After a very long arc stuck in Rotworld, Jeff Lemire has finally brought Animal Man out and back into doing its own little thing. The past two issues were a step in the right direction, but also extremely sad and tragic. With a brand new arc about to begin and a new villain on the horizon, can Lemire keep this momentum up? Also, is it good?
Animal Man #21 (DC Comics)
Still dealing with the aftermath of Rotworld and his wife leaving him, Buddy Baker has been really out of it and down in the dumps. To get his mind off of things, he decides to get back into the action as Animal Man once more and investigate the mass abductions of pets and animals in the area as his fame starts to skyrocket. Meanwhile, Maxine decides to pay the Totems a visit to work on a plan.
Also, there will be tweeting. Lots of tweeting.
As the opening to a new arc, it’s about what you expect. Mostly just setup: establishing what the goals will be for the characters, the introduction of the villain and mystery, and setting the tone and scope of everything this time around. While this could be just plain, typical setup, Lemire makes this more interesting by making the mystery and villain much more unnerving and creepy so that they get stuck in your mind. If you thought he was letting up on the gross factor after Rotworld, you’ll be in for a surprise here. Also good is the fact that emotion is still strong from the characters and the constant twitter feed, while possibly annoying with its inclusion all over the place, does allow the reader to see how the outside world is reacting to everything and how the fame is really starting to get worse and worse for Buddy.
Also, I’m pretty sure most people would tweet half of this crap if this story was true.
- The emotion is still strong
- The new villain and mystery behind him (her?) is rather intriguing
- Great artwork
- Still typical setup in general
- The constant barrage of tweets will either endear you or annoy you
- If animal violence bothers you, you may want to step away
Steve Pugh and Francis Portela both draw this issue and their stuff is pretty good. Both carry out facial expressions very well, capture the creepiness of the oddities in both the real and Red worlds, and really get a lot of the emotion of the characters down well through also their body language and their movements. The difference between both the artists’ styles are obvious and pull you a bit out, but both of their styles are used a bit effectively in a way. Pugh draws the entire real world where we see Buddy Baker in and Portela draws the world where the Red is in, so it helps separate and make the worlds feel different from one another.
Is It Good?
Yes. It’s a very solid opening issue for a new arc. Typical in setup, but strong in the emotion and how unsettling things are. If Rotworld put you off, there’s never been a better time to return to this series.
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