Jeff Lemire reintroduces Animal Man’s origin.
Animal Man #0
Jeff Lemire has done a remarkable job of making Animal Man relevant again. The title is consistently one of the most entertaining comics on the shelves and this issue is no exception. Lemire delves into Animal Man’s origin and reinvigorates it so that it fits in perfectly with the vast mythology he has created.
The narrative moves along at a steady pace as we learn that Buddy Baker was thrown into the role due to complications surrounding The Red’s need for another avatar. Lemire uses aspects of Buddy’s original pre-52 origin and ties them into his vision for the character. It is a clever amalgamation of new and old, which seems utterly fresh. Lemire has used this zero issue to really give his title’s mythology a sense of history and also gives The Red more depth. It is an issue full of exposition, but Lemire handles this well and never allows the title to be drowned by it all. This is due to his strength when it comes to dialogue. It is never overwrought and always seems balanced.
But the whole issue isn’t about The Red as Lemire also focuses on the other important aspect of the book, Buddy and his family. Buddy himself is given the archetypical man down on his luck starting point by Lemire. It isn’t terribly interesting but Lemire runs with it and the moments after he gains his powers is a real joy to read as we witness Buddy’s new sense of purpose. Ellen again gets some great scenes and continues to be just as important as Buddy in terms of the whole narrative. Their conversation about the dangers of the superhero lifestyle takes on a new light due to the fact we, the readers, know how things turn out for the family. The double cliffhangers of The Rot’s plan and Ellen being pregnant also mean more due to this fact.
Steve Pugh delivers this issue and manages to make his mark on this title. His artwork compliments Lemire’s script due to his emotive character work. The grotesque is still there and Pugh goes to town on the gorier aspects of the script. But the visual highlight is the double page spread that depicts Animal Man in the media. It just jumps off the page and really impresses.
So, Lemire continues to build Animal Man’s world and delivers a great re-imagining of the classic hero’s origin. A script that seems fresh and full of character is married to great visuals as Pugh produces his best work of the series so far. It is a great jumping on point if you have yet to experience one of DC’s best titles.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Great origin, art and character work.||not enough of it a month|
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