With the news that this title is coming to an end with #29, this issue took on added importance and meaning, as it dawned on me that the crazy stuff that is set up for Buddy Baker’s future here could actually happen, that there will be consequences here that count, and man, that is exciting.
Most of this issue takes place on the strange alien world that Animal Man was zapped to at the end of last issue. Buddy is confused, surrounded by weird aliens he doesn’t understand, and most importantly, confronted by a giant rampaging monster that is stomping the shit out of everyone. It soon becomes clear that these aliens seem to have similar abilities to either Animal Man or Swamp Thing, and that they are supposed to be fighting each other. Buddy, along with the giant rampaging monster, is the last man standing, and A-Man is able to tap into the monster’s own power to kill it, which is pretty awesome. I remember starting a thread on the old Newsarama about whether or not Animal Man could take the abilities of humanoid aliens (like say, Superman), and it causing a big row, but this issue would seem to indicate that he can. I dunno, I don’t want to open that can of worms again.
So, Buddy is alone on this weird planet, but he is soon confronted by a weird spindly green dude called ‘The Bridgewalker’ who reveals that the powers of The Red, The Green and The Rot are not simply limited to Earth, that all planets across the universe have their own Reds and Greens, and that the planet they are on, Seed Planet is in charge of keeping the universal balance. The Bridgewalker is dying, and so he summoned a bunch of Avatars from around the Universe to Seed Planet for basically a Royal Rumble to decide who will be his successor. Since Buddy won, he has to become the new Bridgewalker and leave his old life behind and be some kind of cosmic sage. Buddy of course, is having none of this, he desperately needs to return to Earth and save Maxine. He is able to convince The Bridgewalker to allow him to go home, in exchange for, whenever the Bridgewalker does die, which could be weeks from now, could be years, he will return to Seed Planet and take up the mantle. Bridgewalker gives Buddy a ‘godseed’ that will help prepare his body to become the new Bridgewalker, and also gives him back his access to The Red, which is where Animal Man heads straight to.
There, he is confronted by the bodies of all of the Totems, and a ranting King Of Limbs, who basically is going to kill him.
This was a crazy issue that really could change things up for Animal Man. It makes sense that the idea of The Red would be apply to other planets as well, and with this title coming to an end, I could actually see Buddy Baker becoming this ‘Bridgewalker’ and going off into space. I also think that this ‘Godseed’ might be the thing that brings Cliff back from the dead. The art from Cully Hamner was also excellent, he draws some awesome weird aliens, and there were a couple of very cool double-page spreads where the Bridewalker explained stuff to Buddy. It’s a shame that Albuquerque needs a fill-in so soon, but hey, Hamner is pretty much just as good.
I can’t wait for the final 3 issues of this book, it’s been one of the most consistent New 52 titles, and whilst I’m sad to see it go, Lemire is going out on a high.