Auntie Agatha's Home for Wayward Rabbits #5 // Review
A purple rabbit tries his best to corral all of his psychologically damaged brethren to rise up against the potential loss of their homes in the latest issue of Auntie Agatha’s Home for Wayward Rabbits. Veteran comic book writer Keith Giffen continues the first book of his hugely enjoyable dramatic funny adult animal series with another issue drawn by series co-creator Benjamin Roman. The dialogue is done particularly well in a chapter that finds a deep conflict in rabbit preparedness for the seemingly inevitable and the prelude to a show-down with twin agents of a developer looking to buy the home as part of a golf course development. (Auntie Agatha’s home rests on a rather crucial two acres where the sixteenth hole needs to be.)
“We are so screwed,” the purple rabbit Sawyer says to his largely silent friend Pope. “It’s always darkest before someone turns on the lights,” Pope replies. Sawyer has assembled the entire rabbit population Auntie Agatha’s home...a haphazard group of well over forty bunnies. He needs to tell them about the dangers they face. He needs to get them to band together. As expected, it’s uphill work. None of them seem ready to meet ANYTHING as they are all prone to distraction by mere trivia. Later-on the nearly identical menaces of Naomi and Raquel show-up under cover of night to speed along the process of claiming the home for their employer when Sawyer and company move into place to confront them.
Giffen splits the issue into two halves. The first half has Sawyer delivering an ill-fated motivational speech to his fellow rabbits. The second, considerably less verbose half of the chapter featured the evening arrival of Naomi and Raquel. Giffen’s scripting is as funny in dialogue the first half of the issue as it is in subtle visual humor in the second half of the chapter. Giffen’s diverse group of tweaked-out rabbits and their less-than-effective reaction to Sawyer’s concern brilliantly satirize society’s response to nearly every severe problem facing the human race. It’s a remarkably smart comedy.
Roman is finally allowed to really stretch out the full social landscape of the rabbit population of Auntie Agatha’s home in a diverse first page. There’s a great deal of character that Roman is delivering to the world of the series and here he’s really given an opportunity to run with it. . . Tempered by the snarky futility drawn across the face of Sawyer and the disturbing, inertly calm expression of Pope. On the flip side of the issue, Roman delivers comedy in smartly motionless action sequences. Of particular note here is a conflict playing out entirely in sound effects near the shed as seen through the window of precocious, little girl Julie as she sleeps. Shots of her bedroom at night give Roman plenty of room to subtly deliver aspects of her personality as she sleeps. The stillness serves the purpose of increasing the dramatic tension, but a lot is revealed about Julie from the things that are posted on her walls to the overall state of her room. It’s a tiny, little world that Roman is bringing to life and we see it in enjoyable, little snapshots as the series continues.
Giffen and Roman end the issue on quite a little cliffhanger. They do so in a way that is suitably stagnant for a series which has become so defined by idle moments in the lives of those living in impending doom of losing their homes and ultimately their lives. Once again, Giffen and Roman brilliantly develop a very unique blend of satire and serious drama.