Animal Man #1
This is one that I was looking forward to, based mostly on the creative team. My familiarity with the lead character here was limited to his appearance in the series 52 from a few years ago. Sorry guys, I have not gotten around to the older series, but it is on the eventual list. Jeff Lemire and Travel Forman, with Dan Green are the team behind this issue, and they have done a very nice job.
This book starts off with a text “interview” with Buddy Baker about his newfound celebrity as Animal Man and manages to give you the set up for the current continuity. We can assume that the past for Buddy that we know DID more or less happen, or not. It is up to you depending on your preference and level of familiarity with the history here. Very new reader friendly, really.
Buddy Baker has begun to settle into a life as an actor and part-time hero. His home life is pretty normal, and he is a bit restless. Anchored by his family, he stays in touch with who he is and keeps a level head. His daughter wants a puppy, and things are mostly good. It is when changes in his and his family’s established status quo that things get difficult for him.
This is a reasonably fresh feeling book. Story and art are excellent and fit the book very well. There are sections where Forman inks himself and others where the masterful Dan Green handles the inks, and for the most part, that works quite well. The art is very stylized and funky. My only real complaint here, is that the book is too short to give a real taste of what to expect. Like most first issues these days, this is not much more than a teaser for the first arc. Had they doubled the size, to give us a deeper look, I would likely give this one much higher marks. As it stands, this is a very good book and another excellent building block in the new DC 52. definitely worth a look, particularly if you have not previously been interested in Animal Man. In fact, I am hopeful that is where DC will see the biggest bump, in established readers will take a chance on books they would not have otherwise read. In my case, the creative teams are bringing me over to books that I don’t generally read like Action Comics, Batgirl and this one. The new ideas and premises on books like Detective Comics, and Stormwatch are pulling me on those books. Everybody needs to look closely at the books hitting the shelves this month from DC. I have been pleasantly surprised so far.