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Animal Man, Volume 1: The Hunt

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One of the breakout hits from DC Comics – The New 52! Buddy Baker has gone from "super" man to family man – but is he strong enough to hold his family together when Maxine, his young daughter, starts to manifest her own dangerous powers? As these new abilities continue to terrify Buddy and his wife Ellen, things take a turn for the worse as Buddy and Maxine begin a journey One of the breakout hits from DC Comics – The New 52! Buddy Baker has gone from "super" man to family man – but is he strong enough to hold his family together when Maxine, his young daughter, starts to manifest her own dangerous powers? As these new abilities continue to terrify Buddy and his wife Ellen, things take a turn for the worse as Buddy and Maxine begin a journey into the heart of The Red. Don't miss the amazing series from writer Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth) and artist Travel Foreman (The Immortal Iron Fist)! Collecting: Animal Man 1-6


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One of the breakout hits from DC Comics – The New 52! Buddy Baker has gone from "super" man to family man – but is he strong enough to hold his family together when Maxine, his young daughter, starts to manifest her own dangerous powers? As these new abilities continue to terrify Buddy and his wife Ellen, things take a turn for the worse as Buddy and Maxine begin a journey One of the breakout hits from DC Comics – The New 52! Buddy Baker has gone from "super" man to family man – but is he strong enough to hold his family together when Maxine, his young daughter, starts to manifest her own dangerous powers? As these new abilities continue to terrify Buddy and his wife Ellen, things take a turn for the worse as Buddy and Maxine begin a journey into the heart of The Red. Don't miss the amazing series from writer Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth) and artist Travel Foreman (The Immortal Iron Fist)! Collecting: Animal Man 1-6

30 review for Animal Man, Volume 1: The Hunt

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    A darker, edgier Animal Man, combining the best of Grant Morrison's seminal run, with a new, comprehensive mythology, and some mind-twisting visuals… The result is a most pleasant surprise. A smarter, more adult-orientated story that is my early choice for BEST of DC's New 52. For this reboot, DC wisely chose to retain Morrison-created persona of Animal Man as a vegan, eco-friendly pacifist, and politically active champion of animal rights. To this foundation, writer Jeff Lemire added a t A darker, edgier Animal Man, combining the best of Grant Morrison's seminal run, with a new, comprehensive mythology, and some mind-twisting visuals… The result is a most pleasant surprise. A smarter, more adult-orientated story that is my early choice for BEST of DC's New 52. For this reboot, DC wisely chose to retain Morrison-created persona of Animal Man as a vegan, eco-friendly pacifist, and politically active champion of animal rights. To this foundation, writer Jeff Lemire added a terrific new backstory and hefty dose of edgy, while artist Travel Foreman knocked the cover off the ball with trippy, but truly amazing imagery. Seriously, who expected to see forest animals treating malicious nasties like some kind of walking buffet. Definitely not what I had envisioned when I picked this up. Bonus. For those unfamiliar with Buddy Baker, he’s a happily married family man with the ability to tap into what he calls the “morphogenetic field.” This allows him to access and assume the attributes of any living creature, including, for example, his favorite “action hero cocktail” comprised of the strength of an elephant, the reflexes of a fly, the speed of a cheetah, and the bark of a dog (this last one is just to mess with peoples’ minds). Anyway, you get the idea. Buddy’s always been one of my favorites among the obscure heroes populating the DC universe, and I have been waiting a long time for him to be given a really good vehicle. I think I've stumbled onto it. As this series begins, Buddy has semi-retired from his superhero gig and has become an icon to the green-living, hipster youth movement, who walk around wearing “Evolve of Die” T-shirts in his honor, and look to Buddy as a spokesman for all things Mother Earth. He's just completed a starring role in his first indie film, his family is healthy and happy, and things seem to be going all right... Can you just smell the shit clouds forming on the horizon? After using his powers to thwart a grief-deranged father with in itchy trigger finger, from plugging a bunch of cancer kiddies, Buddy experiences…well…see for yourself... Shortly thereafter, things only get worse... Unsure of what is happening to him, Buddy begins to have disturbing dreams about a place called “The Red” and a group of walking, homicidal freak shows called the Rot. To add stink sauce to the shit pies that begin smacking Buddy in the face, it turns out his daughter Maxine is a vital cog in the mystery at the heart of Buddy’s body curse, and has an important role to play in things to come. You see, Maxine is… nope…you’ll have to see for yourself. From this terrific beginning things only get better. Buddy and Maxine travel to the Red to learn the origin of the Buddy’s power, the nature of the villainous Hunters Three, and the Rot whom they serve, and the and Animal Man is given a background mythology that looks to be an intriguing playground to be explored. Plus, as a nice bonus, it looks like Animal Man’s world/mythology ties in with another DC character who will play a role in the next volume. This was darker and more violent than I expected, and there are some disturbing images that are definitely geared towards an older audience. While it never crosses fully into horror, it certainly brushes up against the edge of the envelope. I really enjoyed the sequences in which Buddy and Maxine travel “the Red.” They had a dream-like quality that reminded me fondly of “the Outback” from Sam Keith’s The Maxx, Vol. 1. Overall, this was definitely a winner, and I think the makers of this series are flirting with brilliance. Great plotting, wonderful imagery and a well-formed backstory that should provide a solid anchor for Animal Man going forward. I am anxiously looking forward to the next installment. My only advice to DC…Don't screw it up!! 4.0 to 4.5 stars. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Animal Man can use the abilities and powers of any animal. An elephant, a koala bear, a furry kitten. It seems that his daughter might have the same abilities. Even communicate with animals. How adorable? How awesome? How cute is that? Why it’s like that Dr. Doolittle guy? Right? If we could talk to the animals, just imagine it Chatting to a chimp in chimpanzee Imagine talking to a tiger, chatting to a cheetah What a neat achievement that (loud noise of needle scratching a record*) Uh, no. We get Animal Man can use the abilities and powers of any animal. An elephant, a koala bear, a furry kitten. It seems that his daughter might have the same abilities. Even communicate with animals. How adorable? How awesome? How cute is that? Why it’s like that Dr. Doolittle guy? Right? If we could talk to the animals, just imagine it Chatting to a chimp in chimpanzee Imagine talking to a tiger, chatting to a cheetah What a neat achievement that (loud noise of needle scratching a record*) Uh, no. We get recently dead animals frolicing in the living room. Plus, the four year old might get angry and start throwing her power around, so: “ Hey, jack ass neighbor, if you don’t want the head of a lemur monkey you’d better shut up and get the hell back across the street.” It seems that the Rot is trying to squeeze out the Green and the Red and take over the Earth and Animal Man and his daughter (and in Swamp Thing Volume One, Swamp Thing) are all that stands between humanity, trees on one side and the forces of Corpses R’Us from eventually running things on the other. This is a New 52 title that’s done right. Animal Man has a strong foundation in the real world. He has a family, a job, a house, a bitchy mother-in-law. Aside from the whole Rot thing, he struggles with mundane, everyday problems. The engaging storyline and the dialogue don’t have that false Geoff Johns** ring to it. This dovetails into the aforementioned Swamp Thing Volume One, which is also good. *Kids, this is how grandma and grandpa listened to music. They put these round flat discs on a turntable, put an arm with a needle on the outer groove of the black disc and it played music – like Perry Como and Bing Crosby. It was invented by Thomas Edison, who was Stan Lee's pal, when they both were kids. **Anne, I kid. (view spoiler)[Not really (hide spoiler)]

