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Animal Man #21 - Splinter Species Review

5

Buddy, dealing with the loss of his son and his wife leaving him, two months ago, steps back into the spotlight to find some missing animals.

The Good

It's been two months since the end of Rotworld, and Buddy's life is incredibly different. His son, Cliff, was killed, and Buddy's wife and other child, Maxine left Buddy. Now, Buddy is back to helping out the world.

With this issue alone, Maxine Baker has grown into a brilliant and lovable character. She gives us a glimmer of hope in this world. It's weird to say that his very young daughter is truly the only person trying their best to find a way to get Cliff back. She's willing to work with the Totems in order to get Cliff back while training to become the next Animal (Wo)Man. She's a character that's really going to take us away from how broken and sad Buddy's life has become. She is a delight in this book.

With Buddy, things aren't going as well, but the character is really striving to get himself out of the rut, only to find himself confronted with a terrifying enemy.

One element you see repeating throughout the issue is the "Twitter, but not really Twitter" feed. At first, I really liked how the book opened up with this, since Buddy is an actor and a celebrity. The concept began to wear on me, but I quickly fell in love with it during Buddy's fight with the new villain. It adds a lot to the book, and it's necessary for the ending of the issue.

As far as the new villain goes, this guy/lady/beast-thing is pretty cool. As the story develops, and before we're introduced to this character, we get to know what he is and a bit of his motives. Artist Steve Pugh's design is incredibly creepy, and I'm dying to see more, since we only get a few panels of it.

Pugh does an awesome job on this issue, as he has since he fully jumped on board with this book. I love his panel layouts, and there's a fantastic, but incredibly disturbing panel, towards the end of the issue, where Animal Man makes a startling discovery that is a wonderfully drawn page. The flow of his art is exceptional, especially in a few panels, like when Maxine heads off to the Red.

Writer Jeff Lemire continues to put together an incredibly moving and compelling book, month after month, and this book is actually pretty new reader friendly. For so long, ANIMAL MAN was tied up in Rotworld and it was hard to jump on. This new issue is the start of a new book, so if you have been waiting to read, now is your chance. Sure, there's a few points you need to know, like that Maxine is going to become the next Animal Man, and Buddy is dealing with his son's death, but overall, this should be a good place to jump in.

The Bad

I don't have any complaints. This book has never been bad, but more recently I had become a tad less interested in it. This issue got me real excited for ANIMAL MAN again.

The Verdict

ANIMAL MAN #21 is an awesome start to a new story line. For song long, this book has been tied into a very long, but very good, storyline, Rotworld. Now, after the events of Rotworld, everything and everyone has changed, but something new has started. This is a great place for new readers to jump on, and they won't be disappointed.

Buddy is back to trying to be an everyday hero, in order to get his life back on track, and I really enjoy what Lemire is doing with this character and more importantly, with his family. Pugh's art is dynamite here as well. This is a book you need to read. It's a very different take on what we believe DC heroes to be.

Overall, I highly recommend this issue and series.

15 Comments
Posted by Animal_Man25

ANIMAL MAN IS BACK!!!!

Posted by Al_capOWN

Damn this reviews should be spoiler free WTF!!! I havent read rotworld yet!

Posted by Vulshock

@al_capown: Why would you read the review in detail if you're not up to date?

Good to have another issue. It feels like it's been ages since last issue and that didn't do much to move the story forward.

Posted by danhimself

@al_capown: if you're that far behind then you should probably stop reading reviews for current issues....anything spoiled for you in this review is your fault

Posted by doordoor123

I'm just so lost in this book. After the break-up and the death of Cliff, I just can't find myself to care about this book. It came so out of left field. This doesn't feel like the same book. Granted, it isn't bad and the ideas are still interesting. I just don't feel invested anymore.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Love this book!

Posted by Teenage_Fansub

@doordoor123: I think this is a great place for the book to get a second wind. The Rot stuff is over and now he's actually being an animal concerned superhero.

Posted by clayscarface

@al_capown: yeah same feeling. I had it ruined for me just by looking at the cover to #20 though (maybe 19). It was stupid, but I hadn't been able to read the trade for Rotworld yet and it was right there on the cover about Cliff. I was pissed, but it's the price I pay for being cheap and following the trades instead of the individual books. Same thing happened with Death of the Family and AvX. Seems like I can't pick up a book without knowing what's going to happen.

Posted by longbowhunter

Father, animal lover, horror enthusiast and reader of superhero comics. These four things pretty much sum me up in a nutshell. Yes, after nearly two years Animal Man is still one of my favorite ongoing comic books. I've been waiting for the Splinter Species story for sometime now and it seems to be off to a great start. Hope it's not interrupted by Villains Month seeing as how Animal Man won't be getting a book that month.

Edited by Al_capOWN

Just figured since video game sites post spoiler free reviews the same thing would apply to comics, but guess not, and I didn't read it in detail. The second sentence contains spoilers.

Posted by Mezmero

Loved this book. If I had one complaint it was that I thought the use of a twitter variant was kind of lazy writing. It was used remarkably well but coming up with fake Twitter feeds is something literally anyone could do. I still think this book is a five star but Lemire is squandering his talent by mimicking the idiotic commentary one expects from these crappy social networks.

Edited by Perfect 10

its all about little wing, she's awesome