Pets DC: Rise of the Pets By Ramon Dines and Kit Brixton, 176 pgs.

May 15, 2023

I love anthropomorphic comics. I grew up reading Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Usagi Yojimbo. So I was delighted to see this graphic novel, which on the surface appears to be a cute talking animal book but is actually a pretty intense metaphor for the prison system written and drawn by a pair of prisoners. A rabble-rousing guinea pig named GP is brought to the pet store, where he meets all the other pets stuck there, learning about their plights and slowly rallying them for a breakout. As powerful as it is to address the prison issue, this comic is at its best when the writer and artist are letting loose and having fun, as with the weirdly cultish spiders or the hedgehog dressed up as Flavor Flav quoting Public Enemy lyrics.

The first chunk of the book is spent going from cage to cage and introducing the cast. When GP finally convinces the other incarcerated pets to make an escape attempt, the story really takes off. The writer is adept at building characters and writing action sequences and, while the art might look amateurish on the surface, a closer look reveals an artist who understands how to make dynamic stories. What might have been a bunch of talking heads in less skilled hands is a great example of how much is added to a comic when the artist takes the time to carefully map out each panel and think about characters’ movements and positions. There’s not a lot of background in these panels, but each one is really rich in terms of motion and facial expressions that really add depth to the story. An impressive work. –Emma Alice Johnson (A.B.O. Comix)

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