In Review: Animosity #11

Questions are posed, some are answered, and then things explode. A jewel of a comic.

The cover: The massive swarm of intelligent bees form itself into a face so that it may speak with the tiny Jesse and Sandor. A creepy illustration from Rafael de Latorre made more frightening by the intense coloring of Marcelo Maiolo — the bright red background gives the gigantic golden face a sinister tone. Having the two heroes so small against this assemblage also makes the frontpiece fierce. Overall grade: A 

The story: Backstory is given to the trio of bees that have led Jesse and her friends. Meadowlark, Blue Thistle, and Nettle’s Kiss explain how life was good before man looted them of their hive’s honey. Thankfully the three are present when Jesse is confronted by the stolen bees that they’ve come to rescue. This segment of the colony is upset with what’s been done with them and they doubt they can trust the little girl. They are convinced otherwise by the three that accompany her and the young girl’s words. Jesse tells Thistle to go out of the barn and find Kyle and Sandor to tell them they’ve found the missing insects. The bee obliges and that’s when the men that run the camp open the barn doors, carrying torches and gas cans. They indiscriminately torch the insects. Jesse sees that Kyle has been captured and then witnesses something horrific that sets the tone for the rest of the issue. Writer Marguerite Bennett tackles several issues smartly in this book: what constitutes life, do some folks just have to suffer, and what constitutes evil? To do so with talking animals would make Orwell proud. Jesse’s words carry the most weight this issue and she poses questions the reader will have, with the best being panel six on Page 15 — this is an outstanding question that takes this new world to the next level. Even more haunting is the answer to where all the women have gone. There’s an argument to be had for how this farm is able to run itself without any contributions from women; look at what’s been done to survive. If one feels this issue does nothing but pose questions, don’t worry, Page 16 begins an action sequence that leads to an excellent cliffhanger. I can’t help but think Jesse made a mistake by carrying something. Animosity’s story always entertains. Overall grade: A

The art: The layout for the first page is a slick way by Rafael de Latorre to bring the reader into the history of the bees. Six hexagons, the shape of bees’ honeycombs are the panels that contain the bees’ past. Surrounded by black, these panels draw the reader in closer to the images and, therefore, closer into the story from the get go. The second page is a full-paged splash that shows Jesse confronting the missing, angry insects. Jesse’s big eyes continue to create instant sympathy from the reader. The horror that begins on Page 4 is shocking, though the smallest gesture on 5 is the harshest of the entire issue. Having this followed with a slight smile is monstrous. Sandor, Benjamin, and Potter’s mission is wonderfully illustrated, looking absolutely believable considering two characters don’t have hands to move things easily. Kyle and Jesse’s interrogations are radically different and de Latorre illustrates them very differently: Kyle is shown in tight profile or from an angle looking down upon him, as if he was being judged (and he is), while Jesse is shown from an even, straight level to the reader, giving her a more equal footing with her handlers. When the action sequence begins, Page 17 starts with a fantastic explosive panel, which is then pulled up close to one person’s reaction, to show the intensity of the blast. The chaos of this act is magnified by the downpour that’s begun outside that the characters must make their way through. When two individuals are reunited in an interior structure on 19 the rain continues outside, but this one page pause in the storm suggests that their necessity to work together is an act of providence. The issue ends with a cliffhanger of a surprising vehicle launching into the rain, surrounded by thousands of individuals. It’s exciting and amazing looking. That sums up de Latorre’s art: exciting and amazing. Overall grade: A

The colors: Whenever a bee speaks, its dialogue is very tiny and the balloon that contains it is wavy, simulating the high frequency of the insect’s speech. These dialogue balloons sit atop a second wavy balloon that’s colored a bright yellow. This is an outstanding touch by Rob Schwager to remind the reader that these text pieces are spoken by the bees. The first page uses colors to show the life of bees: a warm green for birth, a heavenly blue for sky, golden yellows for the hive, black for the death of the hive, and a harsh orange for the damage man has brought. The colors on this page instantly create a sympathy for the tiny insects. The interior of the barn is a cool blue for night when Jesse speaks with the bees, while the creatures are a  swirl of orange and yellow. The humans’ arrival on 5 echoes back to the first page’s oranges for the horror of humanity upon the insects. Notice how Schwager uses bright reds when the insects are killed. The background colors in Kyle’s interrogation are orange or a dead brown and Jesse’s are mustard, a less harsh color than those of Kyle’s. Additionally, Jesse’s coat and hair make her the only source of life on her pages, with Kyle blending in with his foes. Colors increase this story’s tone tremendously. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Marshall Dillon continues to dazzle with the tiny and appropriate font for the bees that’s barely readable, but makes each of their utterances so important. He also creates scene settings, normal dialogue, yells, sounds, and distant dialogue. The sounds on this book are many and each creates a dramatic shudder, with CRNCH on Page 5 perfectly horrific. The distant dialogue also deserves praise. A few characters are speaking as they leave a location and their dialogue can still be heard by one of the leads. This is a necessary visual for the reader to show that those in the distance are too caught up in their own issues to keep track of one of their captives. This occurs in only one panel, but it’s a neat visual touch done with the lettering. Overall grade: A

The final line: A must-read that creates wonders and thrills that will leave the reader buzzing in joy. Questions are posed, some are answered, and then things explode. A jewel of a comic. Overall grade: A

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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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