Despite a stunted narrative and overabundance of exposition, ‘Animosity’ is still a journey worth taking.
A couple days ago, my dog Half Pint got mad at me because I wouldn’t let her go outside to see my mom, who was picking me up to go have lunch. When I came home, one of my good dress shoes was not only destroyed, but had also been carefully laid at the front door so I could see Pint’s vengeful handiwork.
If you think the world of Animosity wouldn’t be scary–even with regards to your best animal friends–you better think again.
In this volume, we continue to track Jesse and Sandor’s journey across the country as they make all types of new friends and enemies.
There are plenty of artists out there who can draw animals well, but Rafael De Latorre is exceptionally good at giving Animosity’s various creatures a human soul/personality without making it seem weird. In his hands, it seems perfectly natural for a cow and a goat to argue–or a vulture to have started its own death cult.
Speaking of that death cult thing, writer Marguerite Bennett can conjure up one heck of a good villain. She also continues to give both the animal and human characters great dialogue, never falling into the trap of lazy tropes and/or creature-based puns that many stories with talking animals do.
The relationship between Jesse and her dog Sandor continues to be both pivotal and heart wrenching. I constantly found myself wanting to go and hug Half Pint between each issue–and that was after the shoe incident.
Part of what made Animosity Volume 1 so good was that in the midst of all the glorious chaos Bennett whipped up, there were multiple intriguing plot lines that connected beautifully into an overarching narrative.
This time, however, the side plots don’t feel as connected to the big picture. Much of the series’ narrative push is done via lengthy strings of exposition rather than the actual stories. Even a decent amount of the character development seems to take place within a few monologues rather than the action on the page.
That’s not a terrible thing considering how good of a writer Bennett is, but it’s certainly not as much fun to read as what we’ve seen from her before.
This book had a lot to live up to with regards to the previous volume. While it doesn’t come anywhere near matching Volume 1’s consistently superb content, Volume 2 is still worth picking up. This feels like more of a sophomore slump than a downward trend, especially when you take into account the flashes of awesomeness (Vulture Death Cult) and De Latorre’s art.
The World of Animosity one-shot is also a lot of fun, although it’s a microcosm of the the book’s main problem (wonderful world building via exposition instead of narrative). That being said, don’t even think for a second that I’d take this book off my pull list. Even when the narrative lags, Animosity is still a journey worth taking.