Animal Pound #1 Review: Orwell That Ends Well

Animal Pound #1 review

Tom King and Peter Gross take a modern bent on George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm in Animal Pound #1 from BOOM! Studios.

We reviewed the book on the Stack podcast. But in the interest of highlighting more about the title, here’s a summary of the conversation with our thoughts. And if you prefer the longer audio version, that’s below as well!

Powered by RedCircle

Animal Pound #1 Review:

The dogs and cats are revolting! Also, they’re sick and tired of their treatment by the guards who run the animal pound and decide to take the building back for themselves.

Kicking things off, host Alex Zalben explained that while Animal Farm is an allegory for the events leading to the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the rise of Communism, Animal Pound is supposed to be about the idea of a two-party system subsumed by fascism. And while he “really liked that idea, the first issue, reading it… This is still Animal Farm.” Presumably, more will spin out as the comic continues, but as Zalben felt the pitch wasn’t quite clear from the first issue, nor how the title separates itself from the source material.

Justin Tyler disagreed, lauding the book’s approach as “a smart way to take the ideas of Animal Farm, update them, and make them more pertinent to our own political system… Tom King really sneaks up on the idea and doesn’t rely on you having to have read Animal Farm… It’s well told and spun out in a great way with characters that you are on board with.”

Pete LePage called the book “heartbreaking on top of heartbreaking” when it comes to the sequences of how the humans in the pound treat the animals. “It’s just one of those books where you want to be a part of the conversation,” LePage said. “It’s a big swing and I’m excited to see where it’s going to go from here.”

Zalben, meanwhile “had a lot of questions about what’s going to happen going forward, which presumably, will be answered in future issues… This almost felt like a zero issue to me where we are getting to the point of, where does this diverge from Animal Farm? … I spent too much time reading this issue thinking about questions like, in a farm, there are sources of food beyond the animals and ways that they can eat and support themselves and for their society. It doesn’t work like that in a pound.”

That said, finishing up, Zalben lauded Peter Gross’s art for its depictions of the various animals. “They feel very dynamic. They feel like characters. There are also really nice layouts as the cats and dogs are talking to each other on opposite sides of the wall.”

Animal Pound #1 Official Synopsis:

Multi-Eisner-winning, New York Times bestselling writer Tom King (The Human Target, Mister Miracle), Eisner-nominated industry titan Peter Gross (Lucifer, American Jesus), Eisner-nominated colorist Tamra Bonvillain (Once & Future, World’s Finest), and Eisner-nominated letterer Clayton Cowles (Strange Adventures, Die) team up for the first time at BOOM! Studios for a modern retelling of the timeless Orwellian allegory in ANIMAL POUND this Winter.

When animals grow tired of being caged, killed, and sold off–it’s only a matter of time before they’ve had enough…

After an uprising puts the animals in control of a pound, they quickly find themselves as comrades–united against everything that walks on two legs. But with this newfound power comes a sudden challenge: how best to lay the groundwork for this new democracy.

Visionaries King and Gross give us an updated version of Animal Farm for 21st century America, where a two-party system gives way to fear and facism in this can’t-miss event series.

Leave a Reply