Another excellent issue of Animal Man, this book really has been on a hot-streak since Rotworld ended.
This issue continued the twin plotlines of Animal Man Vs the Splinterfolk and Maxine’s hunt for Cliff inside The Red, but brilliantly combined them in the end for one hell of a cliffhanger (and that’s not just because Cliff’s soul is hanging on the edge). It doesn’t look like Animal Man has a Villain’s Month issue, so it’s going to be a long two months wait to see what the heck is going to happen next.
We open once again with some fun satire of the media, Lemire really is using Buddy Baker’s life as a celebrity to good effect, as the public seem to believe that the battle with the Splinterfolk may just have been a viral stunt for Buddy’s Oscar campaign, which is pretty clever, and depressingly realistic. Lemire’s version of Twitter is very close to how dickish real people can be. Thankfully, Maxine’s journey into The Red is a bit more fun, as she and Shepherd team up with some awesome Animal Pirates to go sail into the Red Sea to try and rescue her brother’s soul. It sounds ridiculous, and it is, but she’s a 4 year-old kid, and these characters were imagined by her, so it makes sense. But come on, you have to love a Pirate Giraffe.
The x-factor in this story is Brother Blood, who, unbeknownst to Animal Man is just about to drink his blood and gain access to The Red, he does so, and immediately, everything goes to shit. Buddy starts freaking out, and so does Maxine, and Brother Blood enters the Red and starts killing cute Animal creatures. I loved the speed of the ending here, and the twist that one of the three Totem dudes was conspiring against the others was brilliant. Brother Blood was always one of the least interesting Teen Titans villains to me, but with this issue, Jeff Lemire has made me like him a lot, and has made him a true threat to Animal Man.
Steve Pugh and Francis Portela’s artwork was once again excellent, they really do fit perfectly on a book that straddles two worlds. I will say though, I am extremely excited for Rafael Albuquerque to jump on board, he’s going to make up for the 2 month wait.