Animal Man

Animal Man 3 (January 2012)

236836_20111102161500_large.jpg
Foreman shows why he belongs on Animal Man this issue. Not because he’s a great artist, but because he can draw disgusting things without making them discomforting.

It’s an all-action issue featuring Animal Man turning into a mutant thing and fighting other disgusting mutant things and… Okay, there’s not much content. However, it’s the first issue where I felt like I should stick with the comic.

Lemire has this one scene–Animal Man’s wife is bitching about the son’s bloody video game, then she herself starts playing it. It’s a tiny little thing, a subtle pin in a haystack of the obvious, but it shows some imagination on Lemire’s part.

Whether Lemire can synthesize subtle character detail and big, gooey action remains to be seen. And he’s a little cheap–the comic’s compelling because a four year old is in danger–but Animal Man is finally rising above mediocrity.

CREDITS

The Hunt, Part Three: Totems; writer, Jeff Lemire; artist, Travel Foreman; colorist, Lovern Kindzierski; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Kate Stewart and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.

The Last Days of Animal Man 6 (December 2009)

624879.jpgUmm. Huh.

I really don’t know where to start, given how Last Days of Animal Man ends. Conway, at the end, makes it something incredibly different, even for an imaginary story, inserting a lot of reality into it, raising a lot of questions, even if the life and death stuff seems like it’s out of a fortune cookie. It’s a strange ending, which breaks the reader from his or her expectations (trips them, more like), and it’s hard to know what it’s all about, because it’s less about something literal, it seems, than it’s about the experience of reading.

I’m wondering if anyone thinks the ending is cheap; I’d love to talk to them about it if they do, because it doesn’t read as cheap to me. It reads as Last Days being about something more than it seems (and succeeding at it).

Maybe I just like superhero stalker stories.

A- 

CREDITS

Live; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Chris Batista; inker, Dave Meikis; colorist, Mike Atiyeh; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Chris Conroy and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.

The Last Days of Animal Man 5 (November 2009)

624878.jpgNo way, there’s a surprise in store for the last issue? Conway really hypes his new villains here, as they take out the League of Titans–or is it the League or Justice–lots of typos in Animal Man, apparently, as the year keeps jumping around (from 2018 to 2024 with something in between). I’m almost wondering if Conway didn’t just have an idea in mind for a final hero story and DC let him do it with Animal Man. Like I said before, as unfamiliar with Animal Man as I am, I have no idea if Conway’s getting all the details right.

This issue is basically all just ramping up to the final issue. There are some okay family moments, but only when read quickly. They’re barely personal to the characters, much less revelatory to the reader (I kept wondering why Ellen didn’t ask about Starfire).

Still, it’s good.

B 

CREDITS

Accept; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Chris Batista; inkers, Dave Meikis and Wayne Faucher; colorist, Mike Atiyeh; letterer, Clem Robins; editor, Chris Conroy and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.

The Last Days of Animal Man 4 (October 2009)

624877.jpgOne of those way too quick issues, with Conway resolving his Animal Man and Starfire making out cliffhanger in a couple pages to give the reader a long action issue. It’s not a bad action issue–though I imagine if I were reading it monthly I’d be a little upset I got done reading it in three and a half minutes–and it does bring up an interesting point.

Why does every writer of every limited series make his or her new villain (who will never be seen or heard from again) the most powerful bad guy known to man (or Animal Man)?

Bloodrage and the Mirror Master girl (she has a name but it’s one of those silly eighties names with about fourteen letters and I’d misspell it) have superpowers almost no one could surmount. It’s absurd they’d go after Animal Man, who’s got mediocre, silly powers at best.

C+ 

CREDITS

Despair; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Chris Batista; inker, Dave Meikis; colorist, Mike Atiyeh; letterer, Clem Robins; editor, Chris Conroy and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.

The Last Days of Animal Man 3 (September 2009)

624876.jpgOkay, with issue three, Conway gives us the full ground situation–2018, sort of sequel to the Infinite Crisis spin-off tie-in thing with Animal Man and Starfire (I don’t know, I’m guessing), with the Justice League replaced by the League of Titans, which is a lame name, but does it mean Superman is a grown-up Superboy?

What Conway does well here–besides the standard traditional superhero stuff (like the villains teaming up)–is write a desperate character as a protagonist in a superhero comic. Animal Man is something of an aloof douche, clinging to his “secret” identity because the “real” one is in shambles. It makes for great drama.

Also interesting is Animal Man’s lesbian daughter. I can’t believe how quietly, in neon, they reveal that one. There’s no indication, either way, Animal Man knows his daughter is gay.

Very nuanced storytelling, even with all the bravado.

B+ 

CREDITS

Bargain; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Chris Batista; inker, Dave Meikis; colorist, Mike Atiyeh; letterer, Clem Robins; editor, Chris Conroy and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.

The Last Days of Animal Man 2 (August 2009)

624875.jpgNow Conway really gets into that eighties vibe with a lengthy expository origin of the villain (of the issue or of the series, the second Mirror Master’s daughter–I didn’t know there was a second Mirror Master) and abandons Animal Man for a bit. It’s kind of rough going, but taken with a gulp of that solid DC Comics nostalgia, it goes down all right.

Different, however, is the “new” Green Lantern–a whale–and the new Justice League (Nightwing, Starfire, other folks, and a black Flash). It’s jarring. Last Days of Animal Man is an imaginary future story? I mean, that’s cool, the kind of thing DC ought to be doing more of, but there really needs to be a label, especially for people like me, who have abandoned DC for the most part these days and need to google to see if the whale Green Lantern is “real.”

C+ 

CREDITS

Rage; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Chris Batista; inker, Dave Meikis; colorist, Mike Atiyeh; letterer, Clem Robins; editor, Chris Conroy and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.

The Last Days of Animal Man 1 (July 2009)

624874.jpgOld time hockey. Sorry, Slapshot reference. Animal Man isn’t exactly old time comic books (Conway’s peak was the early-to-mid-eighties, so not exactly old time), but it’s close. It’s a solid DC Comics limited series, something I always used to rely on. Under the Didio administration, they’ve failed for the most part, at least as far as superheroes are concerned.

I’ve never been much of an Animal Man reader–the costume, I think, put me off–and when Morrison was doing his thing, I was probably into Image or something crappy, so I don’t know where Conway’s characterization fits. But whatever he’s doing, it’s neat. It’s a personable Dark Knight Returns, with aging being the enemy more than anything else.

Batista’s art is really clean and fits the storytelling well.

It is clear, unfortunately, with his return to comic writing, Conway has learned how to do decompressed storytelling.

B 

CREDITS

Deny; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Chris Batista; inker, Dave Meikis; colorist, Mike Atiyeh; letterer, Clem Robins; editor, Chris Conroy and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.

Scroll to Top