June 7, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Comic Review: Animosity Volume 1

One day, the world's animals start talking, thinking...and getting pay back against the human race in this AfterShock series.

AfterShock Comics, from what I can gather, don’t publish their individual issues in paper form but do everything digitally, but you can get their trades in paper form.  That suits me fine.  For some reason, I have never really warmed up to digital comics.  But AfterShock’s titles intrigue me in their general descriptions, so once in a while, I will get a paper copy of one of their trades.

Case in point, here’s something from one of their first titles, Animosity.  That one has talking animals…and not in the way that normally means in a comic book.  This one ain’t for kids.  Anyway, the first trade, going by the subtitle The Wake, introduces the world for the series and many of the implications therein.

The premise behind Animosity is a simple one:  one day, for no known reason, all the world’s animals suddenly gained the ability to think and talk.  And, well, many of them aren’t exactly happy with the human race they greatly outnumber.  One little girl, Jesse, has a very loyal bloodhound named Sandor, and he’s going to escort her from New York City to California to find the half-brother she doesn’t really know.

So, really, sounds simple and potentially terrifying.  But then comes the book’s real treat:  writer Marguerite Bennett actually thought through much of what that might entail.  Not every animal would necessarily turn on mankind.  Sandor is not really the exception to the rule.  It’s more like all of the suddenly sentient species on the planet need to somehow learn to live with each other.  Some do so violently.  And humans?  Well, many of them aren’t used to not being top dog anymore.

That brings the story down to the personal level of  Jesse and Sandor.  Sandor, who speaks with a farmer’s cadence, has known Jesse all his life, and flashbacks show how good she’s been to him since he was a puppy, perhaps earning his unfailing loyalty.  And she’s a bit of a sweet girl, with something of a big vocabulary and perhaps a gift for math.  But her parents?  Once Sandor and every other animal on the planet starts talking, her father immediately thinks the dog is going to eventually turn on the family while her mom more or less accepts things as they are or at least appear to be.  But once the reader gets past issue 2, they don’t seem to be in the picture, and what may or may not have happened to Jesse’s parents is still something of a mystery.

Bennett actually gives the animals a lot of personality, moreso than most of the human characters.  And some of the reactions to suddenly being able to talk are clearly played for laughs as, for example, a songbird asks her mate if she’s ready for motherhood.  And that’s before a nonbinary Pallas cat shows up.  The story recognizes that if animals can now think and talk like humans, they can also have very human problems and issues.

They can also have very unique ones:  what does everybody, particularly the carnivores, eat?

Anyway, I dug this one.  The trade covers the first five issues plus the first issue of a spin-off about Jesse’s veterinarian brother in San Francisco.  There are a lot of implications to this world that this first volume only begins to touch upon.  I hope I can get to the next one sooner rather than later.

9 out of 10 humpback whales who seem to know what Pokemon is.

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