In Review: Animosity: Evolution #5

A villain is revealed who makes a bold attack on Wintermute's creations.

The cover: Noir comes to Animosity: Evolution in this beautiful cover by Eric Gapstur with Rob Schwager. Wearing a classic gumshoe’s clothes (hat, jacket, and tie), Adam North has Octavia on his right shoulder, the tiny rat’s glasses barely visible. On his left shoulder Kee-Kiri-Kee smokes from a cigarette holder, spreading a wing to better see. Penelope is farthest from the group, suggesting that she knows more about the object before them. A bloody ram’s skull with cybernetic enhancements lies on a table. The window has blinds that cuts each character into pieces with its shadows as they gaze upon this ghastly scene. I love this. I love noir novels and films and seeing this genre used for this cover, which perfectly suits this issue’s tale, is genius. Overall grade: A+

The story: As the rain begins to fall on Gannet Gated Community, which is now Farm Section #44, appropriated last issue, the animals get out of the downpour. Giant horse Goliath, mount to Gwendolyn Yi, tells a duck and two of her ducklings to get out of the rain, just as it makes its way to a tractor. Suddenly the vehicle explodes, leaving the horse bleeding on the ground and Gwendolyn rushing to his aid. Before she gets to Goliath she sees a silhouette of someone looking out of the clubhouse upon the carnage. Back in the city, the horse is operated on, but he loses a leg. One of the doctors, a bird, angers Gwendolyn when he suggests it’s not right to keep him alive. The doctor exits and Wintermute emerges from the shadows. She touches him with a cybernetic paw, saying, “I stand between you and the abyss. Swear you’ll be loyal to me, Goliath, and I can save you. Swear to me. Swear to me and you will live again.” Why does this come off as dirty as the explosion that took his leg? Marguerite Bennett then moves her story to outside Beatrix Police Station at night where Dr. Adam North seeks assistance from enhanced animals Mimi and Tango in searching down Octavia who’s missing. The other Grassland sisters are occupied in learning information from another character who was earlier imprisoned. It’s not a pretty scene. What they learn involves a character named the Leopard. Before this character is met by the reader, another frightening character speaks, who has incredibly powerful words for two characters. Then the Leopard comes to forefront and what he has a familiar face do is going to have repercussions for a long time. I was shocked, saddened, and shocked at what happens in this issue’s final five pages, with the last being one that left my mouth agape. The conspiracy widens and the first salvo is launched. Hell is about to be unleashed and I can’t wait to see it. Overall grade: A+

The art: The visuals on this book are terrific. Look at how the nine panel grid makes the reader calm as characters seeks shelter from the rain. Only in the final panel does artist Eric Gapstur pull in closely to the reader to show Goliath’s response at seeing something the reader cannot. The full-paged splash on Page 2 of the tractor explosion is terrific, with the vehicle exploding into pieces that spiral from the blast. Notice how Goliath is shown caught in the blast, while mother duck protects her two ducklings. The final panel on 3 is an excellent character shot of Ms. Yi, who looks angry, strong, and at her wit’s end. The top panel on 4 is incredibly creepy, showing Wintermute emerging from the darkness. In fact, Wintermute is never clearly seen by the reader, instead her cybernetic implants are focused upon, giving her a wholly alien feel. The literal electrical scenes on 6 and 7 look great, going completely against the large group’s usually cute demeanor. The full-paged splash on 8 is an outright horror, with the gore and drool making the character deliriously blasphemous. Pages 10 and 11 are the genius pages of the book from Gapstur. This double-paged splash instantly places the reader in the point of view of another character, and it’s a terrible place to be. I made my dog jump by calling him into the room and holding these two pages above my face. If these pages create fear in actual animals, you know they’re good! Electricity returns in the final five pages for frightening results. Gapstur aced this issue’s visuals. Overall grade: A

The colors: Rob Schwager uses calming colors to have a rainstorm arrive on some characters. Using violet for background clouds, characters can be colored with a muted orange that issues from lights on this newly created farm. The explosion and fire that results on the next two pages is explosive in orange and yellow. Notice how when Gwendolyn’s ire rises at the bottom of 3, her silhouette is not colored black, as one would expect, but a harsh crimson to show she’s hit the wall with her anger. Electricity comes sparking out in several panels in several teal tones, showing the degree of the energy being released. The reds, oranges, and browns on 8 make this startling image utterly monstrous. The coloring on 10 and 11 are beautiful, mesmerizing in fact, which increases the reality of the situation incredibly. The blues and whites used for Page 14 make the reveal even more conspiratorial. But it’s the final page’s reds that will stick in a reader’s head long after this issue has ended. Schwager did well on this issue, too. Overall grade: A 

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, sounds, yells, speech from small characters, whispers, and a leopard’s speech constitute Marshall Dillon’s contributions to this issue. I am continually entertained by the wide variety of fonts used for different characters’ speech. It visually differentiates the species and has me better hearing the characters clearly. I also like the sounds this issue, where Dillon is always successful. The tractor’s explosion is particularly beautiful. Overall grade: A

To final line: A villain is revealed who makes a bold attack on Wintermute’s creations. This issue is full of plenty of surprises that will fascinate, disgust, and sadden. Animosity: Evolution is always a WOW read. Overall grade: A

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Animosity-Evolution-5/digital-comic/622827?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

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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