Marvel Reviewer: Niam Suggitt
Animal Man is a character I've never really read much of, I liked it when he was travelling around space with Adam Strange and Starfire in 52, but to my eternal shame I've never read the seminal Grant Morrison run on the character. I'm reading this book not out love for the character, but for Jeff Lemire, I love his Indie work, and have enjoyed his DCU stuff so far. So I'm glad to say this issue is truly great stuff and one of the best DC #1s I've read so far.
Lemire brings us up to speed with who and what Animal Man is in an opening page that's a text-interview with Buddy Baker, we learn that he's kind of semi-retired from being Animal Man, that he's become a counter-cultural symbol, and that he's become an actor. Add to that his family dynamic with his wife and two children, it's obvious that this is not your standard superhero.
This becomes even more obvious when Animal Man heads off to actually fight some crime. The full-page where we see him accessing his Animal Powers is really quite strange and out there, Foreman draws it wonderfully. And then Buddy starts to bleed out of his eyes. It's scary stuff. You can see why he used to be part of Vertigo. This creepy tone is continued into a really nightmarish dream sequence, where Buddy and his daughter are chased by terrifying monsters. Foreman's art, which at times felt ill-suited to the domestic scenes, really comes into it's own here, and Dan Green's colours, which render the scene in only greys and reds, add to the fear-factor. And then there's a real doozy of a last page, sure to hook you in for #2.
Jeff Lemire has written a really top-notch comic here, already Buddy and his family feel well-defined, as does the tone of the book. Animal Man is not the most mainstream of superhero books, but if you're willing to accept something a little different, and maybe a little bit of darkness, then this should be right up your street.
Accessibility: 20/25 (it probably helps to have some knowledge of A-Man's past, but not essential)
Total Score: 86/100