By: Mark Cormier
At the risk of sounding like a Marvel fanboy, there is a remarkable Spider-Man like quality about Animal Man. Unlike most of the characters in the DC Universe who are superheroes first and mild-mannered secret identities second, Animal Man is Buddy Baker first and Animal Man second. His superhero career is a means to an end, specifically to support his family.
At the same time, however, Animal Man still retains a unique DC quality to it. Like Superman has Supergirl, or Batman has Robin, or Wonder Woman has Wonder Girl, many of the superheroes in the DC Universe have established a legacy for their name to live on. In Animal Man’s case, it appears that his legacy may live on in his daughter Maxine, who is exhibiting powers even beyond Buddy’s own abilities.
This issue goes a long way towards establishing more of Animal Man’s mythology, strangely enough with a five-year old girl as its mouthpiece. Much like Swamp Thing is connected to the proverbial plant energy called the Green, Animal Man and his daughter Maxine are connected to the Red (the proverbial animal energy, also known as the Morphogenic Field or the Life Web.)
There’s still enough mystery to make me want to come back for more, and Maxine’s otherworldly certainty is more disturbing than it is reassuring. Her role in this story feels less Harry Potter and more … Children of the Corn.
The main thing that Lemire truly nails in this issue is the dialogue. The characters involved in this story live in a basic suburban reality; even if the characters involved have their foot in the doorway between the mundane and the surreal. No matter how strange and unusual the story becomes, the narrative is focused squarely on Buddy and the family man dynamic.
Travel Foreman’s artwork continues to impress as well, as he illustrates the organic elements of the story in vivid, glistening, slimy, bulbous detail.
This issue definitely lives up to the first issue’s reputation.
Overall Grade: 8.5/10