In Review: Animosity: Evolution #2

This is the best book of the week. Highest possible recommendation.

The cover: Adam North is in a vast cave and looks forward at the colony of flying bats coming at him. Their numbers are immeasurable, but what can be discerned besides their mass is that they are in the formation of a massive skull. Creepy cover by interior artist Eric Gapstur with interior colorist Rob Schwager. That shape in those colors is a sure eye catcher against other comics on the stands. Overall grade: A 

The story: This may be the best story in the short history of Animosity comics. Marguerite Bennett focuses on four new characters rather than continue to follow Adam North with the animal leaders of San Francisco. The first page is composed of nine equal sized black panels, filled only with dialogue that reveals that the unseen characters deciding to join the beasts in the city by the sea. They fire off a canon filled with fireworks which startles a caravan of animals and people on a highway. Human Gwen raises her rifle at a small hole in the ground and four kangaroo rats appear. They’re allowed to join, jumping in the back of flatbed that contains a female human child under ten, a cow, a lizard, a turtle, a bat, and a spider. They tell the cow their names, Augusta, Julia, Octavia, and Septicemia. The rest of the book follows their acclimation to their new lives, showing how other animals are eager to make friends, what their jobs are for this new society, and who should not be trusted. Huge shout out to Bennett for the name of the law office which made my fanboy heart sing. Highlights in the sisters’ tale include the hospital, the landfill, the multi-rodent habitat, and Pages 13 – 20, which had me screaming at the sisters. This story is the perfect entry point for new readers, as no other earlier issues are required to enjoy, but followers of this series will be rewarded by seeing some themes and warnings repeated. Overall grade: A+

The art: Eric Gapstur is the artist of the issue and he does a bang up job with all the details of the settings and making these animals emote so well. The sisters’ reveal on Page 4 is terrific, showing that size is not a reason for dismissal. The sisters can be told apart by a flower that they wear on their tails, which is neat visual clue for the reader. The visuals on 6 show something that’s not been shown before and gave the city a very modern feel. The acclimation meeting for newcomers is also a terrific page. The variety of locations increase dramatically on 8 and 9 and I could have stayed at any of those settings for a longer time to see what Gapstur would create for them. The bottom eight panels are the most dramatic of these illustrations, with the point of view moving around exceptionally well for such small creatures. I loved the sisters’ apartment, which had all the comforts of human residence, though decorated with things only possible due to their size. The smiling character on 12 and 13 made the hair on my arms stand up in fear, because these were the closest images of this character yet and they made that individual incredibly sinister. What follows are some incredibly shocking images that made me incredibly fearful and sad, even though I’d only just met these characters. Page 18 has a surprising action, with 19 having a graphic reveal. The speed of my heart didn’t slow until I turned to 20 and saw who had arrived. I was happy to see these characters, though they’ve been changed. Don’t forget to look at the top of this page to see the fate of one character. Overall grade: A

The colors: The colors of the struck match at the bottom of Page 1 are a sensational reveal to the reader about what they’ve been looking at, with the colors going explosive on 2 and 3. In addition to the flowers each sister wears, the colors of said flowers also help a reader in identifying characters. Rob Schwager uses his coloring talents to show the joys and dangers of this new world. The yellows and blues of the sky for the city give it an optimistic tone, which is what the sisters would be feeling in this environment. I also like the colors the sisters are using to brighten up their living quarters, with the rusty colored couch and tiny yellow lights not unsimilar to those of humans’ starting out on their own. Starting on Page 13 the colors go darker, matching the location and the sinister tone of the story. There are a lot of reds justifiably used in the final pages, though it’s probably more than have been seen in any issue of this series. Overall grade: A

The letters: Marshall Dillon creates the sisters’ dialogues, sounds, scene settings, and dialogue. It’s the sisters’ dialogue that is his stand out contribution to this issue. Given the sisters’ size, their dialogue is small and done in a slightly faded font to increase their diminutive status. It’s shared by other rodents and visually makes them real characters. There are also several strong sounds, with the one on Page 3 perfect for the action. The sounds at the end of the book are horrific. Overall grade: A

The final line: A fantastic entry level issue that shows four sisters’ entrance into the new animal-human world. The story is outstanding and the visuals perfect. This is the best book of the week. Highest possible recommendation. 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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