In Review: Animosity #15

A supporting character's backstory is painfully revealed.

The cover: A disturbing food pyramid comprises this cover by Rafael de Latorre with Marcelo Maiolo. At the bottom are grains, the middle vegetables, the next room up comprises the animal characters of this series including Jesse Mandel. Above them are cookies, butter, and milk. At the very top in a glass container is honey. Everyone is now part of the food chain. A dark reminder that works very well. Having these images upon a light yellow gives this an inappropriate feel, as it should. Overall grade: A+

The story: Signs on telephone poles, windows, and brick walls proclaim “ADOPT ME” and “ADOPTION SITE” as arrows point in direction of the said location. A little girl holding her mother’s hand, smiles and points. “Mommy, look–!” Ten boys, barely older than the girl, stand next to a bus, at the Sun Valley Ministries Adoption Fair, hoping to be adopted. The girl turns away, disappointed that it wasn’t a batch of puppies she was picking from. One of the boys narrates, “We’re never what they’re looking for. We’re never who they want. We’re too old, too damaged — out skin, our stories, too dark –We just wouldn’t be a good fit, you see. But the dogs…the dogs always got adopted.” This scene is set eighteen year earlier to the series’ beginning and Marguerite Bennett makes this young boy’s plight bleaker by moving five further into the past to show that he’s survivor of a sinking ship. The boy is passed around and around, from one house to another, encountering disappointment after disappointment, until he grows bitter against the animals that are always more loved than he. It’s only when he’s passed up to Pennsylvania that there’s a change. And it’s heartbreaking. The narration for this character is incredible, with Page 10 being like a bullet to the head that will have the reader questioning his or her own behavior. Once this boy, who’s grown, gets to New York he’s identifiable as a familiar face from this series and this backstory becomes even more painful. Page 15 features a key event in this series’ history and it’s lost none of its shock. What’s shocking is the final page. Readers have seen his ending from a previous issue, but it still packs one hell of a punch. This story will shake you. Overall grade: A+

The art: Rafael de Latorre is doing an outstanding job on this book’s visuals. He does a great job on the young boy whose story this issue chronicles. Artists sometimes have issues drawing children ten or older, but he’s done a great job on Jesse and this boy is equally well done. The look of anger in the final panel on Page 3 is hallmark of this character as his tale is told. Page 4 is a full-paged splash and it shows a very dramatic scene very well. To see how this incident has effected the child on 5 is horrible, which is exactly how the reader should feel. The look on the pair of older people on this page mirrored my own. The two pages that follow, showing this child’s movement around the country, shows him as invisible to others, which is, sadly, how these children are treated. The visual anger in the final two panels on 7 is sad, honest, deserved, and painful. The panels that comprise the action on 8 and 9 almost got me tear up, but I choked down that tear. Even without the narration, they would touch anyone’s heart. 10 is a full-paged splash that contains more text than imagery, but the images that are on this page encapsulate perfectly what’s stated. The emotion on 11 is, again, so honest. I couldn’t help but smile at the dominate image on 12 for its wicked foreshadowing which is soon to be shown. The actions on 15 are shocking, with the penultimate panel a calling card for a key moment. Even knowing this, I was unprepared for the double-paged splash of 16 and 17. There aren’t many people on the pages, but there don’t need to be for this horror. For those who’ve gotten lost in the story, the final page, another full-paged splash, will be a slap to the face to remember where this character was last shown. I knew what had happened, but de Latorre has successfully gut punched me with this illustration. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The first page shows some subtle color work with the signs that proclaim the adoptions being colored in bright, eye catching colors. The young girl is given a pink jacket to solidify her gender for the reader. I really like how the boys lined up by the yellow bus are a multitude of colors, which is echoed by the lettering above their heads. Notice how the background goes to a faded yellow to match the disappointment of the protagonist’s mood. Rob Schwagger with Dee Cunniffe do a great job on this book. Pages 6 and 7 have the boy’s face always partially or fully shaded, as if he’s incapable of receiving the benefit of light. It’s on 11 where he’s loses this partial shade when something beautiful happens to him. The bright oranges and yellows on 15 intensify the horror, which only increase on the next two pages. The final page masterfully uses two different shades of green to show where this “boy” has ended up, with crimson around him being a violent stain. Seriously, this is well done work. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Marshall Dillon creates this issue’s text. He’s responsible for the signage, dialogue and narration (the same font), scene settings, and a species’ speech. I’m a fan of narration and dialogue being done in two different texts, rather than differed by the balloon or box that contains them and with different colors. Still, what Dillon does with each looks fine. The scene settings are bold to make them stand out on a page, but the signage truly steals the show: posters, banners, and paperwork look really because Dillon’s skills. I also have to give a special shout out to the species that gets a unique font for their dialogue, further separating them from human speakers. Overall grade: A-

The final line: A supporting character’s backstory is painfully revealed. This is a good entrance point for new readers, even with the dramatic conclusion. This shows how some people end up in certain situations and it’s a reality check on human civilization. The visuals enhance the story wonderfully, making each tearful image chip at one’s soul. A great issue. 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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