Back Issue Bin: Animal Man #7 & 8 “Animal vs. Man”
In recent months, I’ve been falling behind in my Animal Man reading. I don’t know why. Jeff Lemire has made Animal Man one of the most fresh and unique superhero comics I’ve read in years. I’ve just been busy and the Animal Man stack next to my bed has been piling up.
Now that I’m working my way through, I’m almost ashamed of myself for not giving this comic the attention it deserves.
So far, Buddy Baker (a.k.a. Animal Man) has been in mortal combat with the Rot. They’re trying their damndest to murder his daughter, who has started to develop animal related powers of her own.
In Animal vs. Man, Buddy has managed to gather his family and they’re on the run.
Even though Animal Man #7 and #8 are somewhat fill-in issues of the larger narrative, the quality of the storytelling and the excitement of the story doesn’t let up. These two issues, getting the Bakers from point A to point B, are just as riveting as the issues before.
I was pleasantly surprised when I recognised the art of a favourite of mine, Steve Pugh. Apparently Travel Foreman and Pugh are teaming up on the art duties until Pugh takes over as fulltime artist on Animal Man #9.
As much as I loved the art (Foreman and Pugh work seamlessly together), there was a single moment in these comics that raised Lemire another few notches in my mind as a writer.
Lemire has touched on every aspect of Buddy’s character: actor, superhero, animal activist, husband and father. But in this story, there is a truly touching father-and-son moment that had me, a father myself, grinning like a damned fool. Lemire understands that there are many levels and hats that Buddy has to wear, and this is something we seldom see in superhero comics these days. Most superheroes can’t handle being a hero and a reporter at the same time, let alone any other extra curiculum activities. Lemire’s Buddy doesn’t just have a dual identiy, but a mutli-faceted human being.
Add to that a grim glimpse at the future with surprising guest stars, and you got yourself a pretty great couple of comics.
All in all, Animal Man is the best and most unique superhero comic book on shelves today, and I think the single strongest comic out of DC Comics’ New 52.
Animal Man takes what could be just the same old same old and shows the real potential of superhero comics.
If you’re a bit jaded by the current state of superhero comics, this is for you. I encourage you to not only chase down issues #7 and #8, but Lemire’s entire run so far.