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Not my cuppa. I've never read anything about Animal Man before, so I have nothing to compare it with, but I doubt I'll be going back for more of this story unless I run out of stuff to read. I dislike the style of art used, so that could possibly be tainting my opinion of this volume, as well. I guess if you're a huge fan of Animal Man, then this would be something you might want to check out.

  4. 4 out of 5

    [Name Redacted]

    Incredible. Buddy Baker is a family man with a loving wife and two great kids, who gave up his career as a stunt-man to become a super-hero after discovering his ability to tap into something he calls "the web of life" and which scientists have called "the morphogenic field" -- this ability allows him to call upon the traits and abilities of various animals, but it also allows him to understand and relate to all animal life. This sympathetic connection to the animal kingdom eventually moves him Incredible. Buddy Baker is a family man with a loving wife and two great kids, who gave up his career as a stunt-man to become a super-hero after discovering his ability to tap into something he calls "the web of life" and which scientists have called "the morphogenic field" -- this ability allows him to call upon the traits and abilities of various animals, but it also allows him to understand and relate to all animal life. This sympathetic connection to the animal kingdom eventually moves him to become a spokesperson for animal rights, followed by a brief stint as an actor in an independent film about life as a low rent superhero. His super-heroism days seem to be behind him, and both he and his wife aren't really sure what to do about that. His wife knows who and what he is, as do his children, and all of them are supportive; but what, exactly, is a super-hero near retirement supposed to do with his life? This is everything Snyder's Swamp Thing, Vol. 1: Raise Them Bones should have been but failed to be. The art, the writing, the characterization, the pacing, etc. are all top-notch, and I love this new book unabashedly. Foreman's art style is especially distinctive and lends itself well to what is essentially a superhero-cum-horror title, especially when it comes to depicting the Red and the agents of the Rot. I think my only complaint is that it feels like the story begins in medias res. Everything I described in that first summary paragraph takes place before the book even begins, and that story alone could have made for one heck of a comic book! Throughout this story I felt like we were supposed to have had access to more material than had been provided, and I think it's because of the plan to sync the rebooted "Animal Man" and "Swamp Thing" titles by having their protagonists both rush into conflict with the Rot. To Lemire's credit, he does an excellent job of incorporating that back-story into the text proper without it feeling like clunky exposition or plot-dumping; honestly, I barely noticed it until I'd finished the book! But it still feels like a missed opportunity. I also get the feeling that both Snyder and Lemire are resisting the editorial decision to reboot the entire DC universe, because they both seem to have melded their new mythology of Red & Green vs. Rot with the continuity established by Alan Moore and Grant Morrison in their classic runs. A story similar to (albeit bleaker than) the un-depicited back-story was covered in Grant Morrison's critically acclaimed run on the 1980s Animal Man title, and I understand that DC might not have wanted to appear to retread or compete with Morrison's run, but that older title proved both trippier and sadder in the end than this reboot seems poised to be. I don't think there was any risk of rehashing it. So now I'm caught in a very particular sort of quandary: I want to keep reading Jeff Lemire's "Animal Man" title, but they're determined to have it cross-over with the disappointing Snyder "Swamp Thing" reboot. What's a boy to do?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    I picked this up because I've been reading Swamp Thing and the story seems to cross over--the war is between the Green and Red versus the Rot. Honestly, I didn't like the artwork at all. It made an already gruesome and disturbing story moreso. The drawings were so squiggly and unappealing, and the colors were too muted for my tastes. If the creators were going for a horror tale, they achieved their goal. I love animals, so I like the idea of Buddy (and his daughter) having a connection to the an I picked this up because I've been reading Swamp Thing and the story seems to cross over--the war is between the Green and Red versus the Rot. Honestly, I didn't like the artwork at all. It made an already gruesome and disturbing story moreso. The drawings were so squiggly and unappealing, and the colors were too muted for my tastes. If the creators were going for a horror tale, they achieved their goal. I love animals, so I like the idea of Buddy (and his daughter) having a connection to the animal web of life, but I hated how the Rot distorts this. I am on the fence about continuing this series. I think I prefer the Swamp Thing execution. I'm hoping that Buddy and his family will show on that side and I can get a different and in my mind better perception of the Animal Man concept. Unfortunately, the artwork was such a turnoff, I had to give this one 2.5/5.0 stars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    