In Review: Animosity #12

If you aren't reading Animosity, you're missing out on something wondrous.

The cover: A golden yellow bees’ honeycomb sits on a white background. It would be a perfectly normal thing for one to see, were it not for the blood dripping down the right side and the slight splatter of red fluid around it. Subtle and disturbing. This cover by Rafael de Latorre with Marcelo Maiolo is a winner. Overall grade: A

The story: Sandor has set the gasoline reservoir for the Old Gold Commune aflame and it explodes. Its residents watch stunned. “Gas enough to last us for years on our own…and we can only watch…and let it burn.” Sandor makes it back to his allies who are relieved to see he hasn’t become a crispy critter. Sandor tells them they need to find Jesse and get the Queen back to the hive so they can trade them for Pal and Bethesda. Unfortunately, in the distance, even through the rain, they can see the red lights of the commune’s denizens looking for them. Writer Marguerite Bennett doesn’t let up with the tension as the tractor that Kyle stole to escape the facility and rescue Jesse, who has her former pet Mittens with her, speeds along in the rain. They come upon a massive and majestic elk in the road, causing Kyle to swerve and they hit a tree. Jesse is okay, but Kyle has hurt his leg. Mittens, one of the commune, runs off to alert the other residents of this pair’s location. As if it was even possible, Bennett complicates things further with the arrival of some characters on Page 6. This leads to some off panel gunshots that insinuate the death of a long time character. Jesse returns to an important location on 8 and two reunions. I was happy to see the characters on 11 and gasped at the reveal on 12 and 13. Following this are two pages that show how some characters have decided to take some drastic actions. Their actions are completely reasonable for themselves, but horrific who’s not of their species. As things continue to get even more foreboding, Bennett uses Pages 16 and 17 to have two other characters reunite with some backstory revealed, but much left hidden. There’s plenty of insinuation that one character is not to be trusted. The penultimate page begins with war, but ends on a shocking cliffhanger. Wow, was this good! Overall grade: A+

The art: When an artist is able to create a downpour but allow the characters in the story to be clearly seen I’m always impressed. Rafael de Latorre creates sensational rain for the first nine pages, making the proceedings visually dire. The explosion that begins the issue is appropriately massive and the reactions from the commune’s citizens are great. Sandor’s return to his allies has the dutiful dog focused on the mission and he shows this is the serious look on his face, even while his friends look concerned. Page 3 reintroduces Jesse and Kyle, with Mittens in tow, barreling through the woods. I love that de Latorre has three of the panels in the shape of a honeycomb’s cell, though the bees themselves are never brought up; a slick way to reminder the reader who’s responsible for their current situation. The crash looks great, but is overshadowed by the anger on Mitten’s face and the pain that Kyle’s enduring. The go-to image on this series that always hits hard is Jesse in distress, and de Latorre gets several panels to do so, beginning at the bottom of 7. The second panel on 11 melted my heart and made me finally exhale after two months. The double-paged splash on 12 and 13 is a wonder. Some of the illustration is not crystal clear, but it doesn’t have to be for human eyes, because the individuals that inhabit this location obviously know what’s what. The electric sparks at the top of both pages foreshadow the dire revelations that the next pages hold. Seeing the characters standing in a manner that they’re not known for is unsettling, and this feeling grows when they’re shown holding objects. The penultimate panel on 15 will leave the reader with the knowledge that this story will not end well. Pages 16 and 17 have some terrific back and forth between two characters with each looking as though they would kill the other if they could. This tense scene gives way to Jesse’s story and violent actions beget violent actions, with the top panel on 20 being shocking. Jesse’s face in the final panel is perfection. de Latorre is the perfect artist for this book. Overall grade: A+ 

The colors: The book begins with an explosion of yellow and gold against the blue background of night that’s an instant eye catcher. The white streaks of rain against the blue background are a constant reminder to the reader of the deluge. The lights of the distant commune commandos appear as crimson that cut across the blues. When Kyle encounters the elk in the road the coloring gives it a very believable feel, with even the rain illuminated by the vehicle’s lights. When the the bees speak their dialogue is surrounded by a yellow that instantly places reader within their honey. The major setting for Jesse is orange and yellow, with the double-paged splash of 12 and 13 gold, green blue, and yellow — it’s absolutely beautiful because of Rob Schwager’s colors. The first panel on final page has its action magnified because of the intense red it’s given, which accentuates the horror and shock of what’s occurred. The colors of Jesse’s eyes in the final panel give some excellent foreshadowing that the next page teases. Simply beautiful work. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Marshall Dillon is responsible for the book’s letters, which includes scene settings, sounds, yells, dialogue, whispers, and the bees’ dialogue. The sounds are great, with the final TWIP being small, yet jarring. It’s the bees’ dialogue that again steals the show for Dillon. It’s wispy and small, but grows tremendously when a new setting is encountered. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This is the best book of the week and gets my highest possible recommendation. Mammals don’t just have consciousness, bees do too and heaven help those that stand in their way. The story is riveting and the visuals outstanding. If you aren’t reading Animosity, you’re missing out on something wondrous. 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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