DC’s Zero Month begins this week, and that means we get to see tales from before the New 52. In some cases this might mean origin stories, in other cases it’s something completely different. As for Animal Man we get the former. It’s not as if Buddy’s origin has never been told before, but Lemire delivers a new look at his story that ties into the upcoming Rotworld event.
Read on for my review!
We all know the story; Buddy Baker is in the woods, there’s a crashed alien spacecraft, he’s abducted, the aliens do something to him, and now all of a sudden he can take on the powers of the animals around him. However, Lemire shows us that there was more behind it than a simple “alien abduction.”
Jeff Lemire’s run on Animal Man has been soaked deep in the storylines that Jamie Delano introduced back during his run with the character, including the fact that he’s an avatar of The Red, the force that connects all animal life on earth. Lemire expanded this by revealing early in his run that it was actually Buddy’s daughter, Maxine, who was meant to be the Avatar of The Red. In this issue he finally shows us that this is indeed true, and he gives us the reason why Buddy was picked, and why he needed to become Animal Man.
As far as being part of this comic, there have been better issues, and I’m sure that elements of this issue could have shown up in regular issues had DC not decided to do this whole Zero Month thing, but we get an enjoyable comic nonetheless. This’ll be especially enjoyable for readers who may not have read any Animal Man before this new series, as everything involved will be new material, but for existing A-Man fans, it’s an issue full of references to the characters past, including a certain “Punisher” parody, and the day-job of Buddy’s wife Ellen. At the very least we get an issue full of great humanizing moments for the Baker family as they were five years ago, and we get to see some of Buddy’s rising career as the animal rights activist/hero we know him as.
Steve Pugh’s art holds up as always, though there aren’t really any places for him to spread his wings in this issue. The action is mostly grounded, featuring Buddy in costume rather than delving into The Red. Plus, there aren’t the grotesque agents of the Rot on all the pages for Buddy to beat up, so Pugh’s really illustrating human interaction in this issue, which he always does a fair job of.
If you’re looking for an issue that will show you why this Zero Month was essential on DC’s part, then this won’t be the the one you’re looking for. But if you’re just an Animal Man reader looking forward to the next issue of this series, hoping for an amusing re-telling of his classic origin, then you might wind up more satisfied. Either way, the issue isn’t the most necessary one, and aside from a couple pages that reveal the threat of The Rot is nothing new, I think readers could skip it and be okay to just grab #13 next month.
GO Rating: 3.5/5