Animal Castle #1: First Look Preview

Nov 11, 2021

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Animal Castle

Ablaze’s next hit ANIMAL CASTLE arrives December 1st at your local comic shop! If you’re still on the fence about it or have never heard of it, don’t worry- we received a first look at this book and I’ve got all the quick spoiler-free thoughts on it to help you make your decision!

From: ABlaze Comics

Writer: Xavier Dorison
Artist: Felix Delep
Release Date: December 1st

Initial thoughts

Is anyone else getting some Animal Farm vibes? Yeah, me too! It seems that they know that’s exactly what we’ll think when we look at this comic. Is that really what it’s about though?

The Story

Immediately, Animal Castle establishes “cruelty in the name of justice”, a common theme we are seeing resurge in literature lately. Did it ever really leave? Debate amongst yourselves, but it seems once animals take on human roles and traits they are vulnerable to the same mistakes we are. There is a clear power imbalance in this line; dogs, with their few servants being roosters, etc, have the upper hand. They have a “President” who is all too benevolent, which gave me a major President-Snow-Hunger-Games Vibe. While there are all kinds of animals in this, particularly farm animals, somehow, the focus is on the dogs that rule versus our seemingly-innocuous protagonist, a cat named Miss B. It’s a classic cats vs. dogs. Her friend, Daisy, a goose, is constantly trying to educate her.

Daisy reads to me as Alfred Pennyworth does in Batman; no matter what, he is always there to help take care of his “kids” (Robins) and to be Bruce’s moral compass. Daisy is Miss B’s moral compass here, and she helps take care of Miss B’s kittens. It’s only a matter of time before Miss B grows into herself and begins to stand up for all the injustices happening here. She is constantly mistreated for being a “female cat” and for being in low social standing. Most citizens are treated this way; they are starving and living in terrible conditions. They are told it’s for their own safety; it’s justifiable. Well, guess what folks? The animal revolution is coming! Take The Aristocats, Robin Hood, and mix in elements of The Hunger Games, and you’ve got Animal Castle!

The Art

The art is the highest point of this first issue for me. The story mostly just draws us in based on the potential for what’s to come. Felix Delep hits a home run with the art from the start! The animals are all drawn with amazing textures; it’s like I can feel their fur myself just by touching the page. They look so realistic and yet.. they are talking! And it looks natural!

If you know anything about animation, this is something that they are still trying to get right in major films: making animals look as realistic as possible while making them still talk. Well, congrats Felix Delep, you set the new standard for this! The way Delep draws not only the texture of the animals’ skin and fur but the facial expressions? Absolutely phenomenal. I can’t get enough of it!

The coloring of this issue is absolute perfection as well. The muted palette of browns and oranges perfectly creates the atmosphere these animals live in dull, cruel, and starved of life. The world does not completely lack color, but it lacks most of it. I can’t wait to see how the color palette of the book may become brighter with future issues, as the animal revolution goes all out and the animals may start to get some color back in their lives!

Lettering

My biggest concern with the styling of this issue is the lettering. I love how the lettering looks aesthetically; it fits the world of Animal Castle. However, I found the lettering very hard to read. Maybe I’m used to “standard” lettering in comics, but just a heads up! Aesthetically, lettering is great, but for some readers, it may be harder to read.

Final Thoughts on Animal Castle

Animal Castle #1 is a solid start on another animal revolution! The official release promises this isn’t the uprising we are used to and issue one does a great job setting up the potential of living up to this promise. Between some solid basic world-building, some great introductions to characters, and magnificent art that really immerses one in the world, I have high hopes that Animal Castle will continue to get better and better as each issue comes out. Pick issue #1 up because once this gets going, you don’t want to be the one saying you weren’t there from the start!

Be sure to check out ABlaze at all their website.

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