“…this isn’t Disney and the animals do not want want to harmonize with us. Most of them want to kill us. This, my fellow nerds, is a comic with a simple premise and an enormous potential.”
Writer: Marguerite Bennet
Artist: Rafael De Latorre
Release Date: August 3rd, 2016
“One day, for no goddamn reason, the Animals woke up. They started thinking. They started talking. They started taking revenge.”
New from Aftershock this month is “Animosity” by Marguerite Bennet and Rafael De Latorre, a comic book about talking animals. Only this isn’t Disney and the animals do not want want to harmonize with us. Most of them want to kill us. This, my fellow nerds, is a comic with a simple premise and an enormous potential.
Talking animals is nothing new. Talking animals as the impetus for a horror and survival story? That’s new. Consider the real-world consequences of every animal on the planet suddenly achieving human levels of sentience and communication. Consider the responses from zoo animals and animals raised for slaughter. Imagine the horrible secrets that your household pets are privy to. Picture the consequences of a gang of raccoons stealing a cop car in the middle of New York City. That’s what the first issue does, it introduces us to this world and the endless possibilities of what happens next. The animals are awake, and now what? Humans are under attack from every angle, the pigeons are dealing death from above and the octopod are taking back the sushi bars. But we are not without allies. In an excruciating act of good-natured selflessness, our goddamned dogs still have our backs. Is that not the most dog thing you have ever heard? The whole planet wants revenge on the one species that has systematically oppressed all the others for several thousands of years, and then there’s dogs, ready to freaking die for us even still. Which brings us to our protagonist pair, Sandor the Bloodhound and his adopted child, Jesse the ten-year-old human girl.
What future issues have in store for this duo are as yet unseen, but if the first issue is indicative of anything, it’s gonna be fun. This title is primed to entertain. And it’s well executed, the art is clean, bright and complex. Every page has a different panel layout that best facilitates the action. The lettering is evocative and undistracting. All the ingredients for a top-quality comic are present and it has talking animals hell-bent on revenge. That’s a great recipe. And besides the sheer entertainment value, there’s room for incredible complexity underneath this most basic of premises. Are the animals not justified in wanting revenge for so many years of subservience? If we had known that one day the animals might talk back, would we have acted differently? Therein lies the potential for a metric fuck-ton of social commentary and introspection. Issue #2 could go in any countless number of ways but wherever it ends up, it promises to be meaningful.
Issue #1 is not lengthy, but that seems to work in its favor. It gives you just enough exposition and character development to hook you in every sense of the word. All the animals have woken up, they want revenge, and it’s a girl and her dog against the world. That’s all I need to know and I’m all in. It’s an interesting take on an old trope and I invite you all to join me in rooting for Sandor and Jesse in Issue #2, in comic shops September 14.