Wednesday, July 31, 2013

365 Comics... 212: Animal Man Annual #2 (2013)

I seem to be one of the few comic book reviewers that actively liked the Rotworld epic that dominated much of the New 52 runs on Animal Man (and Swamp Thing).  The critics that boosted Animal Man early in its run seemed to like the creepy undercurrents of the book which was somewhat muted by the epic (time-traveling) nature of Rotworld. 

Where Scott Snyder gave Alec Holland a bittersweet reunion with Abby at the end of the arc, Jeff Lemire gave Buddy Baker grief, with the death of his son, Cliff.  With Damian Wayne dying shortly before its been interesting to see how the two very different heroes deal with the tragedy, with Buddy's support network falling through versus Bruce pushing his away.  Buddy's grief has naturally dominated the book in the months since, and utterly consumes the second Animal Mannual.

For those early fans who felt like things were going askew and didn't like the artistic and tonal changes, this one is for them (and, well for fans of the series who keep supporting it).  Original series artist Travel Foreman is back on the book, which allows itself to pretty much summerise what Animal is: it's about family, a little about the underdog and about some weird-sometimes scary... its actually a beautiful if sobering read, running through all manner of emotions from start to finish, from complete despair to melanchoIy joy to some crazy fear.

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