This month DC released its first batch of Annual issues, and one of those happened to be for one of my personal favorites: Animal Man! The super-sized issue delivers a tale that reveals some history behind the Red, the Green, and the Rot, but was it worth the inflated price of admission?
Read on for my review!
First of all, let me just say that the cover here doesn’t exactly give you the truth of what happens within the issue. Rather than seeing Buddy Baker and Alec Holland teaming up, this is a story of two of the previous avatars for the Green and the Red. It’s not quite as important to the ongoing tale as it could be, but that’s what Annuals are really for- telling stories that stand on their own.
The issue ties into the main story by having it narrated as a tale that Socks, the previous avatar of the Red who is traveling alongside Buddy, is telling to Maxine Baker to reveal to her some of the history of the war that’s about to break out. That story gives us plenty of the action and grotesque-ness that we’ve come to expect from the series, but it’s set in the late 1800’s.
There are plenty of interesting points within, such as this former Swamp Thing’s explanation of the Green and the Red to the former avatar of the Red, the fact that there’s only the “Hunters Two” rather than the Three that we have in the main story, and a vision of Buddy speaking to his predecessor. All in all, Lemire does sew some interesting threads here that I’m sure will come back into play in the future of this series and of Swamp Thing, but it’s still an optional read for those who don’t feel like forking over the extra dough.
Timothy Green II takes over art duties for this annual, and he does a pretty fine job of illustrating the story here without being too large of a detachment from Travel Foreman or Steve Pugh’s styles. He does draw Maxine in a really cartoony way, and he doesn’t have nearly as much detail in his linework as the other two artists on this series have, but he’s certainly a suitable artist for this issue.
Overall, this issue does what an Annual should do, and delivers an extra-sized story (for an extra-sized price) that can be read as part of the series or as a one-and-done story. Fans of the series should enjoy it, but I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone who hasn’t been reading either Animal Man or Swamp Thing in the past.
GO Rating: 3.5/5