This is fantastic writing. Immediately establishes this is *not* just a capes and tights story - in fact, is sleeping in different rooms (if not completely divorced) from a superhero book. Instead we get what immediately hits me as a Sandman-style universe, where the boundaries between realities are flexible, the motives of all these foreign beings are mottled, and the hero isn't at all how you'd expect to meet them. Very unusual story with lots of weird, imaginative imagery and lots of visuals t This is fantastic writing. Immediately establishes this is *not* just a capes and tights story - in fact, is sleeping in different rooms (if not completely divorced) from a superhero book. Instead we get what immediately hits me as a Sandman-style universe, where the boundaries between realities are flexible, the motives of all these foreign beings are mottled, and the hero isn't at all how you'd expect to meet them. Very unusual story with lots of weird, imaginative imagery and lots of visuals that I've never seen before. This ongoing is a definite must-watch for me. If Lemire carries *half* the weight of this premise through Buddy's wide eyes, I am a big fan for life. I think moreso because while I thought Sweet Tooth was interesting, the art in the book was so off-putting for me I could never really take the book seriously. Pair up Lemire with a real pro, now we're talking my kind of knife fight.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    I don't think I get the concept of DC's "reboot" of the "New 52" - I thought it meant starting the characters from the beginning so you see how they become who they are and build up the world around them for a whole new audience. Because I expected that with a character I've never read before, "Animal Man", and discovered that this wasn't the case. Buddy Baker is Animal Man, a guy with a crap costume who can channel animal powers (a la Marshal Bravestarr) through something called the Life Web. He I don't think I get the concept of DC's "reboot" of the "New 52" - I thought it meant starting the characters from the beginning so you see how they become who they are and build up the world around them for a whole new audience. Because I expected that with a character I've never read before, "Animal Man", and discovered that this wasn't the case. Buddy Baker is Animal Man, a guy with a crap costume who can channel animal powers (a la Marshal Bravestarr) through something called the Life Web. He's also a sometime Hollywood actor and family man. And it turns out his family, or at least his young daughter, has inherited some of his Animal Powers, being able to control animals, dead or alive. This catches the attentions of some scary monsters in some kind of alternate dimension called The Red who break through to our dimension to steal Buddy's daughter. I love Jeff Lemire, his Essex County trilogy is a masterpiece and I really like his "Sweet Tooth" series for Vertigo, but I could not get into this series at all. Animal Man's story is just lame. Put aside the zany stuff about The Red and you've got a very ordinary man saving his family storyline that's been done thousands of times before. Animal Man as a character doesn't have the depth of other superheroes - he's not tormented like Batman, he's not a demi-god like Superman, he's a happily married guy with a family who sometimes puts on a costume and stops the occasional nutjob with a gun. Ordinary storyline and dull characters aside, Travel Foreman's artwork is excellent. His cover is what attracted me most to the book (I know, I know don't judge a book by blah blah) with its horror appearance and the best parts of the book are his treatments of the monsters with their morphing abilities contorting into ever more grotesque shapes. "The Hunt" didn't make me a fan of Animal Man and isn't a particularly fun read. I like Lemire's work usually and I'm now a fan of Foreman's work but this book doesn't do a good job of introducing the character to a new audience nor does it provide a compelling framework for future stories. It does talk about a crossover with Swamp Thing who I am interested in reading but hopefully that storyline has a bit more meat to it than this anaemic offering.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Calista

    The art work is on the grotesque side. The story is about Buddy and his family. There are two opposing side, the red which is all animal life and the rot which is darkness. The red is threatened. Interesting concepts. The story was engaging and the art was not something I enjoyed looking at, although well done. Maybe this isn't the story for me. It's a deep comic with a lot going on in the story. If you are into grotesque and gore then this is the comic for you.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sesana

    It's a good book, but it's not for me. The New 52 take on Animal Man turns his book into horror, complete with creepy child and eldritch abominations. Normally, I'd have no problem with this. But something kept me connecting to this story. Maybe it was the art, which felt flat and unappealing to me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    RG

    Pretty horrifying and terrifying after the first issue with the artwork and the rot. My first read of any animal man story, seems to have an interesting story, might check out some older story arcs before moving further forwards.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kurt

