Why You Should Read Animal Man of DC’s New 52.


Animal Man has been one of my favorite characters ever since I read Grant Morrison’s run published in the 80’s.  This book cemented my love of this character.  It was weird and wonderful and full of action and adventure.  Plus, at one point Animal Man does hallucinogenics on top of a mountain.  That is clearly awesome.  Many years later, I’m thrilled to see that one of the best things to come out of DC’s New 52 is the brand new ongoing Animal Man series by Jeff Lemire.  Now, Animal Man hasn’t eaten any magic mushrooms in his current book (as far as I know anyway) but he really doesn’t need to as things are crazy enough on their own.  Here are a few reasons why this book MUST be on your reading list.  I’ve tried to leave this as spoiler free as possible so I hope you enjoy!

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No animals were harmed in the creation of this comic. Except for that wolf who totally got ripped in half! Don’t worry though, that wolf was a total dick. (From Animal Man #8)

The Red- So to put it simply, The Red is where all life comes from and what connects it all together.  This is what Animal Man taps into in order to use his powers.  It’s also where freaky “animal-men” live and prepare for battle against the agents of The Rot.

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This is an avatar of The Red. I think those are either tentacles or horns coming out of his face. Either way, his optometry bills must be astronomical. (From Animal Man #3)

The Rot- This is the big bad of the series so far and is essentially the opposite of what gives Animal Man his powers.  Imagine sentient rotting flesh that wants to infect The Red and essentially take over the world.  Yeah, I know, gross. So, if you’re looking for gore then this book’s got you covered.  I could have phrased that better, but I chose not to.

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Do NOT invite this guy to a party. He’ll turn you into a disgusting monster, but worst of all he’ll “forget” to bring extra beers. (From Animal Man #1)

Little Wing-This is the nickname of Animal Man’s daughter Maxine.  She gets these crazy powers from The Red and she works it like a BOSS.  A pack of Rot-infested animals ripped her body to shreds so she just “jumped” out of her old body and used a fox to create a brand spankin’ new body.  That’s just freaky!  Also, let’s just say that she has something to do with the war between The Red and The Rot.

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Don’t worry, she’s just going through a phase. (From Animal Man #8)

Socks the cat- He’s a talking cat!  I don’t care who you are, that’s just plain adorable.  In reality, he is Ignatius an avatar of The Red.  He’s taken it upon himself to guide Maxine and Animal Man during these tumultuous times.  But mainly, Socks is adorable and hilarious!

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Yeah, whatever, you’re a talking cat! (From Animal Man #7)

Animal Man- A.K.A. Buddy Baker. Where is he in all of this?  Oh yeah, he’s an unrelenting bad-ass who will stop at nothing to save his family, not to mention the rest of the world, from all the craziness around him.  Usually, the whole superhero with a family thing doesn’t work well for me.  I normally end up finding it to be too corny or wishing the hero would just leave the kids at home (here’s looking at you Wally West).  Buddy makes it work though, his family is such a large part of who he is that an Animal Man story just wouldn’t be complete if his family wasn’t involved in some way.  PLUS when Animal Man is in The Red he starts to LOOK like the animal he’s getting his powers from.  That’s AWESOME!  Although kind of creepy, but still AWESOME!

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How will Animal Man ever get out of this one? By turning into a creepy gorilla…man…kind of…thing. Just trust me, it’s awesome! (From Animal Man #4)

Those are just a few reasons why Animal Man should be on everyone’s reading list.  If you are looking for super hero action with a mind bending horror twist then this is the book for you.  I hope you give it a chance!  Questions? Comments?  Bring ’em on!

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This is what happened to the last guy who skipped Animal Man’s book. Don’t let this happen to you! (Animal Man #5)

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2 thoughts on “Why You Should Read Animal Man of DC’s New 52.

  1. I was reading the new Swamp Thing early on and recently gave up on it. I enjoyed the amazing art and the story was a thriller, but the gore increasingly ramped up and it became gore-porn. I was like, WTF, sure this is sorta cool, but basically I am paying to see pictures of gore. How can this stuff be mainstream while nudity in comics is so tabboo? I think I would much prefer a comic with a decent level of violence with a couple nipples and sex scenes thrown in, instead of crazy gore all the time.
    Animal Man seems cool but just haven’t gotten into it yet. The cover art is always amazing though.

    • It’s a very gory book but it’s also supposed to be a horror book. Not that that is an excuse necessarily. You can have horror without going overboard with gore. And then there is the argument of what is considered “too much” since everyone has different sensibilities for this kind of stuff. I personally love Swamp Thing and am fine with the level of gore since at the very least it has to do with the story of The Rot. If it was just there for shock value we’d be having a different conversation right now. As for Animal Man, he’s also dealing with The Rot, so you’ll be seeing the same kind of grotesque visuals, but again, they do serve the story and aren’t just there for gore’s sake. Regardless of the gore, Swamp Thing and Animal Man are two of the best books DC is putting out (they are starting to tie-in together with amazing results) so I hope you can give them another chance one day. P.S. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the article!

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