Words Can't Describe The Fear In My Soul
Afhkjghjksghkakjhsjghkdhjgs That cover is just..... wow. Terrifying. This is of course in a good way. Animal Man is known for being a series that is creepy as all hell, and the covers have matched this. This one is just... wow, probably the most blatantly stunning, with Animal Man's torn off face, and his daughter's.... evil face. But surprisingly, the biggest ocular assault is the trippy background. Foreman gets away with doing an empty background by filling it with red dots of varying size that cause the image to distort and draw the eyes. This is the kind of comic I have to cover up, because if it caught my eye from across the room I'd shudder as Maxine stares into my soul with ravenous hunger. And I love every second of that, she just looks a tiny bit too much like a turtle at that angle, but that's hardly even close to being half a deal breaker.
As for the interior artwork, well it's still Travel Foreman. His style is masterfully deceptive. THere's lots of background simplicity that seems like it's lazy, but actually enhances the effect. The facial expressions and little touches to movement make things incredibly realistic in a weird kind of sense. It makes things that much more terrifying when all the bizarre stuff happens, and bizarre stuff happens A LOT. But it never gets status quo, things are still utterly frightening when they're supposed to be.
Animal Man's given a vision of what could come to pass, and one that is leading into something that may pass. The Rot is a tricky force, it really knows how to play the long game. Just like in Swamp Thing, but in a different way, The Rot has rigged the game so that neither Green nor Red can win. Every move they make is futile, unless perhaps they team up. But The Green is paranoid, and The Red is selfish. This war may be impossible to win.
Buddy's supporting cast is still being built, but they are really strong. Ellen and Cliff are both ready to handle a shotgun when confronted with a Hunter, even if they're not completely prepared. They're pragmatic, strong individuals, and they each have their own emotional hang ups in their own ways for the situations they're in. No character in this series could easily be replaced by another, they all fit together perfect.
And finally we get a little vision of what's to come with Steve Pugh moving to full art duties come issue 9. And I actually kind of like what I see. It adds creepy detail as a contrast to Foreman's haunting simplicity, and it doesn't contrast to a ridiculous degree. I'm a little less upset about this announcement than I was before.
In Conclusion: 5/5
This issue doesn't have the amazing among amazing panel layouts of the previous issue, but it manages to make the rushed ending work surprisingly well as we see the full machinations of The Rot. Animal Man is a phenomenal series, and one of the standout hits of The New 52. Animal Man holds a coveted spot in my top 5 DC series currently running, and will likely hold a special place in my heart long after.