    This book takes a dorky character to a scary place, and it does it really well. I'm not really familiar with who Animal Man was before the New 52 reboot of the DC Universe, but I hope he was presented as a comedy character - he has 8-year-old boy powers of, "Shweet, it would be cool if thish guy could.. be like animals! All of them!" In this book, Jeff Lemire plays that up for amusing moments (Animal Man sneaks home after a long night by drawing on the weight of a bumblebee, then when he has tro This book takes a dorky character to a scary place, and it does it really well. I'm not really familiar with who Animal Man was before the New 52 reboot of the DC Universe, but I hope he was presented as a comedy character - he has 8-year-old boy powers of, "Shweet, it would be cool if thish guy could.. be like animals! All of them!" In this book, Jeff Lemire plays that up for amusing moments (Animal Man sneaks home after a long night by drawing on the weight of a bumblebee, then when he has trouble falling asleep he taps into the napping ability of a cat - it's all very cute), but the story quickly takes a dark turn into a phantasmagoric horror story, and the reader sees that the silliness in the beginning was largely to enhance the shock at the change of tone. Most of the book is powered by the grotesqueries of Travel Foreman, who illustrates in a spindly kind of Jae Lee style that is absolutely perfect - the simple domestic scenes are just ugly enough to be unsettling, then the surreal bits where Animal Man and his precocious daughter go wandering in a fantasy landscape ("The Red," the web that binds all animal life) become almost indecipherable but completely enthralling. There are some great villains and a powerful indie-movie interlude (our hero has recently starred in a superhero version of The Wrestler, and the reader gets to enjoy a few scenes in an epilogue). As a new reader, I can't comment on how this version of the character relates to what he was in the old DC Universe, but this New 52 version is off to a great start, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the story goes from here.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    Well I definitely liked this New 52 version of Animal Man. It took the potential of the Grant Morrison run and added a new more serious/vicious streak. I also love that it tied itself in with another New 52...Scott Synder's Swamp Thing. I cannot wait to see how these 2 end up worked together. To be honest whoever came up with that idea is a genius. I read both and now I really want to read Vol 2 for both of them. Great way to make fans of one interested in the other...love the interconnectedness Well I definitely liked this New 52 version of Animal Man. It took the potential of the Grant Morrison run and added a new more serious/vicious streak. I also love that it tied itself in with another New 52...Scott Synder's Swamp Thing. I cannot wait to see how these 2 end up worked together. To be honest whoever came up with that idea is a genius. I read both and now I really want to read Vol 2 for both of them. Great way to make fans of one interested in the other...love the interconnectedness even though you never actually see a crossover....yet... Well worth a read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nicola Mansfield

    I am a complete noob when it comes to Animal Man, never having come across him or knowing anything about him. This is my first introduction to him and this book seems to be taking place parallel to Swamp Thing Vol. 1 which I just reviewed the other day. Holland doesn't appear in this but he is mentioned and an imminent meeting between the two is mentioned. This volume jumps in with where Buddy Baker is with his life now so it took me some time to get the lay of what was going on with him and his I am a complete noob when it comes to Animal Man, never having come across him or knowing anything about him. This is my first introduction to him and this book seems to be taking place parallel to Swamp Thing Vol. 1 which I just reviewed the other day. Holland doesn't appear in this but he is mentioned and an imminent meeting between the two is mentioned. This volume jumps in with where Buddy Baker is with his life now so it took me some time to get the lay of what was going on with him and his family. The plot concerns The Red being invaded by The Rot, having already read Swamp Thing I understood the plot but here in Animal Man the whole premise of The Red, The Rot, and ever so slightly, The Green, is explained in full detail. These two books definitely need to be read together to get the whole story. One without the other is only half a tale. I like Buddy, but his wife is completely annoying. The art is totally whacked out. It's pretty gross with everyone's guts on the outside and veins and bloodstreams and things representative of life chains roaming around, nothing is perfectly clear, but it suits the theme of the book and pairs well with the psychedelic "green" life art in Swamp Thing. I'm certainly continuing with both these series which are totally unrelated to the DC Universe at this point but pretty cool horror-type stories.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    This was outstanding and unconventional, leaning more towards graphic novel than comic book. Revered Canadian artist, Jeff Lemire, author of the "Sweet Tooth" series and most loved for his "Essex County", takes a turn at DC cult-fave, Animal Man, and with tremendous results. Lovers of the Marvel brand of comics might not like this story as it is SOOOOO not your typical comic book. There are layers and layers of subtext and symbolism, some gruesome, grotesquely surreal artwork (like, stuff-of-night This was outstanding and unconventional, leaning more towards graphic novel than comic book. Revered Canadian artist, Jeff Lemire, author of the "Sweet Tooth" series and most loved for his "Essex County", takes a turn at DC cult-fave, Animal Man, and with tremendous results. Lovers of the Marvel brand of comics might not like this story as it is SOOOOO not your typical comic book. There are layers and layers of subtext and symbolism, some gruesome, grotesquely surreal artwork (like, stuff-of-nightmares.... you are warned!), along with challenging, uncomfortable themes told through nontheatrical, non-verbose dialogue. And that is why I say it leans more towards being a graphic novel than a comic book. The story itself is fluidly told and clearly the start of some larger DC-wide arc (Rotworld). It establishes the past and present of the new Buddy Baker very quickly, and, without hesitation, begins to re-invent the character thoroughly. My favourite new tidbit is knowing that Baker tried his hand in Hollywood as an actor, and we actually get to see the movie he was in! I think die-hard fans of Animal Man are going to love this new incarnation, and I also think that fans of Batwoman, Sandman, Swamp Thing, and other dark, stylized comic books will also love this. If you are in to the more conventional superhero comics, be warned, this may not be a title for you. 4.5/5

