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Review Group The Last Days of Animal Man #1

Starlord had the pick for new comics shipping May 27th and he selected The Last Days of Animal Man #1 by Gerry Conway and Chris Batista.

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The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s Newstand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.
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Review by House of J

This wasn't that great, but I suppose it could get more interesting before it is complete. Part of the low score is due to the art--just like the well-written Morrison series, the art is fairly weak. Some of the panels involving perspective are just baffling. Much of the figure work is stiff. I dunno if anyone told the artist this was the future? Because apparently no new styles of any kind have occurred. It is no comfort to me that chubby dudes in offices are still wearing the same pleated Dockers in the future. The cars look the same. I guess the little computer projecting rigs are sort of futuristic, but the way they are drawn it took me a while to make any sense of them.

One scene involves police directly across from each other firing wildly at the lackluster villain in between--that's just stupid. When what’s-his-name breaks out of prison, the surrounding environment seems to shift panel to panel. One minute it seems like the guy is behind a fence, the next thing you know he seems to be on the opposite side. I gave up trying to figure it out. Or why they took no precautions on handling a super-powered villain beyond handcuff. The future is even dumber than now.

The writing wasn't anything to win any awards either. The narration was tedious, but not as tedious as the scene with Buddy and Ellen. Little stuff thrown in like carbon taxes make me think this book will be heavy-handed with its message--I have a feeling Buddy's power loss will be due to environmental degradation somehow.

Kind of sad this wasn't a better first issue. I think Buddy should kick Ellen to the curb and defect to Vertigo where he can team up with Swamp Thing.

I give it a 5.
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Review by 48THRiLLS

The only DC proper books that I read are those chosen here ...lemme say that this is the best one I have read to date. This was fun, easy to grasp, and the art was beautiful. I really enjoyed this one, I don't know anything about Animal Man, I did not read Morrison's legendary run... hell I could not point him out if he was the only guy in the room. I wanna say again how much I loved the art, I don't know how to explain it other than it was easy on my eyes.

STORY - 8

ART - 10

OVERALL - 8.999999999
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Review by doombug

So...yeah. The last days of Animal man gives us Buddy as we've never seen him before, having problems with his powers, arguing with his wife and questioning his life....wait a minute, we have seen this before.

The only moment I really enjoyed in this issue was the situation with Buddy and the Hollywood director. Other than that? This whole thing really felt like an average comic. It's disappointing for such a cult character and I really hope for the rest of the mini to shape up but for now?

This gets a 6.
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Review by Punchy

Story - This will hopefully be a shorter review than usual (thank God! I hear you cry) as I don't have as much to say about it. It was a perfectly competent book, nothing bad about it, but nothing to make it really stand out.

I don't really know anything about Animal Man, never read the supposedly seminal run that Grant Morrison did with the character in the 80s, my only exposure to the man with the most all-American name in comics, Buddy Baker was in 52 and Countdown To Adventure, were he was teamed up in a sort of ad hoc cosmic team with Adam Strange (one of my favourites) and Starfire, I enjoyed him in that situation, but he remains pretty much a mystery to me. Gerry Conway too is a bit of a mystery, I know who he is, he's a bit of a legendary Comics figure thanks to his work in the 70s, but I've never really read anything he's done. So, a combination of Animal Man and Gerry Conway is not one that's likely to set my world on fire, but as I said, this was a decent, if unspectacular book.

This series is set in the future, (albeit one that doesn't seem that different to now, but how can we criticize Conway for that, nobody knows what the future will be like, he may be the new Nostradamus!), and we find Buddy Baker as an aging superhero, no longer in his prime, his kids are grown, he and his wife are having a few troubles, and most importantly, he seems to be losing his powers. What I liked about this was that we were seeing an older hero, most heroes are young and tough, but this is a guy in his 40s, still trying to help the world, I know there are a few characters who are about that age already, like the JSA, but even though they are supposed to 80 they are probably much fitter than any of us! Buddy isn't, and it's interesting, you can feel his worries about his powers. Adding to the power of his emasculation, the future setting of this series means that it's not in continuity, so you know, he could actually die, unlikely, but maybe. Later issues promise appearances by other DCU characters in this future, that could be interesting.

