Animal Man and friends journey to Metropolis as Rotworld continues.
Animal Man #15
Now that we are on part three of Rotworld it seems as if the title is settling into the familiar “superhero in a world gone bad” storyline. Jeff Lemire delivers a mediocre script, as the titles usual uniqueness is left behind in favour for a bland narrative with predictable elements.
Spectacle is an integral part of superhero comics and when done well enhance the narrative no end. However when dealing with a title that has created an identity around delivering a book that is character driven, spectacle can sometimes come as a jarring change of pace. Animal Man has not been without its fair share of action and “oh my god” moments, but it was never to the detriment of the character work Lemire meticulously put into the title. But with this issue that character work is sidelined in favour for more elements to the plot that bring more “oh my god” moments.
That isn’t to say that the book is completely devoid of character work as Lemire gives Buddy a dream sequence that at least plays on the characters love for his family. But it is a fleeting moment that doesn’t stand out on its own as it is also used to service the plot. The usual balance between plot and character the title has enjoyed has gone. Lemire wants to tell his post-apocalyptic epic and he fills the issue with even more plot elements rather than attempt to give any emotional weight to these elements. Without an emotional connection to the story, it is merely events happening on a page. It is a shame that this issue is so shallow when compared to the rest of this titles run.
The motley gang Lemire has put together are still lacking in any real character development and most serve as ciphers for exposition. Each fit into a archetype, if they actually get a line of dialogue. Lemire’s Constantine has little charm and just cracks wise for the sake of it. His Frankenstein is a fun addition, but again he is given too much exposition in his dialogue.
All these negative aspects could work if the plot wasn’t full of predictable and clichéd elements. The blatant red herring of Superman is juxtaposed next too the blatant reveal of how evil the little Arcane is. These are obvious intentional moments to try and build tension and reader expectation, but you can guess the outcomes almost immediately. The fact the characters mention Superman so much is bad writing on Lemire’s part. Although it must be said that the last page reveal is a surprise, but it isn’t enough to save the issue.
However the art is. Steve Pugh and Timothy Green II deliver another splendid looking book. A visual treat in places Pugh’s take on Rotworld is a constant source of enjoyment. The spectacle on show maybe detrimental to the books narrative, but Pugh thrives on it. An army of patchwork people attacking a gorilla’s is as ludicrous as it sounds, but the brutality Pugh manages to pull out of the concept is visually engaging. His characters are just as solid as his action beats, however his pencils don’t really help give any real depth to the narrative on an emotional level. However the characters do look great and react to the situations perfectly, be it the comedic Beast Boy or the cold Steel. Green does better with his characters and his clean style continues to work well next to the chaos of Pugh’s Rotworld. However Green’s pencils do lack the visual impact that Pugh’s have when he deals with The Rot.
So, the book has succumbed to the weight of the Rotworld storyline. Although the art is enough to keep the reader engaged, the narrative is laden with heavy handed exposition and badly delivered “twists.” Although the plot is moving at a great pace, it is so utterly devoid of character work it ends up being a bland experience. If this is what Lemire has been building too since the beginning of the title, then it is a shame that it is so disappointing.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|The art team are still on top form.||The plot is predictable and bland. Character work sacrificed for said plot.|
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