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    After reading the first volume of the new Animal Man Series now I know why everyone has been raving about Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth over at Vertigo and his independent work (which I have not gotten around to reading yet). Lemire builds upon the foundation laid by Grant Morrison during his run on the title (arguably the character's best ever) and if anything makes it better. The last few years have seen Buddy Baker return to the C or D level character he was. Now he is restored to an important pla After reading the first volume of the new Animal Man Series now I know why everyone has been raving about Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth over at Vertigo and his independent work (which I have not gotten around to reading yet). Lemire builds upon the foundation laid by Grant Morrison during his run on the title (arguably the character's best ever) and if anything makes it better. The last few years have seen Buddy Baker return to the C or D level character he was. Now he is restored to an important place in the new DC Universe. Unfortunately his family is being dragged along with him. Borrowing from Alan Moore's concept of the Green (for Swamp Thing) and that character being an avatar for all plant life, Buddy find out about the Red (the equal for all all animal life) except... As River Song would say spoilers He isn't the avatar. His daughter is, and her powers are way more scary than Buddy's. She a young child with more power than her father but without the experience of being to able to define well the difference between the use and abuse of power. The threat to the Red and the Green is exposed, and the title has definitely become a Vertigo (also owned by DC) style horror title existing within the main DCU. Check it out.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Urrrgh, so torn on this one! One the one hand, the relate-a-bility of the Dad-Who-is-Also-A-Lesser-Known-Superhero angle was great fun, and well portrayed- who knew Mother-in-Laws can apparently even disapprove of super powers? On the other hand, while I recognize and applaud the art for its bold originality, I do a lot of my reading at lunch-time, folks, and a lot of these inside out, contorted, Hieronymous Bosch-meets-Salvador Dali images just didn't sit well with my bologna on rye. The cover im Urrrgh, so torn on this one! One the one hand, the relate-a-bility of the Dad-Who-is-Also-A-Lesser-Known-Superhero angle was great fun, and well portrayed- who knew Mother-in-Laws can apparently even disapprove of super powers? On the other hand, while I recognize and applaud the art for its bold originality, I do a lot of my reading at lunch-time, folks, and a lot of these inside out, contorted, Hieronymous Bosch-meets-Salvador Dali images just didn't sit well with my bologna on rye. The cover image is a fair example, and there are entire pages that go waaaaay beyond inside (honestly, Moms and Dads, keep out of reach of small or squeamish kiddies). Don't know if I'll continue with the series myself, but I do encourage everyone to try and decide for themselves if it's their kind of thing.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Koen

    What kind of a meek and strange "start" was that??? You could feel them trying to write some good stuff in there, with "the rot" that is coming, but at the end it went completely lowkey again... But I still got to know what this story will bring, so I'll continue ;) This is me, signing out, hoping for the best..

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Raymond

    At 31, I came to comics relatively late. Yeah, I read some kiddie comics like Richie Rich and Lil' Devil when I was a kid, but real comics, with superheroes and bad language and what have you? That didn't come about until my mid-20s. My introduction to comics came from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 run, as I had just finished plowing through Buffy on DVD and wanted, nay needed, more. Then my friend told me to read Ultimate Spider-Man, and then I discovered Runaways, and then Watchmen, an At 31, I came to comics relatively late. Yeah, I read some kiddie comics like Richie Rich and Lil' Devil when I was a kid, but real comics, with superheroes and bad language and what have you? That didn't come about until my mid-20s. My introduction to comics came from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 run, as I had just finished plowing through Buffy on DVD and wanted, nay needed, more. Then my friend told me to read Ultimate Spider-Man, and then I discovered Runaways, and then Watchmen, and then it was all over for me. I was hooked and I had another money pit hobby. I've come of age with comics mostly with Marvel stuff, and almost exclusively in the Ultimate universe (Marvel's attempt at rebooting from 10 years ago). I've tried a few times to do DC titles, but Superman bores me and I find Batman to be completely unlikable (and yes, I've read the Frank Miller stuff, thanks). Yeah, I tried some of the Infinite Crisis stuff in an attempt to get on board with some of the DC heroes, but no dice. Only one DC title caught me (and I'll be talking about that in detail once the first trade for the New 52 comes out for it), and I had largely put it aside. The New 52, however, works perfectly for a reader like me - I have a bit of an idea as to who the characters are (for the most part), and I can go in with very few preconceptions or biases. I know why there's frustration with reboots (which is why I prefer Marvel's version, even if they've redone the Ultimate universe three times), but this is a Good Thing. This brings us to Jeff Lemire's take on Animal Man. Lemire is arguably best known for his brilliant, creator-owned Sweet Tooth , and when I heard he was going to be taking on one of the reboots, I looked it up right away. The problem? I had never heard of Animal Man before. He's certainly not a top-tier DC hero, he's unlikely to get his own movie anytime soon, and looking him up, well...he's a superhero that can temporarily use the powers of animals. Great. What have I gotten myself into? One thing that jumps out to begin with when you sit with the new version is that the artwork is very unsettling. This threw me a little bit, if only because we're used to the classic stuff and I assumed a reboot for Animal Man would be a little different. While Travel Foreman, the artist on this run, is not involved with Sweet Tooth, I was surprised that the overall aesthetic appeared to hold over a bit - things are a little jarring, and they don't feel right. Then things get weird. The interesting part of Animal Man in this incarnation is that, at least so far, it's not a traditional superhero tale. Buddy Baker is definitely heroic, but he's reluctant - reluctant because he seemingly dislikes the impact animals have on him and his power. We don't get an origin story as much as get tossed in the middle of a situation, which is a curious choice until you realize why the setup has to be that way, and that's because of the almost Lovecraftian horrors that await Baker and his family. Baker, following use of his powers, begins bleeding from the eyes. We quickly learn that Baker's four-year-old daughter is predisposed to supernatural interaction with animals as well. She plays with animal carcasses and skeletons, and she's speaking a lot about "the red" and whatnot. This quickly begins to impact Baker in absolutely horrific and terrible ways, as well as those around them, including folks who appear to be monsters themselves. What follows is really, really creepy. And awesome. Did I mention that yet? No? Well, it is awesome. Lemire successfully balances that line between creepy and cool, and it feels like a creepy, classic horror comic tale in a lot of ways, while still having that modern touch. The artwork really balances between the bright colors and ideas expected in a superhero comic and exploits them in a terrible, wonderful fashion. It's solid. The best part, for me, though, is that it takes such a hokey, silly concept, and turns the entire idea on its head. I truly don't know what to expect from Animal Man as a series, and that's as exciting as it is unanticipated - being surprised by comics is not something that happens very often for me in mainstream titles, and this is going places I never expected. Definitely check out this run of Animal Man. The trade was released this month, so you still have some time to get ahead on one of the more unique comic titles you're going to find in the new reboot.

