Filed under: Comic Reviews, DC Comics | Tags: animalman, buddybaker, crackcocaine, DCNew52, jefflemire, mattwagner, sandmanmysterytheatre, travelforeman
Remember the first comic book that grabbed you by the ears, french kissed you and then set you upon the road to wrack and ruin (hanging around Castlemilk and being too skint to buy a pint as you spent all your money on comics)? Yes ?
Matt Wagner’s Sandman Mystery Theatre was my first (awww) but definitely not my last (shlaaaaag) and it was this ground breaking series that came to mind when I read Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man #1. This is the first of the DCnew52 that I firmly believe has the power to bring on board the uninitiated, and ultimately, achieve DC/Warner Bros objective of bringing on board new readers.
The gruesome and powerful cover puts me in mind of some of the old Vertigo covers I loved so much and swinging down into page one we have an interview with Buddy Baker himself, which does a brilliantly off the wall job of bringing us up to speed on Buddy in this timeline. It refreshes those of us who haven’t read AM for a while and is a great introduction to young and vulnerable.
Before I get into discussing the actual content of this comic I feel its only proper, that I, as a responsible reviewer, inform you that this comic is most likely the comic book equivalent of crack. Individuals who are new to comic books are considered particularly vulnerable. Once you have absorbed AM#1 please see your local comic book shop for advice on how to meet the needs of your new addiction.
If you’d flicked through this book without looking at the cover you’d be forgiven for thinking that DC had sold off the rights to AM to some interesting and ridiculously talented indie creator – the art really is that good – in fact, in a single issue my perception of art work at DC has been completely refreshed. I doubt very much if there will be another of the DCnew52 that looks like this, and rightly so.
The book feels like its taken all the best irreverent bits of a quality vertigo title, injected with some kind of super serum and then rammed into centre stage. We’re gifted with that oft wondered about, hardly every written about, side of super hero life: the seemingly mundane that serves us to feel we know our heroes better, ultimately becoming closer to the book and more likely to part with our cash.
Moving on from these scenes of delectable domesticity we follow Buddy on his first call to action – saving some kids in a children’s cancer ward from a gun-toting bereaved, and deranged, father. New and old readers alike will get a kick from learning about Buddy’s powers as he sorts the situation out. As it develops however, we get a few nods to what is likely to become a highly intriguing ongoing storyline, with extreme personal repercussions for Buddy. The extended dream sequence made me wet my pants, I felt this was a sort of homage to SMT but I could be wrong.
Overall this book is extremely well written and the art is of an un-DC like quality which blows my mind. God bless Travel Foreman. Yes, I have already paid for issue 2 of this book🙂
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