The less you know about Brooklyn Animal Control, the more you'll enjoy this one-shot. The moment you know what the title is actually referring to and what our protagonist is suiting up for in the opening action, much of the mystery evaporates. With that said, the book doesn’t rest entirely on its premise. Nor are you expected to be utterly shocked by any of its plot. Brooklyn Animal Control plays out like a mob drama. With a touch of Men in Black. But without the aliens. I'm trying to be vague here. It's about the loose cloth of civility people wear to gain a foothold on society. As well, Brooklyn Animal Control is about where one fits in a complex and out-of-touch order built long before one’s time. The major action is familiar, but covers interesting ground.
This is a comic where the solution to a violent problem isn’t assumed to be more violence. It is at times an extremely bloody and gory book. That violence, however, is there to punctuate the rising tension. We're introduced to the mundane details of a world where the fantastic brushes against what we understand to be normal. It's something The X-Files flirted with on occasion; writing up paperwork and tracking cases is still just an everyday occurrence even if the thing you're documenting is impossible. Accounting for the whereabouts and activities of criminals operating on a stratum of reality the world isn't prepared to witness is still a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy.
Stephen Thompson's artwork is characterized by grotesque realism, with realism's inherent inflexibility. But there's a grungy verisimilitude I appreciate in spite of the blandness of it all. I find the two-page layout properly introducing us to our cast worthy of particular note. Here, the book's nature as a police procedural grants an institutional conceit for showing us several characters’ pertinent biographic details as two columns of ID cards. The following page is the flip side of those cards with snide and biting notes from the B.A.C.'s Director. Neat touch.
It has a fairly typical premise. The world we know is a carefully manicured cover-up. A young man clumsily begins to see things as they truly are. We've seen it. But if you can look beyond how well-worn some of its elements are, you can get a lot of entertainment from this book. Brooklyn Animal Control has a satisfying arc that ends with plenty of potential.
Brooklyn Animal Control Writer: J.T. Petty Artist: Stephen Thompson Colorist: Len O'Grady Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $7.99 Release Date: 12/9/15 Format: One-Shot; Digital