  19. 4 out of 5

    C. Varn

    Jeff Lemire's adult-oriented and mythology rich re-imagining of Animal Man picks choices elements from the Grant Morrison and even the Peter Milligan runs when Animal Man was Vertigo title and retains it. Lemire, however, moves in the direction of deep mythology when Morrison moved more towards meta-textuality. In many ways, Lemire almost seems to be drying to bridge the feel of Alan Moore's Swamp Thing into Morrison's "original" revision of Animal Man--bringing out some cosmic battles in an int Jeff Lemire's adult-oriented and mythology rich re-imagining of Animal Man picks choices elements from the Grant Morrison and even the Peter Milligan runs when Animal Man was Vertigo title and retains it. Lemire, however, moves in the direction of deep mythology when Morrison moved more towards meta-textuality. In many ways, Lemire almost seems to be drying to bridge the feel of Alan Moore's Swamp Thing into Morrison's "original" revision of Animal Man--bringing out some cosmic battles in an interesting way. Also, this story seems more influenced by "weird fiction" than Morrisons, but elements of Buddy's character remain clearly from the original. Furthermore, Lemire does do some of the meta-textual play linked to the other film, using parataxis with Buddy's film work to create mood. Furthermore, in some ways, the family dynamics of Lemire's Animal Man seem more lived in, and less tied to decade stereotypes of the middle class family than the original Vertigo run where Buddy's family felt underdeveloped and largely dependent on middle class 1980s tropes. Morrison's work is still more original, but Lemire manages to live up to it and create his own world. The art is, however, much more interesting than the original, where the figure work was consistent and the colors warm, but the imaginary were fairly standard even when the comic became interestingly surreal. This comics imaginary has the same mythological and weird fiction influences as the writing and some the imaginary is compelling even when it is extremely gory. The computerized colors are a bit over-saturated as they have been in comics for almost two decades now, but the imaginary is powerful and really works well with the writing. In this area, this books actually surpasses the Grant Morrison run of Animal Man.

  20. 5 out of 5

    The_Mad_Swede

    For me, Animal Man as a character will forever be associated with Grant Morrison's strange and weird run (Vertigo, before Vertigo, as it were), so it was with some trepidation that I picked this up. Then again, I had heard good things about Lemire, and interesting things about links to Scott Snyder's Swamp Thing, so there was that. Arguably, the concept of the Red is there already in Morrison's run (even though Morrison has apparently commented on Lemire's work as too derivative of Moore's Swamp For me, Animal Man as a character will forever be associated with Grant Morrison's strange and weird run (Vertigo, before Vertigo, as it were), so it was with some trepidation that I picked this up. Then again, I had heard good things about Lemire, and interesting things about links to Scott Snyder's Swamp Thing, so there was that. Arguably, the concept of the Red is there already in Morrison's run (even though Morrison has apparently commented on Lemire's work as too derivative of Moore's Swamp Thing; which in all honesty comes across as somewhat ironic to me), but Lemire brings it out in full, and also does some fascinating things with regards to how his hero, Buddy Baker a.k.a. Animal Man, is actually related to said Red. All things said, I am aboard for another volume, and look forward to the upcoming Swamp Thing crossover dealing with the Rot. In fact, I actually think Lemire's story arc here works better than Snyder first Swamp Thing arc, because while the latter reads pretty much like a prologue, this is a full story in its own right, which now awaits being finished.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    I knew something was wrong when I saw the Clive Barker-esque cover art. All the qualities I liked about Animal Man, (Morrison's Animal Man) were absent in this re-invention. Gone is the naïveté, hopeful charm and everyday life appeal to the character. He doesn't fight bad guys with interesting use of his abilities, he fights some esoteric cancer "The Rot" against a life-web "The Red" mostly in a confusion shared by the reader. He fights The Rot with his daughter and her new found abilities, (ser I knew something was wrong when I saw the Clive Barker-esque cover art. All the qualities I liked about Animal Man, (Morrison's Animal Man) were absent in this re-invention. Gone is the naïveté, hopeful charm and everyday life appeal to the character. He doesn't fight bad guys with interesting use of his abilities, he fights some esoteric cancer "The Rot" against a life-web "The Red" mostly in a confusion shared by the reader. He fights The Rot with his daughter and her new found abilities, (seriously DC?) Another sidekick added to a character that didn't need one. This book was like a kick in the childhood. While I'm slagging this off I'll go ahead and mention a few other annoyances. His updated suit sucks. The orange and blue suit was campy but he owned it like a champ. Another thing was his face in this book. He looked like a nuclear fallout victim in and out of the life-web. I groaned when I heard DC was going to start new stories expecting preachy animal rights tales with no substance but this was much worse.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bdalton

    In 2011, DC Comics cancelled all of their existing titles and re-launched their entire series branding them The New 52. Animal Man was the surprising breakout hit of the new series. I frankly didn't know about Animal Man until I read this version of his story and I am kicking myself. Animal Man is a stand-up family guy, a hero turned activist, who struggles with the challenges of being a good husband and father. Jeff Lemire creates a story with strong female and male characters of all ages, them In 2011, DC Comics cancelled all of their existing titles and re-launched their entire series branding them The New 52. Animal Man was the surprising breakout hit of the new series. I frankly didn't know about Animal Man until I read this version of his story and I am kicking myself. Animal Man is a stand-up family guy, a hero turned activist, who struggles with the challenges of being a good husband and father. Jeff Lemire creates a story with strong female and male characters of all ages, themes of animal rights and environmentalism, and a potent mix horror and action. In this story Buddy Baker, Animal Man, learns a thing or two about his origins and his destiny from his four-year-old daughter, Maxine. The storyline is a bit macabre - blood flowing, distorted bodies, guts - it is definitely written with an adult/teen audience in mind. Those seeking top-notch storylines in the comics will be drawn to this series.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lissibith

    First things first - I love when a comic lets a superhero be married and looks at like from that angle instead of making them endless bachelors or in on-again, off-again relationships that end up making revolutions over the same territory over and over again. Buddy Baker has a family, and he'll do anything to keep them safe, and that's pretty much the heart of this trade. I am not a big fan of the fact that this series starts off by putting the focus largely on someone other than the title chara First things first - I love when a comic lets a superhero be married and looks at like from that angle instead of making them endless bachelors or in on-again, off-again relationships that end up making revolutions over the same territory over and over again. Buddy Baker has a family, and he'll do anything to keep them safe, and that's pretty much the heart of this trade. I am not a big fan of the fact that this series starts off by putting the focus largely on someone other than the title character, and some of the visuals were so odd as to make following the tale difficult, but that doesn't take away from what's a fairly well-paced and tense story that doesn't feel like I've already seen the plot a thousand times. It strays pretty solidly into horror territory, so if that's not your thing I advise not going at this. But if that won't drive you away, its definitely worth a look. :)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Julio

    A great reintroduction to Buddy Baker aka Animal Man. While the classic Grant Morrison run on the book took a very surreal meta-textual route - it's Morrison, what would one expect - Lemire and Forman's run so far is delving into the underlying nature of Nature - life, death, creation, destruction - that will eventually lead Animal Man to cross paths with Alec Holland aka Swamp Thing. You can certainly see the Moore influence here, but this is definitely Lemire's book and he's exploring the dyna A great reintroduction to Buddy Baker aka Animal Man. While the classic Grant Morrison run on the book took a very surreal meta-textual route - it's Morrison, what would one expect - Lemire and Forman's run so far is delving into the underlying nature of Nature - life, death, creation, destruction - that will eventually lead Animal Man to cross paths with Alec Holland aka Swamp Thing. You can certainly see the Moore influence here, but this is definitely Lemire's book and he's exploring the dynamic that family plays in the lives of superhumans, especially when that family must deal with the reprecussions of a superhuman's choices and fates. Great storytelling so far, both in the writing and art. Looking forward to the interaction between the Red and the Green.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alex Boyd

    Animal Man is something of a B-list superhero, trying to make ends meet with a wife and two children. He was recently in an independent film, but isn't sure it'll make him much money, and his ability to summon any animal skill (charging with the strength of a rhino, switching to the weight of a bumblebee so he doesn't creak the floorboards and wake his children) seems more suited to fairly low-key heroics. But something called The Rot has invaded the world, and has a particular interest in his f Animal Man is something of a B-list superhero, trying to make ends meet with a wife and two children. He was recently in an independent film, but isn't sure it'll make him much money, and his ability to summon any animal skill (charging with the strength of a rhino, switching to the weight of a bumblebee so he doesn't creak the floorboards and wake his children) seems more suited to fairly low-key heroics. But something called The Rot has invaded the world, and has a particular interest in his family. Wild, memorable, even grotesque art and an engaging story make this one a winner.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chantay

    I had some reservations about this. I thought it was going to be some hipsters wet dream about a PETA member. I really enjoyed this, I didn't like the art, but I'll give the series a go.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Georgie

    Going into this I didn’t know what my expectations were since the character is foreign to me but after reading this you get a good feel of the character. Animal man: the hunt - the life web is the connection to all life and the people/animals connected to the life web get the powers of connecting to animal life. When most people connected to the life web go to the red when they die there were some that strived for power named the rot. So when animal man’s daughter is threatened by the rot he has Going into this I didn’t know what my expectations were since the character is foreign to me but after reading this you get a good feel of the character. Animal man: the hunt - the life web is the connection to all life and the people/animals connected to the life web get the powers of connecting to animal life. When most people connected to the life web go to the red when they die there were some that strived for power named the rot. So when animal man’s daughter is threatened by the rot he has to save the day! My thoughts (the good and bad) - first of all I love the relationships that buddy has with everyone in the family and I love how they ground him in a way I also really liked how willing buddy is to protect his family. Then the art, the art is really weird and probably won’t appeal to a lot of readers since the the rot is drawn too weirdly or stuff like that but I dug it, I think the weirdness is really unique but my problem with the book was that sometimes that art wasn’t so great and was boring sometimes. Overall great book

