Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Comic Review: Animal Man #1

With my recent reawakened interest in comics I was mildly interested in DC Comics relaunch of all its major titles.

I do say "mildly" as I really have no interest in Batman, even less interest in Superman and less than no interest in Batgirl, Spiderman, etc.  The standard DC (and Marvel for that matter) superheros bore me to tears.

Then I heard about Animal Man.

Every Tuesday I read over a brief summation of what comics are coming out on Wednesday in hopes that something of interest may appear.  More often than not I am vastly disappointed.

With Animal Man though I was presented with a character who, while existing within the DC superhero universe was far more of an ordinary person with a wife, two kids and all the troubles that come with it.  The comic itself was described as a mix of both standard superhero fair, everyday life and horror.  This sounded interesting.

I picked up two editions of issue #1 (one to read, one to put away untouched) without knowing it was already sold out and selling for more than double its face value on the Internet.  Reading issue #1 I was at first put off a bit by the art which I still am not sure I enjoy.  Its too flat.  Not nearly enough detail where needed and too much where its not needed.  The depictions of Buddy Baker's (Animal Man's "normal" identity) wife come foremost to mind as she appears blank, without features and blocky.

So why do I intend on picking up the second issue of this series?  The final four pages of issue #1 and the overall writing are to blame.  In the final few pages where we go from a dream sequence to Buddy Baker's back yard are phenomenal.  The art here is MUCH better with the detail on the horrific monsters invading his dreams, really well done and then the final frame where Baker's daughter (who must have some similar powers) has called the local dead pet population up out of the earth to come play with her, is just great.

The level of writing is excellent throughout the book, containing humor, empathy, fear, boredom and a whole host of emotions that are well conveyed.  We get to see Buddy Baker's home life, his superhero work and some of his inner demons.  Jeff Lemire, the writer, is currently best known for writing the comic title Sweet Tooth but has evidently found time to pen this title as well.  His depictions of normal humdrum life mixed with terror and superhero action is top notch and suspension of disbelief easy.

If Animal Man #2 can continue where the final pages of Animal Man #1 left off I could be hooked for some time...

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