In Review: Animosity #8

A departure from the dangers of the new world, focusing on the animals' search for meaning in their lives.

The cover: Jesse and Sandor are in silhouette, colored red on a black background. That would be sinister enough, with the colors making his appear disquieting, but this becomes truly creepy due to each having targets on them, with some bullet holes apparent. This shows that someone has been practicing targeting the pair. A simple, yet highly effective cover from Rafael de Latorre with Marcelo Maiolo. Overall grade: A

The story: Marguerite Bennett has created a very unusual chapter for her saga titled “Kingdom of God.” This is a very quiet story compared to previous issues. Now that the animals, including Jesse and Sandor, have arrived in Hourglass Falls they have a moment to relax. Sandor brings some books to Jesse and she tells him that she’s learned his secret, because Kyle told her. Before she speak further, and reveal to the reader what this secret is, the call for dinner is called and they join the others. Once there they discuss the three great questions: “Where’d you come from, where are you going, and what do you think caused the Wake?” Sandor doesn’t care what caused the Wake since it won’t help him and Jesse get to California. Some believe it was aliens, others magic, and still others God. This leads to the animals discussing where they fit into the scheme of things religiously. Do they have souls? Do they go to Heaven? What does God think of them? What does each religion say of animals? This is a wonderful departure from what’s come before and an absolutely necessary conversation for the animals to consider. What do they believe in? What do they believe happens after they die? Comics rarely address these questions and this leads to some engaging reading. The animals’ conversation is halted by the return of an earlier character who brought trouble to the group. A flashback reveals why this character feels the way he does, which justifies all that he’s done, leading to possible reconciliation with the group from an unlikely source. Pages 16 and 17 gave me goosebumps on the first read and continue to do so as I look at them again to write this review. Bennett could have ended her tale here and it would have been completely satisfying, but she doesn’t. Instead, Jesse and Sandor have the final three pages to themselves, with the secret revealed and it’s just as moving. Wow. Overall grade: A 

The art: A quiet story could provide trouble for an artist. There are no explosions, spaceships, or heroes in spandex. Instead, this issue requires its artist to be able to communicate emotion in silence or with a subtle glance from a character. Rafael de Latorre’s illustrations beautifully do this and more. The final two panels of the first page show the sadness of both characters, which communicates so much with very little text. Look at the third and fourth panels on the next page, with the visuals showing how Jesse is done with Sandor. Pages 2 – 10 have the animals sitting in a clearing and talking with each other. De Latorre moves the point of view around excellently, giving the animals some outstanding emotions: for example, look at the smile in the fifth panel on 3 and the worried conspiratorial exchange in the sixth. There’s a one panel flashback that appears on the fourth page and the point of view sells what’s being said. In the discussion of souls in animals, what possible image could possible be used to symbolize it? Without spoiling it, de Latorre creates the perfect image. The page that follows has a large panel that introduces the concept of death. It’s not the expected image of the Grim Reaper, but more in line with religious text. Page 8 has a spectacular layout: a circular panel in the upper left shows the reader the speaker and then expands into several round panels, like ripples in a pond, showcasing different religions and stating their beliefs. It’s a great layout and visually shows the similarities between faiths. Page 10 starts with some hard talk and hard faces until the antagonist arrives. This is followed by his flashback, culminating with a painful full-page splash on 14. 16 and 17 are meant to be read straight across, from one page to the other, creating a flow that mirrors the text. The gesture made at the bottom of those pages is perfection. Overall grade: A

The colors: With electricity nonexistent at the falls, Rob Schwager gets to use colors to show where the light sources are, such as when Sandor brings Jesse some books. When the pair go to eat, the night sky is a beautiful shade of blue, giving the setting, and the story, a calming tone. The colors used for the large panel on Page 4 are cold, making what’s said even stronger. This is followed by a large panel on the next page, where several different colors are used to create a cosmic sense of magic and wonder. The harshest colors are used for the backgrounds on 6; they certainly will make any reader uncomfortable. The first flashback occurs on the page that follows. For this, and other flashbacks, the colors are soft, suggesting a better and distant past. The bleakest colors are to be found on 14, increasing the intensity of the moment. Notice how the antagonist’s outbursts after this page have an outline in red around his dialogue balloons, which provide a visual clue to the reader for the character’s emotions. The softest colors are to be found on 16 and 17 and they complete the story beautifully. Overall grade: A

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, distant conversations and whispers (the same font), and yells are created by Marshall Dillon. There’s no need for sounds, as the story is comprised of conversations rather than physical conflicts, and even when someone yells, their speech is placed in italics to show emphasis in their speech. There’s a lot of dialogue in this issue and Dillon makes it and places it so that it doesn’t cover any important elements in the visuals. Overall grade: A

The final line: A departure from the dangers of the new world, focusing on the animals’ search for meaning in their lives. Sandor’s secret is revealed and Jesse beautifully shares what it means to her. This comic continues to go where other books can’t or won’t. Outstanding. Overall grade: A

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

To see the cover visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

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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