In Review: Animosity: Evolution #6

The drama never lets up and the visuals do not disappoint. Absolutely recommended.

The cover: Through wearing a muzzle, the insanity of the Leopard is shown. His eyes are flames of orange, the hair on this cheeks sharply stick out, and his sharp teeth are covered in gore which stains his muzzle and drips off his chin. Splatters of his kill are peppered on his once white collar. This is the head of the crime syndicate responsible for the deaths of the Lex Animata last issue, placing several characters in great danger. This frontpiece by Eric Gapstur and Guy Major is right up there with the visage of the maniacal iconic Joker. Terrifying. Overall grade: A+

The story: Marguerite Bennett opens this issue with a surprising dissertation on St. Francis, which San Francisco was named after. This beautiful lesson of man and beast living in harmony is brutally taken down in the opening words atop Page 2, serving as the perfect introduction to the chaos of this issue. Penelope the cow and Octavia the mouse are wondering what will happen to them if it’s learned that they assisted the Leopard in the killing of the Lex Animata. The bovine wants to tell someone what they’ve done but is worried. “Everything in this city is punishable by death, so the bodies of the dead can feed the living. I’ll be butchered if this gets out…And my son…What will happen to my son?” Octavia tries to soothe her friend by saying they should go to Dr. Adam North and tell him. North is currently in Wintermute’s quarters, helping her recover from the wounds she sustained when the cybernetic enhancements she had, like the Lex Animata had, almost killed her. The two have words, with him wanting to save her so she can continue to keep the city from turning to dog eat dog, literally, while she chastises him for not finding out what happened to Octavia. The resolution of this scene has each understanding the other better. Things are also not going well at the Gannet Gated Community, which has now become Farm Section #44. The tension there continues to build. Note the symbolism of the apple that’s given to the man and woman. The secret to the LA’s deaths leads North and KeeKiriKee to a character who has a good reason for not liking Wintermute and her choices. The final four pages take a surprising turn with a character making a drastic decision that places one at death’s door. One line of this issue sums up things well: “You may have been aiming for Animal Farm, but you got 1984.” Wow. Overall grade: A

The art: The first page of this book, which is illustrated by Eric Gapstur, starts with a full-paged splash of a stained glass window showing St. Francis. This starts the book with the tone of being guided by a divine presence. This is undone with a turn of the page showing Penelope in her torn dress and Octavia sitting in a square watching the hastily assembled monitors that report the news. Both express so much worry, it’s impossible for the reader not to feel sympathy for them. This is contrasted by Wintermute’s chic and modern bathroom, with her having a scarred body and the anger of Adam. When Wintermute touches Adam’s head it’s like he’s being blessed, returning the book to the opening divine tone. Pages 12 – 15 involve a crowd scene with animals holding signs that are disquieting. They comprise the background to an interview between Adam and a new character. The last panel on 13 has an image that’s surprising, yet completely appropriate given the situation. This shock is increased further by the full-paged splash on 14 that features animals doing something that they shouldn’t be capable of. Gapstur then gets to send the book in the opposite direction by showing a tender scene with three characters. A character’s arrival on 18 has the individual’s face swallowed in shadows, making this character sinister and reflecting what is in the individual’s heart. The small panel at the bottom of 18 is excellent. There’s a brutal action on 19 that leads to a stunning visual cliffhanger on the final page. This, too, is a full-paged splash and will leave the reader wondering if there’s any recovery from this conclusion. Overall grade: A 

The colors: Rob Schwager gets to go bright and dark in this issue. The first page uses some peacefully colors to create the stained glass window of Francis. A turn of the page shows reality comprised of cold peach concrete. Even the colors the characters are wearing on Pages 2 and 3 inspire sadness because they are a powder blue. Blue becomes colder in Wintermute’s quarters, reflecting the emotionless way she has to approach her decisions. When a bright color appears it’s red to circle Adam’s harsh words and the seared flesh on the wolf. The protest is colorful in its first appearance on 11 and remains bright on the two pages that follow, with flesh, greens, and light blues giving a warm tone to the visuals, though the dialogue spoken is harsh. The sky becomes a frantic, strong yellow on 14 and 15 to increase the terror of the visuals. Red returns on the final two pages for a crucial sound and a brutal cliffhanger. Overall grade: A

The letters: This issue’s text includes dialogue, scene settings, the tiny speech of the mice, yells, and sounds. All of these are created by letterer Marshall Dillon. I really like the scene settings of this book, with the locations in balloon-like letters and the times italicized. These gives the reader the impression of something pleasant or funny is to occur. This is a false hope. The small and thin font of the mice mimics the tiny voices one would assume such creatures would have. There aren’t many sounds in this issue, but a major one is on the penultimate page and I felt it as I read it. Overall grade: A 

The final line: The reader wants this society to succeed, but it’s eating itself before it even starts. I don’t know how this society can be saved. Can it? Should it? The scary thing is it’s not too far from that of the modern world. Are we in the same state as the first words on Page 2? The drama never lets up and the visuals do not disappoint. Absolutely 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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