In Review: Animosity: Evolution #1

A great story that needed better visuals.

The cover: Atop several skyscrapers in San Francisco at night, a gigantic Wintermute, the leader of the “Brave New World” of the city, looks down at the reader, her new cybernetic eye and leg standing out against her dark hair. She’s got a full moon behind her, giving her an ominous look. Great image and tease of things to come as the world continues to evolve after The Wake. Neat Regular cover from Eric Gapstur with Rob Schwager providing colors. Very nice. The Variant cover is by Mike Rooth and features several cybernetically enhanced animals: an owl, rhino, monkey, bear, rabbit, bat, giraffe, cat, and ram. I thought this would be a cover that I would find cool, but it makes me feel a little disturbed. Even on the giraffe, this doesn’t look right. This is how I want the covers to make me feel for this series, disturbed. Overall grades: Regular B+ and Variant A-

The story: Picking up from Animosity: The Rise, this story begins with a two page summary of how The Wake caused all animal life, including insects, to gain consciousness and learn to speak. An uprising began around the world, with animals taking revenge on humans or claiming their pieces of the planet. In San Francisco, leader Wintermute is trying to have animals and humans co-exist, but it’s not going easily. One month after The Wake, Adam North and Wintermute stand on a pier at night witnessing the death of mayflies. Their deaths are lesson to how long a lifetime is. The next day animals are shown around the city working, farming, searching for medicine, fixing machines, and receiving orders. This is an excellent introduction to this new world from writer Marguerite Bennett, showing how everyone functions and how there is not universal love for what’s being done. 11 introduces a forgotten threat, which is handled in a surprising manner. Page 14 will be a shocker to new readers, as it shows the most deadly animals of the series. The stunner is 17, which has an action occur that no one will see coming, especially the characters. The final page is spoiled by the Regular cover, but it still holds a lot of power, considering how that individual is looking at herself. This was a good beginning. Overall grade: A

The art: Eric Gapstur is the book’s artist and he does an okay job. Pages 1 and 2 (I’m starting the numbering based on where the art begins, as the first page is solely the book’s title) are a double-paged splash showing several insects done in a kaleidoscope pattern. It was difficult to make out the art due to the coloring and the background looking like a photo insertion. The next two pages introduce the book’s leads, but they look too cartoony for me. Wintermute is shown from the same side on both pages and on 7, which had me worried that Gapstur was only going to draw this character from this angle. That didn’t happen, thankfully, but it made me look really closely at this individual whenever she appeared. I did like the nice touch of Adam having frayed cuffs on his jacket, showing that it’s seen some wear. Pages 5 and 6 starts with a panel that takes up the top half of both pages. The characters are just too sketchy; they are shapes of characters and not complete drawings of them. This is especially true of the birds. The images are done like this too often. The underwater sequences do look good, but back on land, things get sketchy again. The last three pages are the best of the book: the reader is pulled in close to the characters and there aren’t as many individuals as there were on previous pages. The story is communicated well enough by the art, but when looked at closely, it’s lacking. Overall grade: C

The colors: I do like the colors on this book by Rob Schwager. The opening pair of pages is the misfire of the book, with the colors too dark on some of the insects and the dark background making it difficult to make out the images. Things improve on the next two pages with blues and violets being smartly used to create the night. The colors are bold once the story shifts to the day, though they are a bit washed out, with only parrots and trees having bright hues. Yellows and reds dominate the action sequence in the middle of the book, making those panels intense. The final page has some good lighting effects on the character. A solid job. Overall grade: B+

The letters: Marshall Dillon creates dialogue and narration (the same font), scene settings, whispers, a bear’s speech, yells, aquatic creatures’ speech, and sounds. All of Dillon’s text is easily read, with the whispers and the bear’s speech standing out for being so unique. I wish that the dialogue and opening narration had been a different font, as it appears that one of the characters is telling the reader that information. Still, I’m liking what he’s doing. Overall grade: A-

The final line: A great story that needed better visuals. I’ll continue to follow this because I love the characters and universe, but I’m dreading the artwork. If one is looking for a world turned upside down, this is for you. Overall grade: B

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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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