In Review: Animosity: The Rise #3

The constant tension and startling visuals will sink its claws into you and never let go. Absolutely recommended.

The cover: A playful seal erupts from a pool of blood with a human skull balanced delicately on its nose. No other series combines the animal world with shocking imagery like this series does. Beautiful and horrific cover by interior artist Juan Doe. This image captures where this series goes, so don’t say you weren’t warned. Overall grade: A

The story: “Southern California. One week after The Wake. One week after the animals began thinking.” A monstrous flock of a wide variety of birds, several bearing swords in their claws, are making their way to a convey of nine trucks held by the Human Resistance. Using a megaphone, one of the bird tells the humans they are aware they are out of fuel and ammunition and that they need to surrender. One human says that they’ll be eaten if they surrender, prompting the bird with the megaphone to reply, “No, human…We’ll eat you if you don’t!” The birds dive upon the men, raking their flesh with beaks and blades, while the humans shoot what birds they can as they attack. A human appears on the scene on horseback, yelling for a ceasefire. The birds obey as she approaches the men, telling them to go to their knees. “San Francisco, the free city of animals, hereby commandeers these trucks!” The humans obey, but two of the avians have bloodlust and do something terrible. This complicates Leila’s position, the human on the horse, though her response is quick. Looking in one of the truck’s cabs she finds something that’s going to change everything. This was a good tease by Marguerite Bennett about where this series is heading, but this is put aside for Adam North’s plight. Last issue the doctor received a message via his caretaker bat Keekirikee that the Resistance wants him to join them. He’s fretting what to do, because if he joins he’ll always be on the run from the animals and if he stays he’ll always be under the animals’ control. He spends the issue wondering what to do, while tending an animal who has something nefarious occurring to her. A dramatic show of justice by the animals causes him to come to a decision and he makes it known by the end of the issue. The consequences had me holding my breath. Just as Bennett addresses one issue, another appears, with the final panel showing where this civilization is heading. Bennett constantly keeps the reader on his or her toes! Overall grade: A

The art and the colors: I’ve been impressed with Juan Doe’s art since the premiere issue and continue to be so (He’s also the illustrator on World Reader, another AfterShock comic worth picking up!). That said, I was worried about the first panel of the book which features a bird flying against an obvious photo of the Southern California hills. Often photos don’t work when combined with artwork and this proves that so. Thankfully, it’s only for this single panel and the rest of the book looks great. The birds shown in the second panel on the page are terrifying, with every possible flyer present, with many sporting knives. The attack on the humans would make Alfred Hitchcock jealous with its ferocity, and it’s conclusion on Page 4 is epic with Leila’s arrival on Gwen. The crime committed on 5 is graphic and shocking. The joy on Leila’s face on 6 is a terrific tease of things to come. Adam’s first appearance in the issue is foreboding, framed high looking down onto a pool, he looks incredibly small as he puts his feet in the water while Keekirikee takes some laps. As they leave the pool and make their way to a patient, Adam moves like a zombie, his thoughts elsewhere. Many characters move about him, but he’s oblivious, giving him a dead man walking aura. Doe makes the colors for these pages very cool, reflecting his temperament. Only when something suspicious occurs near him does he finally get a close-up, showing his face. It’s at this moment that the Adam of the previous issues is revealed: a man who will do what’s best for his patients. The dramatic scenes on 13 – 15 make Orwell’s Animal Farm seem like Sesame Street, with Doe making the actions memorable with his artwork and the intense coloring. The intense coloring returns for the conclusion when Adam makes his decision about the Resistance and every panel had me on pins and needles. The first panel on the final page scared the tar out of me. The visuals on the book absolutely increase the tension of the story. Overall grade: A 

The letters: Marshall Dillon is responsible for this issue’s scene settings, dialogue, transmissions, sounds, yells, Adam’s thoughts, and passersby’s conversations. The scene settings are unique in all of comics: they are italicized cartoonish block letters, but make every change in location seem frantic, showing how the world is no longer controlled under humanity’s grasp. The sounds are brutal, whether making ghastly noises, Page 6, or creating incredible tension, Page 17. It’s the passersby’s conversations that really stand out in this issue, though. The text is not attached to any specific character, but surrounds the human as he walks through the animals. Each dialogue balloon is also low in the panel to match the height of the unnamed speaker. The text is also very small and light, again reflecting the speaker. A very clever use of placement and font style. Overall grade: A

The final line: This series ends with a dramatic choice and a technological twist. The constant tension and startling visuals will sink its claws into you and never let go. 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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