In Review: Animosity #17

A tremendous truth is told and Jesse confronts the headmistress.

The cover: Sandor and the other animals are waging war upon the headmistress and the other humans, but there’s a twist: all the characters are armed, and armored, in medieval items. All the animals are wearing helmets, many with spikes, save the bald eagle, which has a mace in its talons. The female antagonist holds a spear in hands, as do all the humans, and she has a fur coat on, which would have her fitting in on Game of Thrones quite well. Snow is falling on this moment before the sides come into contact, making it a serene scene. Neat cover from Rafael de Latorre and Marcelo Maiola that represents the battle that’s coming in this series. Overall grade: A-

The story: Marguerite Bennett wastes no time in picking up this issue where the previous ended: Sandor has found Kyle and the dog is not happy. Kyle tells the dog with his dying breath, “I hear…birds…talking…ants…in the grass…come…check if I’m dead yet…All talk about city…walled city…human paradise…making more humans…any means…necessary…” For what he’s told him, Sandor says he’ll kill Kyle quickly. Kyle reveals to the angry canine that he took Jesse away from the pooch to protect her from the animal. Sandor asks why and a major reveal is given on Page 5. Seriously, this is a major revelation. This will change the way the reader thinks of a character, and this change of opinion will only crease tenfold by the action on Page 8. This reveal is enough for me to dig up the previous issues of this series and look to see if this was teased previously. Knowing how well Bennett writes, I’m sure it was. Meanwhile in the Girls’ Dormitory in the Walled City, Jesse is using her walkie talkie to contact Kyle and is discovered. Page 12 has her and some other girls make a decision. The reveal on 15 is great, but expected because the reader needs to have this conflict explicitly stated for the reader, with both sides making their justifications known. That said, I was not expecting what occurred on 16 and had the situation spiraling out of control. There’s a tease of what’s to come next issue on Page 18, but it’s on 19 and 20 that will have fans cheering. One character’s story ends as another takes a violent turn. Bennett never disappoints. Overall grade: A+

The art: This issue has Ornella Savarese take the reigns as artist and she does a superb job. The opening page’s visuals flawlessly communicate to the reader who the characters are, what the position of each is, and what emotion each has. Sandor’s positioning throughout this opening sequence is fantastic. I love the first panel on Page 3, which contains a lot of threat. The change in Kyle’s demeanor at the bottom of the same page shows he’s got enough fire in him for a final outburst. The layout of Pages 4 and 5 has the reader reading across both pages for a long three column reading experience; this draws out the tension of what’s being stated and really makes the last three panels a gut punch. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing in that final panel, yet there it is. I appreciated that Savarese had the action occurring partially off panel so that the reader didn’t have to see the graphic violence, but in doing so the reader uses their imagination for what’s going on and that’s always worse than what could be shown. The build up on 7 is outstanding, with both characters stunning. Page 8 is a full-paged splash and it’s shocking. Though telegraphed from the first page, this has a tremendous amount of punch and, again, I’m appreciative for it being incompletely shown in silhouette. Jesse is a heart breaker throughout the issue, with her in tears as she makes contact with someone and is then discovered. Her passion as she speaks to her peers clearly comes through on 12. Action sequences can be difficult to follow in a comic book if the artist has to have more than two characters fighting. There are several in the closing pages but Savarese makes the action incredibly easy to follow and incredibly thrilling. The last page is also a full-paged splash and it’s the perfect image to leave readers on the edge of their seats screaming for more. Anytime Savarese wants to return to this series I’d be happy. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Rob Schwager’s colors complete the visuals perfectly. The opening page is instantly identifiable as night due to the dark blues, but, thankfully, they’re not so dark as to have the characters lost in the evening. The splatter of red on Kyle’s chest and leg show him to be wounded. At the bottom of the second page Schwager employs violet to highlight who’s been giving him information and whom it is about. This choice of a dark color continues to reinforce the time this moment takes place and highlights that what’s in the color is not presently occurring. Reds begin to wrap around character’s dialogue to emphasize the heat with which they’re spoken. Notice in the third to last panel on Page 5 how the backgrounds begin to change color for a character, becoming an orange to highlight the emotion of character — neat way to show colors assisting a character’s change. These oranges have yellows and red added to them on 7, with reds dominating on 8. Jesse’s brown eyes really pop off the page, not only for them being so large due to Savarese’s artwork, but from the coloring; her face is so pale they instantly catch the reader’s attention. Notice the subtle colors that are in the first panel that stretches atop 14 and 15: the protagonists are in a lighter setting than the antagonists — the colors tell the reader who the heroes are. When the action occurs the backgrounds go yellow and orange to increase the visuals’ power. I also have to give a shout out to Schwager for the excellent job on Jesse’s hair with her highlights excellent. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Rounding out this issue of outstanding talent is letterer Marshall Dillon who creates weakened speech, scene settings, yells, a vulture’s speech, a handwritten note, and distant speech. From the first page the reader can discern that Kyle is not well due to the size of the font in his speech and the balloons that contain it. I really liked that when Kyle was narrating an incident from the past the balloon that contained it got a wavering line, giving it an almost manic delivery. The sound on 8 is horrible perfection. Though only on one page, it was neat to see that one of the animals, the only bird that speaks, has its own font to separate it from the others. A nice touch. The handwritten note looks as though it was written by the person that created it, giving it a believable tone. The distant dialogue that ends 11 is neat because the reader knows something is being said, but due to the point of view, it cannot be understood. Clever work from Dillon. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A tremendous truth is told and Jesse confronts the headmistress. The story is tremendously rewarding for the payoffs for the character developments and where the arc of the story is now heading. The visuals are outstanding for what is shown, as well as not, with outstanding colors and lettering. Every element of this issue is outstanding. The fuse is lit with this issue and the boom looks to be next 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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