Before I really dive into the meat of the story here, there's one thing about this issue that put a gigantic smile back on my face, and that is while the focus of this book has always been extremely heavy on Buddy's relationship with his family, in this issue, Buddy and Ellen start to make amends in their relationship. The idea of a superhero that has to care for his family and protect them daily is what really sets this book apart from every other DC book on the shelves. Buddy has already gone to great lengths to try to save Cliff and so has his daughter Maxine. This issue slowly starts to mend everything that has happened to this family, since the beginning of the series, and there's a lot of hope that we'll finally get back to the way things were during the first arc. Writer Jeff Lemire takes superhero books to the next level with ANIMAL MAN.
Once again, artist Rafael Albuquerque takes the reigns of the S.S. ANIMAL MAN and does a phenomenal job with the artwork. While most fans of this series are used to something a bit more creepy, like the styles of Steve Pugh or Travel Foreman, Rafael's unique style still fits this series incredibly well. He depicts emotion through facial expression incredibly well, and makes you feel the same thing the characters in the books are feeling. A chunk of credit in the art department should also go to Dave McCaig, the colorist, who provides a lot of feeling and tone through his color choices in the issue.
The cover, also drawn by Rafael Albuquerque, is incredibly cool. It has a very pulpy feel to it, and I love seeing the animal that Buddy is channeling as a silhouette in the background. Speaking of the background, I loved the choice of yellow. It pops tremendously off the page.
The Brother Blood story line is cool, but it's just not grabbing me in the same way previous arcs did. The ending pops out of no where and leaves the hero in a really weird place: on a planet being attacked by aliens. It's a "what the...." moment that will leave you scratching your head and feels very out of place for this series. It feels a bit silly, while the rest of this series has been dark and a bit depressing.
ANIMAL MAN #25 was a pretty satisfying issue. Buddy starts trying to put the pieces back together with his home, after it's been scattered away. He has quite the foe in Brother Blood to face. While the overall story really doesn't grab me as much as previous arcs, it's still an enjoyable read. Rafael's art shines in this issue, and it's some of the best of the week. Overall, I highly recommend this issue.