Auntie Agatha’s Home for Wayward Rabbits #3 // Review
Writer Keith Giffen’s return to creator-owned comics continues with the third issue of his pleasantly offbeat Auntie Agatha’s Home for Wayward Rabbits. The series continues with its combination of heart and humor, further establishing its footing in the spacebetween drama and sitcom - with stylishly cartoony art by Benjamin Roman.
Little Julie is dealing with things. Her elderly aunt is in danger of losing her home to a land developer. Her delightfully damaged anthropomorphized rabbit friends seem almost interested in making sure that the land remains theirs in a chapter that finds some small success halfway through its six-issue run.
Giffen’s sense of humor is remarkably strong in this issue. Julie and the rabbits have a really playful comic antagonism that briskly moves across the page. This is evident from the get-go, thanks to an extended conversation between Julie and the rabbit, Sawyer, at the beginning of the issue. It’s an impressively sophisticated exchange that suggests we’re dealing with two incredibly complicated characters living beneath the dialogue balloons. On one level, their interaction is little more than exposition but, on another level, there’s a working relationship between a little girl and the purple rabbit with whom she reluctantly spends her days. Elsewhere Giffen allows for a brief moment of quiet desperation when Julie contemplates the potential loss of her home. On the surface it may look like light comedy, but there’s a lot more going on between the panels.
Roman has developed a really interesting world. At first glance it appears to be something that Chuck Jones might have developed for an old Warner Brother’s cartoon, but there’s a twisted realism about it that alludes to the more serious drama at the heart of the story. There’s a clever use of angles in Roman’s work. The full interior of Auntie Agatha’s home is seen from the point of view of a little girl and her smaller, anthropomorphized roommates. We’re seeing a large world from a small perspective, highlighted by the monolithic massiveness of a pair of identical women who try to get the titular Agatha to sell her property.
It’s strange to see Auntie Agatha’s world so fully realized after only three chapters. Since issue one, it’s felt like a series that has been running for years, complete with the interpersonal dynamics between a girl, her rabbits, and her elderly auntie. Giffen and Roman have created something that is quite enticingly unlike anything else. It’s a sitcomic book and wouldn’t feel quite right in any other format. Hopefully this is the halfway point of something that will have a long and healthy life, even after the mini-series reaches its conclusion.