What if animals could talk? Would they condone the human’s race position on the food chain? These are the questions Tomek Woroniak addresses in this monochrome graphic novel. Or at least how things begin.
In this world an event dubbed “The Eve” has taken place, wherein the animal kingdom suddenly and simultaneously became sentient over night. We, the reader, enter the life of Simon, a man stuck between worlds. You see, the animals, as a whole, didn’t like the way they’d been treated over however many thousands of years and now they hold the cards. Your worth to society is graded depending upon your eating habits and, well, Simon hasn’t currently received his grading. That’s where we join him, living with his animal co-habitant: a rat that later takes the name Sylvester. Unable to see his parents who have proven themselves unable or unwilling to change their habits and thus consigned to living in a ghetto, and also having to travel across borders, interacting with an elephant border patrol guard in the process, in order to see his girlfriend Maya.
Roughly half way through the tale takes an unexpected turn and then things move at a breakneck pace towards the books conclusion.
That would be fine, however, it’s not. You see, the world building, whilst we only see a small part of it, raises some interesting questions, why and how have the animals found themselves in control? The book suggests humans relinquished their position willingly. But if everyone now has to become vegetarian or vegan, then what of the predators? There’s hints of what their position in society is, but its brushed away as things are kept confined to the relationships Simon has with Maya, Sylvester and his parents, the bigger picture is never addressed.
It’d be easy to see this as a piece of Vegan/Vegetarian propaganda, just going by my description of the tale above it would suggest that this was maybe Tomek Woroniak’s (who provides both the script and the artwork here) intention, but whilst being someone who’s always preferred meat over veg (and admittedly has only really recently done anything to address the amount of veg I don’t eat), it never feels brave enough to be preachy. Serious questions aren’t really asked and instead we’re given a glimpse of a world where the animals take on human-like qualities and mostly squabble over who’s superior between themselves.
Maybe that’s the point the writer is trying to make? That all of the worlds ills: our treatment of those who are different to ourselves, makes us look like uncivilized animals? I don’t know, its not particularly clear nor brave enough, instead, the reader is given the impression of a voice who, like Simon, is stuck, sat on the fence.