Aftershock Comics 2016
Created & Written by Marguerite Bennett
Illustrated by Rafael De LaTorre
Coloured by Rob Schwager
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
Caught between the ruins of the human militia and the rise of the Animilitary, the Bloodhound Sandor and his human daughter Jesse encounter unlikely allies and cunning traitors, but are haunted by the horrors that brought them here…
We open up this issue with how Jesse and Sandor came together. It’s one of those cute moments when you know something was meant to be. While her dad was wanting to get a dog and mom was dead set against it Jesse however found Sandor, the runt of the litter, whose mother wouldn’t let the farmer near it not only let Jesse up with her but bond with Sandor right away. It’s that moment you know even if you don’t want the dog that the girl is destined to have him.
Moving ahead five years to the present Sandor is trying to smuggle Jesse to California and he’s been tasked with a mission from the Animilitary for safe passage. What Marguerite does with these two is something incredibly special. I mean we see Sandor reminding her to do her math homework and being like a parent helping her learn and grow. Jesse on the other hand teaches him to play, in this instance Pokemon, when she’s done with her studies. They have that bond and love for each other that we’ve always seen in pets and their owners that defies explanation. Here she’s able to use words and articulate that in some of the most tender and loving ways.
With the seriousness of the nature of what’s happened I have to say that there’s a moment of pure silliness is wonderfully done. It comes in the form of a whale in the Hudson River of all places and well it needs to be seen to be appreciated.
Rafael and Rob do some beautiful work on the interiors here. Their animals are gorgeous and that the remain animals is hugely important. The use of page layouts with their angles, perspective and backgrounds are expertly done. The little touches they use here are so well done and when the time comes to show the true nature of animals well they do so incredibly effectively here.
The similarities between the animals and the humans is eerie to see. I mean the whole idea that they’ve organised a Military of their own, that they are just as ruthless as humans in how they treat their enemies and allies is disturbing. That Sandor and Jesse seem to be the only ones who represent what the capability of coexisting peacefully isn’t lost on me. Animals though act more on instinct than intelligence, mostly, so seeing them with the power of human speech doesn’t change much other than that they can organise differently.
There are messages here in how we treat other living beings on this planet, not just one another. It’s beautiful, frightening and everything in between. This is a rare entity and it’s so well thought out and executed all around.