Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Rafael De Latorre
Colourist: Rob Schwager
Marguerite Bennett is one of those writers that I know has many projects going for them, most of which I haven’t touched. I know she’s an up-and-comer, and that she wrote Angela: Asgard’s Assassin which I really wasn’t a fan of, and Bombshells, which just isn’t my thing. But it’s due to her apparent greatness as a writer that I picked up Animosity (that and it was featured on Comic Shop News’ cover and looked pretty), and I’m glad to say I really enjoyed it!
Animosity has a relatively simple premise — what if animals suddenly became anthropomorphic and could speak — that Bennett tackles in an interesting way. It’s not just played for drama or laughs, but both drama and laughs; as well as way darker laughs. Animosity just feels so refreshing in how it tackles the matter. Bennett writes a heartwarming relationship between a girl and her dog and some puns, but isn’t afraid to have animals commit suicide. While the actual story has some animals rise up against their human oppressors, some animals obviously like humans. So not only are humans and animals on shaky ground, but so are certain animals with others. Animosity builds an interesting story and does a really good job establishing its main characters in the midst of all the chaos that ensues, and also does a good job setting up possible conflicts and allies for our heroes down the line. However, all the jokes and seemingly one-off scenes do mean that our cover characters don’t appear for about half of the comic. There’s very little actual movement in terms of plot, as more focus is given to the various reactions of various animals to this event.
Latorre does a terrific job on art. While the series isn’t as pretty as the cover would lead you to believe (different colourist), it is still really easy on the eyes. Latorre nails facial expressions, from subtle, soft smiles to comforting faces of sadness. And since this project would fall flat on its face if this weren’t the case, Latorre is also really good at drawing all kinds of animals and giving them tons of expression. But at the same time, everything’s still cute. Schwager’s colouring does the job fine as well, but I did kind of expect something more akin to the cover. However, the brighter colours do serve to contrast the darker nature of the story and its the comic’s humour.
Animosity really surprised me. I was expecting a typical girl and her dog story set in a post-apocalyptic world ruled by animals — and I might still get that — but the amount of ways Bennett explores just the idea of animals suddenly being anthropomorphic and speaking is really entertaining. It’s heartfelt, interesting and funny. But it really needs more focus. It needs to pick one or two perspectives each issue, or reign in the jokes for later use. What will make this series great or just good is Bennett’s ability to manage balance all of these stories, ideas and jokes.