Thursday, May 31, 2012

Animal Man Annual #1 - Review

Animal Men of the past

Maxine is told an old story about the avatars of The Red, The Green, and The Rot back in the late 1800’s. The story is very similar to her family’s situation, but in the previous incarnation of the Red avatar, many lives were lost. War is coming. The only question left now is – can Maxine be prepared for the battles ahead?

The first Animal Man annual issue was a powerhouse of fun storytelling and great action sequences. It really captures the mixture of superhero and horror that has made this book one of the best in the New 52.

Jeff Lemire used the annual as a chance to build the history of the different elements that are constantly at war with each other. The Swamp Thing of the era, Jack Crow, and the Animal Man of the era, Jacob Mullin, are very intriguing characters. The parallels between Alec Holland and Buddy Baker are there, but they exist well on their own. This annual has really cemented the fact that, like members of the Green Lantern Corps, that the titles of Swamp Thing and Animal Man/Woman can be passed down throughout the ages to the worthy.

The artwork by Timothy Green II is very strong in this issue. He captures the line style that’s been present in all of the Animal Man issues so far, but puts his own spin on it when it comes to the designs of The Rot and the movement of the characters. There was even a great depiction of Buddy Baker in a panel that was a great mix of the classic and modern look of the character. There were some great panels of Jacob battling the rot and utilizing his new powers that really make you excited for his skill set.

One thing that’s really gotten to me personally as a reader of this series is how incredibly cool it would be to have Animal Man’s power set. It’s always been overlooked on the playground and those late nights around campfires and six packs when debates between “who would be who” take place. But I think my answer next time will be Animal Man if we’re talking about the DC realm of things.

So the bottom line – is this annual worth the $4.99 price tag? You bet it is.

RATING: 8/10*

*Because of the increasing number of very good comics lately, I’ve decided to up my rating level from 5 to 10. Why? Because it’s getting hard to explain within the classic 5 rating how much I enjoyed or didn’t enjoy something when so many things have been good lately. I just feel that it’ll give it more range and variety.

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