For those who aren't familiar with Animosity, there's no better person to get the lowdown from than the series creator, and that's exactly what we did.
"For those who haven't yet had a chance to get to know the series, let me tell you that there is absolutely nothing like Animosity on the shelves today," Bennett told ComicBook.com. "The book is 1/4 apocalypse, 1/4 black comedy, 1/4 coming-of-age, and 1/4 all-American road trip."
If that sounds like a lot, well you'd be right. The thing to remember is that Animosity isn't your ordinary post-apocalyptic scenario. In fact, it's the opposite.
"Animosity is a story not of the end of the world, but of the start of a new one – a world where all the Animals, at once and with no conceivable explanation, one day wake up," Bennett explained. "They gain human intelligence, the power of speech, the astonishment at the world around them – rage, horror, love, absurdity, hunger, and undeniable need for a purpose, for a reason to be alive. Everything changes. There has never been an apocalypse like this one."
While the scope of Animosity's world is rather large, the main through-line is a very personal one.
"Our story follows a Bloodhound and the little girl who used to be his owner, and who is now as good as his daughter, as he ushers her across a wild, savage, and strange new frontier of humans and animals alike, seeking to get her from the East Coast to the West, where a safe haven can be found. The story is funny, brutal, ridiculous, emotional, and, I hope, powerful," Bennett said.
The art is also an important piece of the puzzle. "Rafael de Latorre's art and Rob Schwager's colors brought the world of Animosity to rich and brutal life. I am so proud of this story, and I would love, love to share it with you," Bennett said.
As for why she took this project on? "I pitched the project because I honestly just thought the book would be fun," Bennett added.
It's no secret that Animosity Vol. 2 reduced this reader to a puddle more than a few times, and much of that is to do with the amazing character development from the beginning of the series until now.
Many of the characters have changed quite a bit from the first issue, but there is one in particular who's changed more than most.
"Ah, bless! I think Jesse has the sharpest arc, going from a sheltered human girl in New York City to a survivalist in this brave new world," Bennett said. "She was so defined by her innocence, by her Bloodhound's obsession with protecting her, but now she's beginning to grow up—which both reassures him, and smashes his heart to smithereens."
Fans will learn even more about this world in an upcoming one shot, and you won't want to miss it.
"There's also a lot of heretofore unseen information about the characters in World of Animosity, our one-shot glimpse into what's going down on the rest of the map. I wanted that issue to provide readers with things that wouldn't be seen anywhere else," Bennett revealed.
Hit the next slide to find out more about this brand new world.
Sandor And Jesse
A highlight of Animosity is how it tackles the humans and animal societies and their interactions with each other. Nothing is as black and white as human vs animal, giving the surreal premise grounding in reality.
"I really just wanted to give the sense that the Animals aren't any kind of monolith," Bennett said. "Humans are all one species, and yet, think of the incredible, world-spanning diversity that has arisen from us. Now imagine every single Animal species has that level of diversity of opinion, the spectrum of wants, needs, hopes, and plans for survival. The world is limitless."
That grounding also comes in the sweet and layered father-daughter relationship between Sandor and Jesse. Seeing Sandor attempt to be a parent is extremely relatable, but at times his shielding from the world's brutal realities might do more harm than good. To Bennett, that is up to your personal experience to decide.
"I think judgment on Sandor's actions are for the reader," Bennett said. "Sandor's struggle with being a good—even just adequate—father is one of the main conflicts of the book. He lies to Jesse and tells her the world is much kinder than it is—is he making her vulnerable to the day when she learns the truth?"
Bennett also points out that Jesse has grown quite a bit too, and should perhaps not be underestimated.
"Additionally, Jesse once believed every word he spoke like the word of God—does she still? She's growing up before his eyes, to both his love and to his horror. His entire goal in life is to get her safely across the remains of the United States, because his lifespan is short and nearing its end, while as a human she should live on for decades and decades more. The entire momentum of his life is to lose the one thing that gives his life meaning. He's doing the best he knows how to do," Bennett said.
Sandor and Jesse have grown before our eyes thanks to the myriad of flashbacks in Vol. 1, but those flashbacks also reveal the first days of the Wake event. So, does anyone really know the answers?
Ha! I do reserve the right to flip-flop, but for the time being, Sandor doesn't know why he "woke up" any more than humans can say for certain why the universe exists. It's above his pay grade, and he has more pressing concerns. Everyone has an opinion, but nobody's got proof, and nobody's guaranteed that they'll get an answer or that an explanation is forthcoming. You have your lifetime, and you decide what you're going to do with it. Some folk chose the pursuit of that answer; Sandor chose protecting Jesse," Bennett said.
Hit the next slide to find out more about the cast of Animosity!prevnext
The Cast Of Animosity
Another mystery revealed in the flashbacks has to do with Jesse's parents. Everyone knows they died, including Jesse, but few seem to know how they died.
It's been teased that Sandor had something to do with it, and light will be shed on those aspects of Sandor and Jesse's journey in Animosity Vol. 3.
"The third arc deals very much with intertwining past and present, and a great deal of the story will involve what came before, and in the year between the Wake and the start of the adventure. As to Jesse's folks—all good (and bad) things come to those who wait," Bennett teased.
While Sandor and Jesse are obviously the focus, Animosity includes a bevy of delightful characters amongst its cast, who all bring something worthwhile to the story.
"I do adore Sandor and Jesse most of all, but they all have their roles to play," Bennett said. "Beth is so much sunnier and such a gentle counterpoint to Sandor's endless grit and gloom. Pallas, too, is the voice of reason and the soul of logic—they keep the others from falling prey to anxiety and impulse. Zarza, our she-goat, is all our anger, all our rage, while Benjamin is our insecure wit and technological learning, and Potter is trying to figure out who he is and where he belongs."
Speaking of Zarza, the rather bullish goat is responsible for one of the most poignant moments of Vol. 2, and will conjure up a bevy of emotions. As to what that moment is supposed to symbolize, Bennet leaves that up to you. "I reckon it's about whatever the reader would like to take away from it. Does it comfort you?" Bennett asks. "Animosity is a series about love, loss, childhood, and parenthood, and as much as it is about death, I also hope it is about life."
Hit the next slide to for a tease of what comes next!prevnext
So What Comes Next?
The art of Rafael de Latorre goes a long way to bringing this world to life, and he has a way of following a touching moment with something surprisingly brutal, so much so that you never quite know what the next page will bring.
As to what Bennett loves most about the collaboration, that would be "His fearlessness, aided by Rob Schwager and Marshall Dillon," Bennet said. "I give my poor team the most absurd, tragic, violent, ridiculous content, and they always, always deliver and make what should be absurd into something profound. Animosity is a joke that goes too far, pushes through until it's not funny anymore, then yeah, it IS funny again, and then oh god oh god it hurts."
Vol. 1's theme was the Wake event itself, followed by Vol. 2's focus on family. So, what does Vol. 3 have in store?0comments
"The next volume will very much be about time—and about other resources that, once gone, you can never get back. Perhaps deciding, for real and for true, where you draw your line—and how you deal with what you did before you drew it," Bennett said. "I am so incredibly proud of this entire team, and hugely grateful to the readers of our brutal, emotional, bizarre book. Y'all mean the world to me."
For more Animosity, fans can check out Animosity Vol. 2 in comic stores on October 4. You can also pick up World of Animosity #1, which is in comic shops today.prev