Jeff Lemire continues to tell two separate, but two very interesting stories in the pages of Animal Man.
Let’s start with the titular hero, and in this issue, Buddy continues his conflict with not only the creepy-ass Splinterfolk, but also the media. I find these new villains incredibly creepy, and most of that is down to Steve Pugh’s artwork, these things are true grotesques, it’s actually quite hard to look at them, which is actually a good thing. The motivation behind these guys is pretty interesting too, they were animal activists who wanted to be more like the animals, and wanted the same powers that Animal Man has. There’s a cool irony here in that the people who are claiming to love animals and want to be like them are experimenting on and killing a load of animals to get what they want. The end of this issue reveals that the Splinterfolk are actually working alongside a more familiar supervillain, and that’s Brother Blood. I haven’t been reading Teen Titans, so I don’t know if he’s been appearing there, but he’s a pretty cool villain at times, and it’s always good to see characters normally very closely associated with one particular hero or team, fight someone new.
I also liked how Lemire continued the media intrusion plotline, and sort of twisted it around, because at the end, the Paparazzi following Buddy is what saves his life. See, they aren’t all bad!
The other plotline here is Francine, who whilst inside the Red, finds a ‘Field Of Organs’ and tries to bring her brother back to life, with predictably disturbing results. She can bring Cliff’s physical body back to life, as a creepy husk, but she can’t bring back his soul. This is really dark stuff, especially since it involves a little kid, and it’s very well done.
Once again, the two artists are very well-suited to their segments, both can handle the weird body-horror stuff, but Portela’s style is lighter and more cartoonish, so it suits the adventures of a kid in a magical, albeit disgusting realm very well. My only problem with this comic is the cover, which whilst rather effective, looks like an unfinished sketch from Jae Lee, rather than some actual art.