In Review: Animosity #4

Making a protagonist have questionable motivations is an incredible way to put another spin on this excellent series.

The covers: There are three different versions of the cover that I could find online. The first is the Regular cover by interior artist Rafael de Latorre and colorist Marcelo Maiolo. It suits this story titled “Traps” well. Sandor, Jesse, a man, and a buffalo are walking through a giant bear trap. The coloring ups this suspenseful image with it’s blood red background. A good frontpiece. Online I was able to find two versions of a cover by Kyle Strahm. The image is of a zebra on a purple background. Its lips are covered in blood, which is splattered healthily on the ground alongside a safari helmet, where a few human fingers can be seen protruding. It’s graphic as all hell and really disturbing because no one expects to see a zebra in this situation. There’s a black and white cover that features the same image, though only the blood is colored. I can’t decide which cover is more disturbing, though I do like both. Overall grades: All A

The story: Marguerite Bennett begins this very intense issue with a four page flashback of Jesse’s first night with Sandor. There’s some interesting visual clues that Jesse is definitely an animal person, but the middle of these four pages focus on a conversation between her parents. There’s some nice discussion between her parents about love, but it’s not the typical conversation that most couples have. Why this conversation is occurring is revealed and this leads to some great character development. The dialogue in the final panel on Page 4 is a gut punch if one has been reading this series and Bennett doesn’t let it go by having two characters intrude on the parents’ moment. Bennett is a master at transitions and between Pages 4 and 5 show this wonderfully as the flashback ends and the present action begins. Both situations and settings are in complete opposition and that makes the text all the more spectacular. The present has a situation spin wildly out of control, with Sandor not entering the issue until something traumatic happens. Jesse is in some peril in the issue, but shows she doesn’t need to rely on her BFFK9 to get to safety. The title of this issue comes into play in the opening salvo, so to speak, but really springs to life on Pages 13 – 17, where two characters have a tremendous battle. The accusations from the antagonist haunted me when I finished this issue because the protagonist never addressed them. This has me now questioning one of the protagonist’s motivations and these increased with the text of the final three pages. I love that Bennett has me second guessing a hero, sowing the seeds for a possible major revelation in a later issue. Only four issues in and Bennett is throwing a huge monkey wrench into the characters’ relationship! Those concerns aside, that’s one heck of an exit for the protagonists by the issue’s end! Overall grade: A+

The art: Any reader could assume by the first four pages that this will be a family drama. Rafael de Latorre shows the family dynamics on the first page: Jesse is in panel one, her father joins her in the third, and her father and mother make up the last panel. This shows, before she speaks, how the mother feels separated from Jesse. The second and third pages show the close relationship of Jesse’s parents; if one were to avoid the text (but why would you do that?), the visuals would show the distraught nature of one of the parents and how much they care for each other. This closeness continues onto the fourth page and it ends in the happiest image and brilliantly sets up the brutal change that occurs on 5, with the second panel being frightening, the third sad, and the final panel disturbing with two characters wearing items that they should never be sporting. The violence that occurs on 7 – 9 grows more shocking as the animals employ weapons that are completely foreign to them, but given the nature of what the Wake is, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be using them. The violence of 9 could have been comedic in the wrong hands, but de Latoree makes the second panel so shocking and the reaction in the third panel so relatable to the reader, it’s impossible not to emphasize with that character. Page 11 is set up in six squares which increases the claustrophobia of the situation nicely. However, it’s the battle on 13 – 17 that the readers will remember for its action and shocking conclusion. More please. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Rob Schwager is an excellent match for de Latorre’s visuals. The first four pages uses light colors to keep the mood grounded, warm, and loving. However, look on how the fourth page the boarders are no longer white, but have turned gray and slowly go to black. Not only does this represent the hour of the events, but it foreshadows the impending doom for this family. The work on the animals on Page 5 is great and the colors used for the characters’ backgrounds symbolize their states: yellow for anger and lime green for illness. The explosion on 9 is made realistic by its yellow and oranges. And with the action now deadly, the borders again go black to emphasize the dire situation for the characters. Schwager is aces on this. Overall grade: A+

The letters: The talented Marshall Dillon provides scene settings, dialogue, yells, sounds, whispers, broadcasts, an animal call, and the “To Be Continued…” Dillon has proven himself an excellent letterer on other books and he continues to show his excellence on this book. His whispers on this are good, as are the sounds and yells, but it’s the call on the penultimate page that really caught my eye. How would one animal call another animal, especially in a very different environment? Now readers know. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Making a protagonist have questionable motivations is an incredible way to put another spin on this excellent series. Woof!–This is good and very 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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