Animal Castle, Vol. 1

Ablaze. Aug. 2022. 152p. tr. from French by Ivanka Hahnenberger. ISBN 9781684970032. $24.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
Dorison (Human Stock Exchange) and illustrator Delep put a medieval spin on George Orwell’s classic 1945 novel Animal Farm in their comic series about a society of animals living in an abandoned castle. After her husband dies, a cat named Miss B. takes a job lugging bricks in order to provide for her kittens. It’s brutally difficult work, but brutality is a fact of life in the Animal Republic, where anything less than absolute obedience to President Silvio—a hulking bull—is regarded as treason and is punishable by death. When a rat called Azelard visits the castle to perform an allegorical play questioning President Silvio’s claim that he’s all that stands between the castle’s denizens and utter destruction by outside forces, Miss B. is inspired to create subversive artwork of her own. She enlists an amorous rabbit to assist her in painting flowers on the castle’s walls, setting in motion a chain of events that soon shakes the foundation of their society.
VERDICT Dorison’s briskly paced script skillfully balances a large cast of memorable characters, all brought to life by Delep’s vibrantly painted illustrations. This edition collects the first five issues of the ongoing series.
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