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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!