Animal Man #1

Well, this was a pleasant surprise. Here’s my book of the week.

I’m not that familiar with Animal Man. I’ve never read Grant Morrison’s historic run on the character, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever read anything featuring him other than 52. For those who aren’t that familiar with the character either, here’s a quick rundown. Animal Man is Buddy Baker, ex-stuntman, part-time super hero, and full time family man. Buddy’s wife Ellen and his two children Cliff and Maxine are prominent characters in a book that is more about a man and his family than it is about super heroics. As Animal Man, Buddy has the ability to tap in the powers of the animal kingdom and use them as he likes. Think Hot Rod, only serious. There’s more to his abilities, but that’s basically all you need to know.

The book opens with a magazine article interviewing Buddy. This is a genius move. A gimmick that could have just come off as an information dump is actually a refreshing history of Animal Man that transitions organically into the story. From there we see Buddy try and halt a hostage situation, and then the book gets into horror/supernatural fare. This is where the issue really hits its stride. The third act of this book is masterfully crafted, and the end of the issue cliffhanger is among the best this week, and one of the best so far this year.

Initially I was not a fan of the art style of the book. The line work is really thin, and the color palette is a little too pastel. However, Travel Foreman proves himself when it comes to illustrating the strange and bizarre. The black and white dream sequence was really refreshing and the Hunters Three, the antagonists introduced here, are as fascinating as they are terrifying.

Animal Man is off to an incredible start. It was definitely the best book in a week that saw a handful of very strong releases. I’ll definitely be following along to see what Lemire has in store.

Rating: 9/10

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