One of the best things about this comic was the way Conway described how Buddy's powers work, which was interesting and evocative, it's like listening to a choir of Animals, it's almost poetic, and Conway uses it well, that series of panels when Buddy is listening out for the Gorilla and then loses it were perhaps the highlight of the issue. As I said, I haven't read any other Animal Man stories, so I don't know if this is something Conway has come up with, or if it's from the original silver-age stories or from Morrison, but either way, I liked it.

So that's the good stuff, but as I said, it was nothing brilliant, the villain of the story, I can't even remember his name now, Bloodrage or something else Liefeldian, was a bit clichéd, and the troubles Buddy has with his wife are also clichéd. The dialogue, as is to be expected by an old-timer like Conway, was very traditional, nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't help to set the book apart, at least he made some attempts to update his style, unlike a certain long-time X-Men writer ahem ahem.

Overall, this was a perfectly adequate comic, Conway obviously still has a knack for the medium (despite working for crap TV shows like Law and Order), the beats all work, the dialogue while not spectacular does it's job, and I particularly liked his description of Animal Man's powers. It's not flashy, but if you like Animal Man, and are hankering for an old-school story that stands alone (and doesn't rub it's old-school-ness in your face, like a school disco club night), you could do worse than check out The Last Days Of Animal Man.

Hmm, it looks like I did have plenty to say about this, oh well.

Art - I really like Chris Batista's work, it's traditional and not flashy, but he has a very good style, and can draw pretty much anything, from JLA: Crisis Of Conscience, through 52, and other work like Robin he is one of DC's unsung artistic heroes. I'd like to see him work on Superman, his neo-traditional style is a perfect fit for these kinds of stories. Good stuff.

Best Line - 'Now pick out one voice, one single voice. Listen to it'

6/10
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Review by Starlord

Admittedly I read this rather quickly, but I found it just adequate. Nothing really jumped out at me as real interesting, but I didn't find it necessarily weak, either. The art was fantastic; some of the most enjoyable I've seen in a while, actually.

I will continue to buy it because I'm interested in Buddy, but I hope it gets better.

Story: 6
Art: 9

My Score: 7.5
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Review by amlah6

I haven't read much Animal Man at all so I don't know if an 'end' story for the character is the best place for me to start but I liked this comic well enough. Conway does a nice job of introducing the character and his powers and establishing the current status quo. There's nothing groundbreaking about it, but it gets the job done.

I feel like I should be more familiar with Chris Batista's work, but I'm not. I'm not sure I've even seen a comic before with his art, but I like it a lot, especially when he broke panel.

Story: 7
Art: 8
Overall: 7.5
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Review by thefourthman

This was a competent book with a typical narration driven story, nice characterization and adequate art. There is nothing particularly spectacular about the book. It feels like it is really just getting started and then it ends with one heck of a cliffhanger.

Story 7
Art 6
Overall 6.5
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Review by Chubbles

The book was decent but I've already forgotten pretty much what happened and it's only been a few days so that's pretty bad. The art was fine but the story didn't grab me nor did anything really stick out in my mind while reading. I guess it's kind of hard to get into a character when this supposedly is his farewell but still, I would have liked something a bit more gripping.

Story 5
Art 6
Overall 5.5
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Review by guitarsmashley

Let the vivisection begin. Much like I'm pretty sure the majority of comic readers have the only exposure you've had to Animal Man are the three Morrison trades which start out great indeed and was ground breaking in the way it ended(the old I've written myself into a corner and this is how I'm writing myself out of it.) I liked Morrison's animal man but thought the end wasn't very good especially looking back at it.

So we begin with Last Days, The art is the first thing that strikes you Batista who I enjoyed on that JLA arc 4 years ago was pretty alright. What I noticed the most was how he was trying to bring Boland's style to the inside of the comic, this is a great effort but eventually just seems to dull as the issue goes on and Batista just wants to get the issue done, I completely understand his desire to just finish the thing as thats how I was starting to feel.

