Review: Animal Man #1

Written by Jeff Lemire, Art by Travel Foreman and Dan Green, Cover by Travel Foreman

Solicitation Info (from Previews): Buddy Baker has gone from “super” man to family man – but is he strong enough to hold his family together when Maxine, his young daughter, starts to manifest her own dangerous powers? Find out in this dramatic new series from writer Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH) and artist Travel Foreman (The Immortal Iron Fist).

Bias: This is another one I’m looking forward to! Though I haven’t read any of his stuff, I’ve heard a lot of good things about Jeff Lemire, and both his take on Animal Man and the plot he has lined up have definitely peeked my interest.

What I liked: Mr. Lemire lived up to his reputation. The story was creepy and sad and wonderfully complex. The fact that the hostage situation involved a gunman who was more than a little sympathetic set what I believe will be the tone of the series. What I mean by that is, this isn’t going to be a straight up “good v. evil, let’s beat up the bad guys!” book. The situations are going to be complex and will no doubt put our hero through the ringer, emotionally.

What I disliked: I kept going back and forth with the artwork. In general, Travel Foreman uses details to draw the eye – the focal point of the panel is detailed while the unimportant aspects are left vague, and I like that concept in theory. Unfortunately, while some of the detailed bits are brilliantly illustrated, others are messy to the point of distraction. It doesn’t help that I don’t care for the new costume, either. Maybe it’ll grow on me – and I do like the open mask aspect, given the character’s background – but I really did prefer the design of the old costume more. The only other gripe I had was the very first page of the comic: I know what Jeff Lemire was trying to do, but I feel showing the cover of the magazine along with a few more lines of explanation on the following page (which would’ve fit easily into the conversation already there) would’ve done the job better. I dunno: part of the joy of comic books is the combination of words and art, so big blocks of text with no art just feels…wrong to me somehow. By the by, I know I spent more time on what I dislike than what I liked, but that’s because going more into what I liked required spoilers (so definitely see the comments section for more!) The dislike category as a whole didn’t hold a candle to the like category.

Verdict: I’m definitely collecting every issue of this title – even with all its faults, this is my favorite title so far of the DCnU!

As always, SPOILERS in comments, including my favorite scene, thoughts on what happened, and questions about what’s to come.

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One response to “Review: Animal Man #1

  1. My favorite scene is by far the dream, especially the reveal of the Hunters Three. It was creepy and surreal and the artwork matched everything perfectly here. I found myself rereading it, trying to memorize every detail, as I have a feeling it’s going to be prophetic for what’s to follow in the rest of the series. I do want to give an “honorable mention” to the scene in the children’s hospital. The fact that you feel bad for the gunman really set the stage for what to expect from this series. Namely, that the situations aren’t cut and dry, and the bad guys aren’t always evil. I wonder if this will apply to the Hunters Three, or only to how they relate to Maxine…

    The first question, of course, is why did Animal Man’s eyes bleed? I think it was tied to his use of his powers, though he did use his powers to fly there, so maybe only when he goes all out with them?
    Also, is the dream prophetic? What is Maxine going to do to Ellen?
    Who and what are the Hunters Three, and how do they relate to Maxine? I’m pretty sure their tied to Maxine’s abilities on the last page of the comic, but what does it mean to be her “true fathers” (or is that even true?)
    I get the feeling that defeating the Hunters Three (assuming their real and not just a metaphor) will involve what Maxine tells her father in the dream, namely, shutting down higher brain functions to be akin to an animal, and to follow the tree (the Green/Swamp Thing maybe?)

    The Mysterious Hooded Woman from Flashpoint #5 showed up on page 18, on the bottom panel, in the crowd in the hospital. (This was one of the preview pages, so this came as no surprise, of course.)

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