In Review: Animosity: The Rise #1

A shocking story that will have readers being extra nice to every animal they meet.

The covers: A vicious looking wolf looks up at the reader, but it’s what’s behind him that’s really disturbing: fourteen sheep are marching behind his carnivore and their eyes are glowing red. This unusual, yet appropriate, image has the animals walking atop a map. This is very symbolic for how animals have begun to stake out their territory once they awoke. This disturbing cover is by interior artist Juan Doe and it’s the perfect introduction to how the world has changed. While online I discovered that there are four variant covers. There’s a Hip Hopf Comics Variant cover limited to 200 copies by Mike Rooth that shows a beautiful pelican with it’s beak open, displaying several human skulls within. Alfred Hitchcock has got nothing on this. There’s no gore to speak, just skulls, and having them inside this bird’s mouth makes this creepy, especially with his throat pouch stretched out, making seem as though the bones have skin on them. There’s a Black and White Var1ant of the same cover that’s also available, limited to 50 copies. Frankie’s Comics also has two variants, both created by Francesco Francavilla. The colored version, limited to 400 copies, has a crow on a twisted branch that has four hanging skulls attached to it. At the horizon line the silhouettes of Jesse and Sandor, the protagonists of the original Animosity series. As with the other variants, there’s no blood or gore, but this is an unsettling image. There’s also a Black and White Variant available, with it being limited to 200 copies. Overall grades: Regular A, Hip Hopf Comics Variant A, Hip Hopf Comics Black and White Variant A-, Frankie’s Comics Variant A, and Frankie’s Comics Black and White Variant A-

The story: If you missed out on the original Animosity series, you can start right here and be caught up, as the animal uprisings are occurring in more than one place. The issue opens dramatically in San Francisco during “The Wake.” Several rats have killed someone at Best Friend Veterinary Clinic and a dog rips open the throat of its young owner. One of the vets, Adam North, gets on his bicycle and rides away to supposed safety. On the coast, crabs attack pigeons, a fox tells its mate he’s been unfaithful, dolphins tip over boats to drown humans, and a cat tells its owner it’s not her fault her man left her. Riding by, North sees a seal defend two women from a dolphin, only to have the giant mammal rip off one of its flippers. Adam tries to help the wounded animal, causing his future to change. To have the whole world thrown into chaos because of the animals’ awakenings, I’m happy to see writer Marguerite Bennett play with the situation in other settings. What’s occurring in this book is very different to what’s been happening in the main title. I like Wintermute. She’s a great character, has a great voice, and her long term plans look very interesting. What she has for lined up for this new society, as well as herself, is going to be quite a tale. 16 and 17 are the creepiest pages of the entire book, and I dare anyone to say they aren’t! The last two pages are equally disturbing. This is not where I saw the book leading and it has me wondering if the animals will be able to pull off their goal for this city. That final page has me really looking forward to what Bennett is going to do, but feeling equally full of dread if “that” is achieved. Overall grade: A

The art: I’m really liking the visuals by Juan Doe. The book opens with an incredibly frightening scene as rats are attacking a man. It’s shocking, but not as shocking as the dog that kills its master — it’s a jaw dropper, but Doe makes it palpable for the most squeamish reader, without losing any of its punch. This is the sign of an expert artist. Pages 2 and 3 nicely shows six stories occurring simultaneously in the same location. Each story warranted a page to itself, yet Doe, in only two panels for each tale, has each full of life. 4 and 5 have a terrific large panel that shows where each story is located in relation to the other, plus it shows in the very bottom of 5 the entrance of North. The antagonist animals that go into full frenzy on 6 are terrifying, which is an incredible accomplishment, given that these animals are usually portrayed as friendly creatures. The action on 7 is graphic and shocking, which makes North’s actions extremely heroic. Wintermute is an amazing looking character. She constantly radiates power even though all she does is walk and talk with North. Where North goes is an extremely familiar location to any reader, but given the state of the world, it carries as much paranoia as anything George Orwell suggested; it’s a living version of Big Brother. It’s that character introduced on 16 that continues to stick in my head as I write this review. Doe gives the character a realistic look, but his panels make this the most horrible character of the book. The final page is a visual surprise, leaving me really wanting to see Doe illustrate this plan, but fearful at what it will be used for. Doe is also the colorist on this book, and every page uses color like a slap to the reader. The opening reds are startling, matching the violence. When Wintermute is introduced, her background is a strong scarlet, highlighting her beautiful light blue eyes, but having her carry an overpowering anger. The walk to North’s new residence is shocking in orange, implying that even the colors of this new world have changed. And don’t even get me started on 16 and 17. Doe is aces on this book. Overall grade: A

The letters: Scene settings, yells, rat speech, dialogue, pelican speech, and sounds are created by Marshall Dillon. I’m liking what Dillon is doing, but I really wish that the each species of animal had their own unique font, rather that having unique dialogue balloons. That decision wasn’t his, but it would have made the book more visually appealing. Everything else Dillon does is tops. Overall grade: B+

The final line: A shocking story that will have readers being extra nice to every animal they meet. Excellent, creepy story with visuals that will make you jump. Recommended, if you can handle it. 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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