Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Animal Man #1 - Review

A FRESH TAKE ON BUDDY BAKER


Buddy Baker has had a full life. He's been a Hollywood stuntman, a superhero, an animal activist, and now is starring in a movie about washed up superheroes. Though he tries to juggle his family life and whatever it is he has his hands tied up in at the moment, Buddy has always made sure to be true to himself no matter what he's done. But something strange is going on with Buddy, and a horrible nightmare about his family being killed brings actual horror in his life. What darkness does "The Red" have for the Baker family and for the world?

Jeff Lemire has knocked this one out of the park. After the fake interview with The Believer on the first page I knew I was in good hands. It was a really clever way to sum up the story for those who aren't familiar with it and give a broad picture of who Buddy Baker is. The artwork by Travel Foreman and Dan Green is incredible. As soon as I got to the panels I knew that this was the type of book I was looking for in the new DC Universe. It manages to keep its Vertigo style while becoming part of the larger mythology that holds characters like Batman and Green Lantern.

I really enjoyed the fact that Animal Man has realized that you can't solve every problem with your fists, and that it's better for him to take a backseat role in order to try and help the planet. He's idolized by the young and hip youth because he isn't afraid to speak his mind and take on issues that don't relate to cosmic threats. Although, as Baker said himself, he's had his fair share of them.

The dialogue and captions were well written, the artwork was paced perfectly, and I really had a stake in Baker by the end of the first issue. I'm not huge on his new costume, as I preferred the yellow accents and leather jacket, but as a whole I think this might be the best comic book I read all week. It has the mixture between superhero, drama, and horror that gives this book an edge over some of the other newly relaunched titles at DC. This is the new series I can say without reservation that people should be reading.

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