I'm currently reading a, Lose your powers story in The

So yeah I did not like this issue and with that I give it a 4 with points being scored for the Bolland Cover.

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Spoiler:
Incredibles

and it's not like it's an original storyline to begin with there either. Spiderman, Superman they've all dealt with it...oh wait so has Animal man back when Morrison wrote it 20+ years ago. The villain Bloodrage....Is this the one blood name Liefield didn't TM in the 90's? A lame villain with a lame name. Of course he escapes of course he's out for Blood. I did not enjoy this issue and the best part of it was the Bolland cover because really Bolland can do no wrong, other than not doing interiors anymore because he wants to do everything from start to finish on his own, Damn perfectionists.

Review by Kerny

 

First off let me say I've not read the Morrison Animal Man trades or 52 so my experience with Buddy is limited to...well this.

I thought this was the definition of average. Animal Man is losing his powers, wife is giving him a hard time, (I like how she basically calls him a loser now) and he's getting older. Yadda Yadda Yadda. It wasn't terrible by any means but not that good either

That said, the art was a treat. I enjoyed it more then the story.

Will I be getting the rest of this mini? Nope.

5/10 for story

8/10 for art

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Review by SuperginraiX

I'm not exactly a huge fan of Animal Man. I liked his appearances in 52 and all but it certainly wasn't enough to make me go out and grab anything Animal Man relelated. Odds are, this is one of those comics I would have easily passed if not for this Review Group.

And I'm not gonna go out and get the next issue after this read, so it wasn't enough to make me a fan. Or interested.

Which is typical of this kind of what if story, actually. The last days of Hero "X" has been a running theme in comics over the last decade or so and I believe all the major super-heroes and groups have had minis related to the subject. Now, Animal Man joins that group. The stories can actually be done well but oversaturation has a numbing effect for me. I'm never actually a fan of last adventures whether it's super-heroes or other fiction (though, surprisingly, I love non-fiction detailing this kind of stuff... odd). It's got to be pretty impressive to get me interested.

Still, this story had it's moments. The art was great. It had a sort of Silver-Agey DC quality to it. Very clean. Very smooth. Nicely detailed. The details on Animal Man's powers were also pretty cool. It's probably stuff that has been mentioned before but, to someone who only has a handful of the character's appearances, it's new info.

Everything else is sort of blah. Villain is villainous but nothing to really write home about. He's just sort of going through a script that most of us can see coming before it goes down. Buddy's stuttering powers is always sort of a crappy way to end a hero's carreer. He's losing his powers? That's it? Kinda lame. So the thing probably ends with Animal Man retiring because his powers are gone OR he dies saving lives despite his powers being gone. I mean, those are the two options that story gives us and this thing doesn't seem like it's veer off it's tracks during the telling.

It could pleasantly surprise those that follow it but, if that's how it's gonna go down, I'll save my three bucks for something else.

Last Days of Animal Man gets a 5. Hope it goes better for issue two.

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That gives The Last Days of Animal Man #1 a group score of 6.23.

For further discussion about this issue and our reviews, feel free to join us in this week's thread (http://www.theouthousers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=23768) found in the Newstand forum where you are also invited to join the group by posting your own review.
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GLX has the pick for June 3rd and he has selected Batman & Robin #1 from DC Comics.  Look for the new thread after it becomes available Wednesday morning to join in on the fun.

Batman and Robin #1

Written by Grant Morrison
Art and Cover by Frank Quitely

"Batman Reborn" begins here! With the reunited team of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, WE3, New X-Men), this first issue kicks off a 3-part story arc that can't be missed! The new Dynamic Duo hit the streets with a bang in their new flying Batmobile as they face off against an assemblage of villains called the Circus of Strange. They also tackle their first mission investigating a child who's been abducted by the mysterious Domino Killer. But will everything go smoothly? And who exactly are the new Batman and Robin? The newest era of The Dark Knight begins here!

32pg. | Color | $2.99 US

 

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