Review: Animal Man #2 by Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman

Animal Man #2

Written by: Jeff Lemire
Art by: Travel Foreman
Coloring by: Lavern Kindzieski
Lettering by: Jared K. Fletcher

Published by: DC
Cover Price: $2.99

Note: This review is for the digital version of the comic available from DC Comics on Comixology

Before I start this review, a quick apology for swapping the names of the colorist and letterer in my review for last month’s Animal Man. I always make it a point to credit the creative team on any book I review, and here I go making a hell of a mistake. Sorry!

Summary (contains spoilers): Issue 2 picks up right where we left off, Maxine has raised a bunch of animals from the dead to be her pets. Maxine says that the animals were all calling out to her from “The Red.” Animal Man’s body starts to change, with tattoos of a map forming on his body. Maxine says they need to follow it to the old tree, which is in danger. If the tree dies, then everything dies.

Animal Man sends his son Cliff to fix the holes that Maxine’s pets dug themselves out of around the neighborhood, which freaks out the neighbor. Maxine turns the neighbor’s hand into a chicken claw.

Though her parents make her turn it back. Buddy decides to take Maxine to find the “old tree.” Animal Man’s powers allow him to tap into The Red, and they start to make their way across some really odd roads that Buddy calls “the Path”. The reach the old tree, and are pulled inside of it, into The Red.

Meanwhile, at the San Diego Zoo, the Hunters Three from the first issue are pushing their way into our world. They end up impregnating some male hippos and forcing their way out into out world. Because I care about the emotional well being of our readership, I will not be posting that image. You are welcome.

Review: That hippos giving birth scene might have traumatized me for life. Thanks a lot, Lemire and Foreman. The Hunters Three seem to be pretty intense villains, and I really have no idea how Maxine and Buddy could handle them. That’s always the mark of a great antagonist.

I am pretty sure that the problems in The Red and The Green are connected. I can’t wait to see how Animal Man and Swamp Thing tie together. These are both two relaunch books I love, so I am really looking forward to that. Both of them have really shown what a great horror comic should look like.

This book did slow down the pace some from the first issue, but the characterization moments were terrific and made up for that quite a bit. I especially loved seeing how much trouble Ellen had dealing with everything that was going on. Her emotions seemed to be on a roller coaster the entire time, and who can blame her. The kids were also very well characterized. They genuinely felt like young excited children, and not just mini adults, which is often a problem for kids in comics.

Animal Man himself doesn’t really stand out all that much; he seems to be filling the role of the straight man here. It actually ends up working out real well, but I really do hope he takes on a more assertive role in later issues. Otherwise, they should just call this book “Maxine!!! And Animal Man too.” Maxine is a great character, and she even made her way onto my Top Ten Characters of DC Comics Relaunch (shameless plug!).

Just like the first issue, Travel Foreman’s art is absolutely perfect here. The detail on Animal’s tattoo is a huge credit to the entire art team, and a huge step up from that generic hero’s costume he was wearing in issue 1. Really, the details on everything from Maxine’s animal friends to the “old tree” were all done perfectly. Even the last shot of Animal Man and Maxine entering the Red reminded of an amped up “Wonder Land.”

I should comment that I didn’t see “Mystery Woman” in any of the #2’s I read this week. Though I might have missed her. If any reader does spot her, please let me know.

Animal Man continues to be one of my favorite series of DC Relaunch. