ANIMOSITY #13 / Writer: Marguerite Bennett / Artist: Rafael De LaTorre / Colorist: Rob Schwager / Letterer: Marshall Dillon / Publisher: Aftershock Comics / Published: March 28th, 2018
Animosity #13 may be the darkest issue of any Animosity series yet. This issue is essentially one long fight scene and the brief aftermath that follows. The fight here is simply a set piece for Marguerite Bennett to drop some truly bleak speeches about human nature. Her words ring true, which brings the darkness of this comic to life in an uncomfortable way. This is one of my favorite scripts from Bennett. While only a couple characters receive a large focus, we see a large variety of perspectives on the conflict from the supporting cast; Mittens the cat and Kyle the human have particular interesting ones that build throughout the story. Bennett’s powerful words, combined with the fallout of the battle, close the book out on a sad lament.
Last issue I theorized Jesse might take over as the new queen bee of The Hive, but this issue opens with Willem mocking the notion. Willem is the leader of The Orchard, and the conflict between the two communities implodes in devastating ways to for both sides. Sandor has spent most of this story-line away from The Orchard, but Willem and Sandor come into conflict for the first time in Animosity #13 over the safety of Jesse. Rafael De LaTorre nails this initial conflict. The silhouette of Sandor leaps through the panels as if he was Batman, crimson red bleeding into the page as he tears through The Orchard’s soldiers. With Bennett’s haunting words expertly overlain by Marshall Dillon, Sandor’s part of the battle is an emotional gut punch.
The second half of the battle impresses even further. Last issue I talked about how the pointillism effect of The Hive contrasts beautifully with the heavy lines of rain, but their community of orange and yellows contrasts really well against the dark moody blues of the sky. Rob Schwager’s colors bring to life some truly epic moments in the battle, often through clashing two bold monotone colors against each other. My favorite trick is how when water breaks against something, it is colored white; we see this in a number of different ways in the comic. The Hive also takes a page out of Dormammu’s playbook, visualizing as an angry face. Something I truly love is how Dillon’s lettering for the bees is a punch of little black dots that come together to form large letters; it compliments the art perfectly. He also abandons dialogue bubbles for the fight, making it easier to follow the action. The entire creative team does a great job of making the chaotic conflict of Animosity #13 easy to follow.
And the aftermath of the fight is an effective tonal shift of melancholy, well realized by the artistic team. Colors are muted and darkness creeps in. A grey mist gathers around as we check in on the surviving characters, creating a dour atmosphere. LaTorre does an excellent job of displaying emotion on a variety of faces, including ones with heavy sketch lines, ones with few, and ones with fur. The body language of every character conveys so much about the pain and death in this issue. Dillon’s letters are the most bold part of the final pages. He uses bold framing for his dialogue bubbles when emphasis is needed and his sound effects wind through the pages.
Animosity #13 is a fantastic conclusion to the The Hive story-line. It is emotionally devastating and full of amazing creative choices that make the conflict come to life. The script is likely to sit with you for a couple days. I can’t think of another comic book series that has sat with me in the same way, especially without a major character death. The art is drawn in a way that makes it easier to take in everything without rereading, but there are also so many details put in to make it so that there are layers of artistic depth to be mined. There is no weak link in this creative team.
There is no weak link in the Animosity universe.
Verdict: 5 Out Of 5 Ether Cans