Review: Animal Man #12

By | August 2nd, 2012
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The prologue to the ‘Rotworld’ crossover begins here folks! The forces of The Rot grow rapidly, and only the powers combined of two old fan favorite characters can stop it; Animal Man and the Swamp Thing team up for the first time. Join me for the adventures of Team Red and Green in “Animal Man” #12.

Written by Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder
Illustrated by Steve Pugh

– Prelude to “ROTWORLD”!
– Continued in this month’s SWAMP THING #12.
– BUDDY and ALEC go into the Rot, and events from the last year of both series are recapped for new readers

Could the soilict for this be any less inticing? No matter. Ignore the solicit and read the book.

Like many a writer at Multiversity Comics, I’m a huge fan of Grant Morrison. A couple years ago I realized that I had never read “Animal Man” and I tracked down Morrison’s entire run on the title. While it is not at all necessary to read the Morrison/Delano “Animal Man” (printed when probably many of us Multiversity readers were in grade school), I’ll admit there has been a couple funny in-jokes for those in the know. Other than that, this has been an ALL NEW ALL DIFFERENT “Animal Man” and it continues to be one of the consitantly great titles of the no longer new 52.

To say the least, Jeff Lemire has been killing it on this title.”Weird DC” has arguably been the best DC in the first year of the relaunch. Twelve issues in and the story has hardly faltered yet and it has led us on a long and merry chase as story lines have intertwined. Issue #12 of “Animal Man” contiues this trend. For starters, Jeff Lemire has recognized and built upon one of Buddy Baker’s true superpowers- his family. The Baker family is one of DC’s strongest and most realistic teams, and they have shined over the course of this past year. In this issue, reader’s finally get a little bit of closure on that time-honored mother-in-law hatefest, which ends in both a classic telling (as I’ve ever seen) and the ultimate endorsement from a hard to win over famimly member. The Baker families devotion to each other is as strong a bond as any Dynamic Duo or Brave and the Bold match-up. What makes Animal Man a more endearing super hero than Batman (or really anybody else in the DCU) is that his actions have a direct effect on the family he loves so much. Its heartbreaking sometimes, and used to great effect in this issue.

Steve Pugh, Steve Pugh. A veteren of the Animal Man mythos, his work had never seemed all that impressive before. You have to give him the benefit of the doubt, though;- it has been practically twenty years since he last drew the character. Like a fine wine, his pencils have improved with age, and now Buddy, Ellen and crew have never looked better. Emotion is carried through masterfully. Travel Foreman will be missed, but he is succeeded by an artist who manages to feel familiar, yet new. Pugh also has a great handle on the weirdness. While his Rot-creatures lack the abilitiy to make the reader vomit upon site, they have just the right amount of wrong. If Pugh continues to be the artists on this title, I won’t be disappointed, because he seems to have a great report with Lemire, and knows how to tell an “Animal Man” story.

The downside to “Animal Man” #12 is that it is obviously part of an ongoing crossover. To know what happens, you have to read “Swamp Thing”. Now, personally I find the connection obvious; if you are reading “Animal Man” then you should’ve been reading “Swamp Thing” anyway. Much like “Grifter”/”Stormwatch”/”Voodoo,” these titles have been connected since the start of the New 52. However, ‘Rotworld’ might also involve ” Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.” and a third title that so far seems uninvolved might spoil the broth. No telling yet though.

With both an orign and a continuation of this story coming out next month, this reviewer could not be more excited. August has always been a horrible month anyway, so bring on September! This series has been overwhelmingly impressive so far, and many more issues of “Animal Man” should be purchased by anyone who is a fan of good comics.

Final Verdict: 7.5 – Buy it. Best read with “Swamp Thing” #12 while eating a salad.

Matthew Boren

Lover. Poet. Former educator. Now that he is here, he cannot be stopped. Matt's love affair with comics started with the Batman and X-Men animated series in the 90's and shows no sign of stopping. When not writing for Multiversity Comics, he enjoys Warhammer 40K, roleplaying games, reading just about anything, and cooking. Matt lives in San Antonio with his girlfriend and cat.