Jim – I will state this with every review I write for the DC Relaunch, I’m a Marvel guy so I know very little of the DC world beyond the heavy hitters (Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, etc.), and even to that end I have not kept up with their latest story lines. I found the recent relaunch extremely enticing in that I might find a better connection with these characters. With that said, and knowing nothing about Animal Man, I found myself forced to read the book. Not only that, it literally started with a full page of reading, including an excerpt from a magazine article by the now movie-leading man, Buddy Baker. I found this extremely annoying. I wanted to jump into the story, yet I had to read a full page of description? Sadly it was necessary and set up everything to follow. I still didn’t like it, though. As I flipped to the first page with actual art, I found myself disappointed again. I am not one to usually take the art into consideration, unless it is distracting, thus bad in my eyes. Animal Man fulfills this requirement. I found it unclean and old school, reminiscent of the ’80s styles. Luckily for the sometimes hero, I found the story to be quite good. Essentially Buddy eases back into saving lives with the blessing of his family. His first attempt is successful but not entirely without loss. But the true compelling storyline comes at the very end, as it should. Animal Man’s young daughter Maxine seems to have developed some grotesque powers of her own or has perhaps chosen a sickening hobby. I haven’t decided whether I care to keep up with the book, but I have now become interested in a character I never cared for prior to the relaunch. I will give this book 3 out of 5 Nerdskulls.
Bobby – Animal Man is a character I have heard fantastic things about but never taken the time to read. The DC relaunch being the perfect place, I was hopeful when opening this book. It is agreeable that the art is not of the same style of many other DC titles but I believe it works very well for Animal Man. He is a character who needs a certain level of expression that can sometimes only be reached with a far different style. Jeff Lemire is the perfect example of that. He is only performing the writing duties on this book but his previous works speak very loudly to that point. Check out Essex County or The Invisible Man if you must know. Buddy Baker is not just a guy who can use the abilities of any animal in the kingdom, he also cares for those creatures. He cares if they live or die, and artist Travel Forman emphasizes on those expressions in this book. I enjoyed the art, and the style of writing so I will gladly give this book 5 out of 5 Nerdskulls.
Cubby – Holy Crap! That’s the first reaction I had to this book when I finished it. Jeff Lemire is crafting a truly intriguing and creepy tale of a hero most people used to think was a joke. Those of us in the know…um…know that Buddy Baker is a badass. He can channel the traits of different animals, like flight from a bird, or the vision and reflexes of a fly. In this new universe he spent time as a stuntman and eventually went on to become a famous actor. That’s all good and dandy, but the best part of Animal Man since before this new number one was that he was a family man before a superhero. He actually has something to motivate him to fight evil, unlike say Batman who has a similar drive but for obviously different reasons (if you don’t know why, you need to hit up Wikipedia something quick). The first big surprise was that upon using his power, Animal Man bleeds profusely from his eyes (it’s not a spoiler, there’s way more too it), but nothing seems to be wrong with him. The panel we see it happen in though is truly terrifying, and I’m pretty sure if it wasn’t in the previews online it would have been even more unsettling. I don’t think anyone other than Travel Foreman could have pulled off the tone on this book. He has a wonderfully dirty style that doesn’t worry about clean lines, but instead focuses on great action poses and emotion, which can convey a whole lot more story-wise than any “clean” artists out there. With a last page that disturbs as much as it intrigues, I can’t wait to see where this book takes us. I give it 4 out of 5 Nerdskulls.
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