By Matthew Rapier
Things are looking bleak for Buddy Baker and Maxine inside of The Red. A few creatures from The Rot infiltrated their current surroundings and Maxine is rendered too scared to even look at her father being destroyed. One of the Totem’s reassured Maxine that even though the creatures are powerful, The Red is not their dwelling. She turns in anger and screams at the monsters and they are blown to bits, being sent back to the darkness.
Maxine begs the Totem’s to help mend her father but they tell her that she is the one to help her father. She closes the wounds together and molds his skin back as if it were clay. The Totem’s then explain that those creatures from The Rot were once pure beings of The Red, but they wanted more and became corrupted, turning them into The Hunters Three. It’s revealed that Buddy and Maxine aren’t alone and that Alec Holland can be of help to them. The cat like Totem decides to join the two out in the real world to help protect them should they be threatened again. At the home of Ellen’s mother, one of The Hunters Three, still bearing the appearance of the detective, drags that man and Buddy’s son, Cliff, out into the woods. The detective tries to escape, but is grabbed up and screams in horror. Ellen hears the danger and rushes out to the woods with a shotgun.
Maxine and Buddy arrive back at their home to find Cliff and Ellen missing. Maxine then names the cat totem ‘Socks’, as he and Buddy sniff the scent of the horrible creature from The Rot. Back in the woods Ellen reaches her son who is crouched behind a rock. The Hunter, now in it’s true form, is engulfing the detective, ripping his body into shreds.
Jeff Lemire has quickly found himself as one of the top writers at DC Comics. I was first introduced to his work on Sweet Tooth and many have raved about his Essex County graphic novels which are on my ‘must read soon’ list. I think it could be easy for anyone to dream up these weird creatures rooted in horror, but Lemire has also thrown the family relationship of Buddy Baker into these strange stories which is what makes this book so fun each month. You see Buddy fending off the creatures in The Red, trying to do everything he can to keep his daughter safe while constantly worrying about his wife and son on the outside.
As for Travel Foreman’s art I will say this; if he were on a Superman, Flash or Green Lantern book people might wonder exactly why DC hired this guy. His style is scratchy and rough, not very pretty and some of the images he has created will give me nightmares I’m sure. For that reason, he is the perfect fit for the world Jeff Lemire has created for Animal Man. Without being able to see some of the monsters brought to life by Foreman they wouldn’t have the same effect. DC has wisely chosen these two lesser known individuals for a character who could definitely be classified as a C or D list hero. The three together have now become one of the most critically acclaimed books of DC’s new 52. I hope they keep this creative team together for a long time because this is stuff that helps DC broaden the horizon.
Overall Grade: 10/10