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Review: Animal Man #3

Animal Man #3

The Hunt part 3: Totems

Written by Jeff Lemire

Art by Travel Foreman

Reviewed by Bobby Shortle

The superhero genre is designed to make us feel safe.  The main characters are classical figures with square jaws and good intentions who fight to defend us from the black hats of the world. These stories work because we want to be the shining hero who feels no fear, who understands a complicated world and who stands victorious. Animal Man #3 has no interest in comforting you. Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman’s world is dark, macabre and grotesque. It’s also a work of genius.

Travel Foreman’s art is staggering in this book. In the panels and pages he draws we are treated to twisted villains who hulk down suburban streets, Buddy Baker’s body  being twisted and distorted into nightmare shapes and giant animal totems mingling together in a chartreuse nether world. Like all great illustration there is no misstep or divergence from tone nor is there apologies made for content. I would never hang a piece of this book on my wall but there is no art that has effected me more in the relaunch than the art in Animal Man.

This fantastic work is complimented and enhanced by the writing of Jeff Lemire. There is no bigger joy for me in the new 52 than that of my discovery of Mr. Lemire. He is a powerhouse creative talent that I can’t wait to follow for years to come.  Animal Man’s world is a crazy one and it wold be easy to get lost in all its dark beauty but he guides us through the muck by making our hero, Buddy Baker, a simple and good hearted man.  He has boiled him down to a few simple and definable traits. Buddy is good hearted, a devoted father and husband and, perhaps most importantly, he is in a situation that is out of his depth. By doing this he has crafted a story that straddles the line between scary and touching; which is no small feat.

 

VERDICT

Buy It – The New 52 is full of worthy reads but there is no book more worth your time and money than Animal Man. This is special work by an amazing creative team and it’s no to be missed.

Bobby Shortle is founder and Editor in Chief of Talking Comics as well as the host of the weekly Talking Comics Podcast. When he's not writing about comics he's making short films which can be found at http://vimeo.com/bobbyshortle and talking…

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