This issue was a bit weird, but in a good way; the narrative is framed in a movie in which Buddy Baker starred, and will most likely affect the way Animal Man faces challenges in the coming months. It's an emotional story worthy of an actual film, with Lemire's dialog and pacing shining through.
I just find it a bit rare that we get rich narratives like this in comics, period; it's almost like we were taken completely out of Animal Man's world and plopped into a depressing noir story. After the previous arc seemed to be dragging on a bit too much, this was exactly what the book needed in order to bump it back up to the top of my New 52 list.
While the movie set-up was inventive, I felt that it kind of fell flat when we were brough back to the "real world"; we weren't given any significance to the tonal shift of this issue, and it's likely we won't see the rammifications for another issue or two. While it has me curious, it also makes it a bit of a buzz-kill when we're brought back from this inventive side-story.
Jeff Lemire threw a bit of a Hail Mary pass with this issue, as it's a concept issue that might not rub everyone the right way. I have to praise him for trying, however, as it's got me curious about its significance. Could we see a more involved Cliff in the coming months? Will Buddy Baker fall into the same perils as his character, Red Thunder?
I guess time will tell.