This is one of the best titles of the New 52. Already, other titles have begun to experience a drop in quality (Justice League International, Superboy and Legion Lost, among others, spring to mind), but every month Jeff Lemire builds the anticipation in the pages of Animal Man.
The character is not a mainstream figure among the heroes of the DCU, which allows Lemire to take risks that wouldn’t fly in the pages of Superman or Batman. Yes, Animal Man is a superhero, but this is a horror comic without question. Concepts surrounding life and death, growing and rotting and other mature ideas are intertwined throughout all of the action, resulting in a book that is rewarding on an emotional and intellectual level.
Buddy Baker is a character who is married with children, so there are some storytelling opportunities that occur here that would never find a place in stories about single heroes. He has to make difficult choices concerning the good of his family versus the good of the world. It’s more proof that married superheroes don’t need to have their relationships erased through retcon hoop-jumping or magical bargains.
I can not stress enough how much Travel Foreman brings to this book. The art has a perfectly gruesome quality that brings so much to the story. Foreman has to contend with make a lot of intangible concepts a reality and he does it so well that it’s easy to forget that these things don’t actually exist.
In the past few months, there have been a lot of parallels between this book and Scott Snyder’s Swamp Thing, but this month, in both series, it’s become obviously apparent that the books will be crossing over very soon. If you pick up Animal Man, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to pick up Swamp Thing as well. These books are going to deliver.