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    A fairly interesting start to a much darker, more horror-tinged Animal Man incarnation for the New 52. I say "fairly interesting" because, well, not a whole lot happens in this book. It's almost entirely setup, including most of two issues devoted to Animal Man and his daughter just talking to some weirdos in another realm who explain the stakes of the series to them. Those stakes are: there's something called The Rot, represented by The Hunters Three, a trio of vague and disgustingly-rendered Bi A fairly interesting start to a much darker, more horror-tinged Animal Man incarnation for the New 52. I say "fairly interesting" because, well, not a whole lot happens in this book. It's almost entirely setup, including most of two issues devoted to Animal Man and his daughter just talking to some weirdos in another realm who explain the stakes of the series to them. Those stakes are: there's something called The Rot, represented by The Hunters Three, a trio of vague and disgustingly-rendered Big Bads who want to kill the world for... reason TBD. Because they like "rot," I guess? Anyway, The Red, which is the nexus of all animal life on the planet, needs to stop them, and it's up to Animal Man and his daughter to pull this off. Now, calling The Red "derivative" is kind of unfair, but I just can't help it. It's just The Green from Swamp Thing, which is a collective consciousness for all plant life on the planet. The Red functions the same way: it's represented by a parliament of former avatars that exist deep within the collective conscious of the animal kingdom. It's exactly the same thing. That said, The Red actively acknowledges that it is essentially the other side of the coin for The Green. However, calling out that your thing is exactly like a another thing doesn't solve the problem that you're just telling the same story with a different shade of paint. What I'm hoping for with Animal Man, which has not happened in this volume, is enough character development and world examination to set itself apart from Swamp Thing. Yes, Swamp Thing's a loner and a monster and Animal Man is a family man and a hero. But so far I don't really care about his family, as they do little but get in the way and argue with him. As for the villains, they need some serious definition. In this book, they're presented as basically an immortal force of evil, but they also do that classic villain thing where they talk to their victims so long that the victims find a way to escape. Also, I have no idea what The Rot actually wants outside of capturing Animal Man's daughter, so they seem like just a very generalized villain who we mostly hate because they're gross-looking. Speaking of, the art here is a major saving grace. Travel Foreman's pencils are downright disturbing, making creatures of all sorts seem otherworldly and deformed. The lengthy sections of exposition are aided tremendously by his weird designs, giving you something visual to dig into while everyone just stands/floats around talking. All in all, this hasn't grabbed me yet, but I'm down to keep going with it now that a lot of the setup has been hacked through. I'm hoping Lemire, who's a great character writer, can really bring the Animal Man family to life in future volumes.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Connor

    Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths. I had no idea what this book was about when I got it. My dad told me the basics about Animal Man though: he can talk to animals and use any of their powers he wants. It sounded pretty cool, so when dad told me he really didn’t think I’d like it too much I wondered why. Now I know why. This book was not my thing at all, one of the first New 52 books I have thought was BAD. Animal Man is a retired superhero who lives with his family and tries to be another normal Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths. I had no idea what this book was about when I got it. My dad told me the basics about Animal Man though: he can talk to animals and use any of their powers he wants. It sounded pretty cool, so when dad told me he really didn’t think I’d like it too much I wondered why. Now I know why. This book was not my thing at all, one of the first New 52 books I have thought was BAD. Animal Man is a retired superhero who lives with his family and tries to be another normal guy. His wife and kids know he is a superhero, but he has put his past life behind him. Now, he spends most of his time doing ordinary stuff and trying to help his young daughter control the Animal Powers she inherited from him. Only problem is her abilities catch the attention of weird, scary monsters from some other dimension called The Red, who come to ours looking to steal Animal Man’s daughter. Nothing about this book worked for me. The story was pretty lame, being about an ordinary guy using animal powers to save his family. I didn’t like Buddy Baker very much or his family. And a story about a guy trying to save his family is something even I have seen a million times. Don’t even get me started about The Red, because it did not make sense and was boring. What was worse than the story was the art. Weird and violent. I’m not saying it was bad, because I’m not an artist, but I didn’t enjoy it at all. Other people might love this stuff, I guess, but not me. As you can tell, I didn’t like this book at all. It made me dislike Animal Man more than like him and wasn’t fun to read at all. The art wasn’t my thing, and there was too much violence. Hopefully, if you try this book, you will enjoy it more than I did. And I am sorry this review is so short, but there wasn’t anything I really wanted to say about The Hunt. Well, I hope you liked this review, and friend me any time to ask questions about my reviews.

  30. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    I read this because I read Sweet Tooth and Essex County and Underwater Welder and much of all the other fabulous stuff Jeff Lemire is doing. This is one of the New 52 DC Comics Series, and its interesting and well written, thanks to Lemire, and Travel Foreman, the primary artist on the first volume. The idea was invented by Grant Morrison, apparently riffing off Alan Moore's Swamp Thing revisioning. So Lemire reinvents him, creates more of an origin and direction for him. The idea is this: If Sw I read this because I read Sweet Tooth and Essex County and Underwater Welder and much of all the other fabulous stuff Jeff Lemire is doing. This is one of the New 52 DC Comics Series, and its interesting and well written, thanks to Lemire, and Travel Foreman, the primary artist on the first volume. The idea was invented by Grant Morrison, apparently riffing off Alan Moore's Swamp Thing revisioning. So Lemire reinvents him, creates more of an origin and direction for him. The idea is this: If Swamo Thing is connected to the earth, with its power source The Green, who is connected with the Animal World, and its power source, The Red? Animal Man, who is a superhero who can draw on the powers of any animal on earth at will. He's also a Dad, which is right up Lemire's alley, much of his work is about fathers and sons one way or the other... so Animal Man is also Family Man, pulled in various directions, trying to make a living, not divorced from the real world like Batman or Ironman, or those kind of cats. The avatars or totems of The Red, are animals. A key defender of the Red turns out to be, not so centrally Animal Man, but his 4 year old daughter, Maxine! Too complicated for you already? That's the world of DC Comics... anyway, the Red and Green are Positive Life Forces opposed by The Rot, which is a grotesque evil realm that is destroying the planet and everything good in it... Which makes this an Environment Friendly Superhero book for Our Times, which kind of works. It's well written, and The Rot creates an opportunity for Foreman and his followers to really out-gross Grant Morrison and get super creepy... which was kind of interesting for me. It was good, I thought, as one NOT so familiar with much of the new DC stuff.

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