In Review: Animosity #13

The bees and the humans have their final showdown with devastating results. Recommended.

The cover: What an incredible cover from Rafael de Latorre with Marcelo Maiolo. Sitting on a throne made of honeycomb, Queen Jesse wears a crown and holds a scepter in her right hand. In her left arm she cradles a bee larvae. Her look is Imperially stoic. Before her on the stone floor is Sandor, glaring at the reader with absolute hate. On either side of the queen are two gigantic bees holding thistle spears in their forearms. They are picture perfect and completely horrific due to their size. Coming from the upper left is a golden haze of light, as if the hive is giving its blessing to its new queen. WOW! A wonderful symbolic cover. Overall grade: A+

The story: The Queen Bee was killed last issue. Her followers scream in anguish. Willem, the leader of the men, yells at Jesse, “What’re you gonna do now, you creepy little Pollyanna?!” She begs him to apologize to the bees, which outrages the insects. She tells him that’s the only way that anyone is going to get out of this situation alive. His response is chilling, “The only way we get out of this is if the bees do what we say.” Joining in on the emotional conversation is Mittens, Jesse’s former house cat, who addresses the men about the bees, “We knew they were as smart as us — felt like us — spoke like us — everything, ever since the Wake. We knewand we did it anyway.” As the cat speaks these words Sandor arrives on the scene and attacks a man, who drops a hand grenade. The loyal dog is caught in the blast. And that’s when things really go bad. Marguerite Bennett has been building this conflict up, the bees and the humans are going to have to settle their differences and after the death of the Queen the reader knows it’s going to get brutal. It most certainly does. The first inklings of something horrible coming occurs in the final panel on Page 5 and with a turn of a page things become epic. The bees demonstrate on 7 that they have more than their stingers to fight with and it’s creepy as all hell. There’s a brief reunion before the book goes Biblical in punishment. This action once again separates two characters but brings back another, with extremely shocking results — Page 16 throws this book in a new direction. I was devastated by this revelation, even though it’s being done for, supposedly, good reasons. That’s the best type of conflict in a book — someone doing what they believe is good when it’s obviously not. The bee story reaches its climax, though this is not the end of the winged characters. Overall grade: A

The art: To have some humans in revolt is one thing, but to show a swarm of at least a million bees is something altogether to see. The bees and their wails are shown on the first page, as are the men who brought this conflict to a head. Artist Rafael de Latorre does a great job with the visuals, bringing the story to life excellently. A turn of the page shows Sandor in action, Jesse pleading, and Willem as an absolute monster. The bees are also shown, with de Latorre bringing the reader closer to them at the bottom of the second page, reminding the reader of what’s comprising the massive swarm. The focus is completely on Sandor on Page 4 and he’s only a panel away from death as each illustration progresses to the next. The third panel on 5 was like a gut punch. The final panel on this page teases something massive, but simply cannot prepare the reader for the staggering result on the full-paged splash of 6. As if this wasn’t a frightening enough image, look at what the bees bare on 7, ending with a close-up of a human’s eye which shows what’s coming at him is a nightmare come true. There’s a double-paged splash of a Biblical nature that sets the characters in all new peril. Dealing with this element is always difficult for illustrators, but de Latorre does an outstanding job on it. Page 16 is the jaw dropper of the book, with a character doing something that’s wrong on so many levels. The four pages that follow this are superior as a character begins a quest. The reactions from other characters on 21 increases the emotion of the moment, though note how the character at the bottom doesn’t react. This says much about this character in ignoring the sound. This book looks fantastic. Overall grade: A

The colors: Set at night, Rob Schwager makes every element of the art clearly scene by the reader, yet he maintains a flawless dark environment. The first panel is a standout for the yellow throng that comprises the swarm of bees. Additionally the bees’ dialogue is in a warped shaped balloon that’s surrounded in an equally warped yellow border. Their speech instantly reminds the reader of honey and this is further emphasized with the swarm’s scream of anguish. I love the falling white raindrops in this climax, adding to the uncomfortable nature of this story. Note how the lights on the men’s vehicles and the light from their torches is given a terrific glow, magnified by the rain. When Jesse realizes that her plans are ruined, Schwager colors her in blues to highlight her emotional state. Sandor’s scenes, on the other hand, are colored in harsh oranges and reds to increase the violence he’s involved with. Blues dominate starting on 11 and they look terrific. Take note again at the last panel on 15 how Schwager is using colors to tease the surprise on 16. The final sound of the book is in a brutal red and it’s especially haunting due to the color. Overall grade: A

The letters: As stated in the color review, the bees’ dialogue is an unusually shaped balloon that gives the bees a very alien feel which is absolute essential in this tale. Their font is also slightly different from the other creatures’ speech, further separating them from the other species. Marshall Dillon also creates scene settings on this book, yells, whispers, sounds, screams, a growl, and a howl. It’s impressive to look at all the different yells and screams in this issue. There’s a wide variety of each and because of the way each is designed, the reader can easily tell the intensity of each utterance. I really like the screams on 6 and the sounds used for the Biblical disaster. Overall grade: A

The final line: The bees and the humans have their final showdown with devastating results. Young Jesse is caught in the middle, while Sandor does his best to protect her. These characters are engaging and ever changing, one moment getting one’s sympathies and the next casting incredible doubt on their natures. The visuals bring the animal world to life in beautiful and terrifying ways. Animosity is a roller coaster of a read that can’t be missed. Recommended. 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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