looking as if they were drawn by hand. They’re also rounded, which gives them, and the book, a more human feel. The whispers in this book are great; small enough to be visually different from dialogue, yet large enough to still be easily read. The voices of the bees are difficult to read, but any reader can accept this because they’re so small. The sounds are also very cool, with Sandor getting the bulk of them this issue. I’m liking what Dillon is doing. Overall grade: A

The final line: Tension is on every page as the search for a captured queen bee continues. Adding to the stress are several flashbacks to Jesse’s mother. The visuals are aces, with close-ups and dark colors making every piece of text important. The conclusion will leave readers buzzing online until the next installment appears. A creepy read. Overall grade: A

To order a digital copy go to http://aftershockcomics.com/on-sale-october-2017/

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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