Comics Review: Animal Man #1

Writer Jeff Lemire has a real knack at conveying the intimacy of the little moments in life, and it helps give the family scenes- as well as the issue as a whole- an emotional resonance that is lacking in most mainstream comics.

Written by Jeff LemirePencils by Travel ForemanPublished by DC ComicsPrice: $2.9932 pagesIn stores now! It might not have the big name draw that some of the other books being released this week have but Animal Man # 1 still arrives on a tidal wave of anticipation, thanks to the character's cult following and writer Jeff Lemire's excellent track record. A-Man hasn't had his own ongoing in quite some time but, thanks to a legendary run by Grant Morrison and a fan-favourite appearance in the weekly series 52, his popularity has never waned. The first few pages do an excellent job of establishing Buddy Baker's status quo, so that that even if you've never read an Animal Man comic in your life you'll quickly be brought up to speed with everything from the life web (the source of his strength, which connects him to the powers of animals) to his complex family life. DC should be commended for their strategy with this relaunch as, on the whole, the books are all proving to be easy jumping on points that welcome new readers with open arms. Based on this first issue, Lemire's take on A-Man looks like it's going to focus heavily on Buddy's relationship with his wife Ellen and their two children, Cliff and Maxine. Judging by the excellent opening scene that details this complex family dynamic, this can only be a good thing. Like his Vertigo series Sweet Tooth and the graphic novel Essex County Trilogy, Lemire has a real knack at conveying the intimacy of the little moments in life, and it helps give the family scenes- as well as the issue as a whole- an emotional resonance that is lacking in most mainstream comics. Lemire has stated that he plans to take Buddy and his family to some very dark places, and if this issue's cliffhanger is any indication then Animal Man could end up being as emotionally devastating as the writer's creator owned work. Travel Foreman's art has something very off kilter about it, displaying a certain idiosyncrasy that lends itself well to the unique tone that Lemire has created. He depicts the opening family scene with a sprawling layout that effectively reflects the madness of Buddy's home life, and his facial expressions are spot on, perfectly capturing the emotion. He handles the moments of horror well too, with some truly memorable images. This book is pretty close to perfect, but a clumsy dream sequence towards the end signals the direction of the plot a little too heavily, dampening the effect of the climax. Still, it's a fantastic start to the character and I'm already eagerly anticipating the next issue. As long as Lemire is on board this title, I'll be sticking around for the long haul.

We need more writers about DC, Reboot, Jeff Lemire, Relaunch, the new 52, Animal Man, Sweet Tooth, essex county trilogy and buddy baker! Get started below...

Create Content and Get Paid


Contributor

Dean likes words. He also likes pictures. One day he would like to combine them to make a beautiful picture-word baby. Follow him @deanthreadgold for daily updates on all things comic book related (and some things unrelated).