Ant Colony

Michael DeForge. Drawn & Quarterly, $21.95 (112p) ISBN 978-1-77046-137-6
DeForge’s quasi-philosophical graphic novel about a collapsing ant colony begins with dark humor and travels in circular fashion through bleak tragedy and the occasional bout of slapstick. The ant characters are a mixed bunch: a police officer, the queen ant herself, and a child who is treated as a prophet. But most of the story revolves around a pair of male lovers, who resent having to sexually service the queen for no good reason. Their dialogue is deadpan and played mostly for laughs (“I’m extremely uncomfortable around cops. Also, I am a pacifist”). That is, until war breaks out against a marauding band of red ants that have been leaving the savaged corpses of black ants like the victims of a serial killer. The threats are many—marauding spiders and humans wielding magnifying glasses are among the ants’ greatest fears. With an existential crisis spreading through the colony, there’s an echo of Beckett and “I can’t go on. I’ll go on” rippling through these pages. DeForge’s bright, twisted art brings a further uncertain kick to this epic farce. The laughs are many, but they are dry and brittle ones. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/03/2014
Release date: 01/01/2014
Genre: Comics
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