Animosity Evolution #4 Review: Orwellian Nightmares with Talking Animals Once More

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Wintermute's raiders invade and seize the farmland of a neighboring settlement. Back in the city, Penelope and Octavia are at the mercy of the tortoise known as Mr. Kazi.

Meanwhile, Dr. Adam North meets with the leader in the flesh and metal, Wintermute.

Animosity: Evolution #4 cover by Eric Gapstur and Rob Schwager
Animosity: Evolution #4 cover by Eric Gapstur and Rob Schwager

Animosity: Evolution's depiction of a wider-scale interpretation of Animal Farm begins to really coalesce with #4. The burden and realities of trying to kickstart a new society using the scraps of the previous one arrive at the forefront, especially in the scenes with the raiders as well as the ones with Wintermute and North.

At least for Evolution, the "awakening" of Animosity functions as a political revolution. Wintermute's regime takes the shape of a hyper-capitalist and borderline fascist society. Each member of this civilization cannot simply be given food and necessity; they must work for it. Wintermute's regime worries that if they were to start giving away food, the people and animals would stop working. The irony that this distinctly capitalist thinking exists in a society coming dangerously close to Stalinist Russia is not lost on me.

Oh, to further drive home the Animal Farm comparison, the porcine diplomat of Wintermute is named "Leopold," reflecting the Napoleon of Orwell's novella.

The seizing of farmland is a natural extension of this: "We can use this better than you do, so we are taking it with our greater resources."

Wintermute even receives suggestions that take this grotesque line of thinking to other brutal ends. Killing and eating the underperforming animals and people is presented. A death-lottery is another proposal he denies.

In the face of this political intrigue, the plot with Octavia and Penelope begins to pale. It is saved by the charm of Octavia and the political implications Kazi throws out.

Wintermute is a truly interesting character too. An "animata" dog, Wintermute is the beleaguered, well-meaning, yet possibly corrupt leader of the city. North is a close friend and the implied previous owner of Wintermute. North isn't afraid to call his friend out on some of his more cruel and underhanded tactics that exist underneath the noble persona the dog tries to convey.

This is just a surface-level theorizing about the work in question, and, to tilt my hand, I highly recommend reading it for one's self to get a better look at the ideas.

Animosity: Evolution #4 art by Eric Gapstur and Rob Schwager
Animosity: Evolution #4 art by Eric Gapstur and Rob Schwager

Eric Gapstur's art gives a distinctive flavor to this world and plays with the set-dressing in interesting ways. Unique species are often the subject of the comic, and their bizarre facets are presented well. Also, Witnermute looks awesome enough to earn the build-up he received. Rob Schwager's color art gives the comic an atmosphere consistent with the mainline Animosity title too despite the differing artists.

Animosity: Evolution #4 gives absorbing insight into how this world works in practice now that everything has been overturned by the talking animals. It's always a bit of a treat when this kind of sociopolitical discourse can be accomplished with talking animals. Between a thoughtful narrative and solid artwork, Animosity: Evolution #4 earns a strong recommendation. Give it a read.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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