'Evolution' #1 expands the beautiful and chaotic world of AfterShock's 'Animosity'

‘Evolution’ #1 expands the beautiful and chaotic world of AfterShock’s ‘Animosity’

By Brandy DykhuizenOur Week In Review sums up our weekly comic book coverage while taking time for a new review or two before it’s all over. Did we miss your favorite books this week? Well. This is where you need to be.

Animosity: Evolution #1Animosity: Evolution #1

AfterShock Comics/$3.99

Written by Marguerite Bennett.

Illustrated by Eric Gapstur.

Colors by Gonzalo Duarte.

Letters by Saida Temofonte.

At first glance, Animosity: Evolution has the feel of a typical post-apocalyptic yarn – the world has gone topsy-turvy and new classes have begun to materialize as everyone struggles to acknowledge the emerging dynamics. But this is not the end of the world. Far from it; this is the beginning of a gorgeous new Earth in which animals and humans can communicate freely.

There was an awakening, and now all animals understand each other, which, to our eyes, makes them seem a little more human. But with humanity comes all the sticky fixin’s: jealousy, guilt, paranoia, and a hunger for power. Throw an assortment of claws and gnashers in there, and suddenly people are no longer lording over the top of the food chain.

Marguerite Bennett has created a fascinating world, with characters whose depth is instantly apparent. It’s exciting to see the animals finally “make it” on par with Homo sapiens, but it looks like they may find it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Taking a page from Aesop, Bennett ultimately uses our furry friends to show us what jerks we humans can be.

The introductory issue of Evolution contains breathtaking artwork from Eric Gapstur, illustrating the lifecycle of a mayfly in stunning symmetry. Eggs, nymphs and mature flies kaleidoscope together into a lacy, ephemeral snowflake. On the next page, what appears to be a flurry spreads its static across the sky and piles into drifts on a dock. Nope, not snow after all, but delicate mayfly exoskeletons. Our lifetimes aren’t really our own. We’re going to learn a little more about that in the beautiful chaos of Animosity’s woke world.

9 out of 10

Savage Dragon #227Savage Dragon #227

Image Comics/$3.99

Story and Art by Erik Larsen.

Colors by Nikos Koutsis.

Letters by Chris Eliopoulos.

The US is once again in the midst of one of its famous anti-alien tantrums, forcing Malcolm and his family up into The Great White North. It wasn’t a bad escape, as far as cross-border smuggling goes, and the family’s now tasked with getting used to things up in ol’ C-eh-N-eh-D-eh.

Hilariously, and perhaps a byproduct of the PTSD born of being kicked out of your own country, the Dragon family can’t quite seem to wrap its collective mind around the fact that Canada is, in fact, its own separate nation. Trying desperately to frame every new thing they encounter as Canada’s version of an American institution, they slowly warm up to their snowy new digs.

The Dragons aren’t the only ones making sense of being dumped elsewhere. While Canada is pleasant, slow-moving and primarily depicted in a calming cool palette, Alex, Jennifer and Angel are battling giant rock monsters in Dimension-X. They furiously punch and kick their way through red and orange rubble, before taking a seat to decide how to press on until a hopeful rescue.

The dynamics of Erik Larsen’s characters shine through with ease, both in the clever and sometimes off-the-wall dialogue and in their malleable, expressive faces. Malcolm and Maxine have their hands full balancing each other’s personalities and a brood of unruly brats. It’s a story that centers around contrast, and whether you’re with the family in modest and unassuming Ontario or hurtling through Dimension-X, you wonder with equal curiosity how these strange folks are going to piece their lives back together.

8 out of 10

Made Men #2

Oni Press/$3.99

Written by Paul Tobin.

Illustrated by Arjuna Susini.

Colors by Gonzalo Duarte.

Letters by Saida Temofonte.

We’re slowly getting somewhere with Jutte, taking in more pieces of her past, which so far fit together about as well as her mismatched creations. The lady does seem to have a moral compass, it just occasionally encounters a little magnetic deviation. Her approach may seem cavalier at times, but can you really fault someone for needing to reach a certain substance-induced level of not giving a fuck before sewing a lion’s head onto an old friend?

Leo-née-Gio the lion may headline for shock value (and murderous efficiency), but the other members of the born again team show pleasing potential. Between a resurrected suffragist and a stubbornly split personality, the new gang will at least shy away from the predictable. In fact, I’d venture to say Made Men‘s strongest asset is Paul Tobin’s insistence on serving up the unanticipated at every turn.

Arjuna Susini’s art and Gonzalo Duarte’s colors keep the story anchored as a gritty cop tale. Unexaggerated movements and a dingy palette bring to mind long-running TV police dramas, forcing a steady rhythm to a plot that could otherwise come off as severely goofy. Characters frequently turn away from each other in conversation, rather than meet each other’s eye, lest we think this is some sort of in-your-face kind of story.

Law enforcement, Frankenstein, revenge… these may not seem like feasible bedfellows, but Tobin and his Jutte are piecing together all sorts of bizarre scraps in order to bring this entertaining story to life.

7 out of 10

From earlier this week — 

PREVIEW: Immerse yourself in the intrigue of ‘Milan K.’, the latest Humanoids stunner

ADVANCED REVIEWS: Read Seeley & Petraites’ ‘Brilliant Trash’, a poisoned valentine to our sick, sad world

INTERVIEW: Shelly Bond, Black Crown, and the future of comics: a vital connection is made [Part 4]

STAFF PICKS: Black Crown begins its subversive revolution with ‘Kid Lobotomy’#1

Harley, Harley, Harley Quinn — CASUAL WEDNESDAYS WITH DOOMROCKET

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW: John has himself a nice dip in an abdominal cavity in ‘The Hellblazer’ #15

UNDERCOVER, or: Five covers from this week that we won’t live without

BOOKS FOR BABES: Oni Press’ ‘Spectacle’ a murder mystery that’s as intriguing as it is enchanting

REVIEW: Sit back and let ‘Kid Lobotomy’ wreak glorious havoc all over your brain

BUILDING A BETTER MARVEL: ‘The Mighty Thor’ #700 an indisputable triumph of epic superhero storytelling

What books did YOU read this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone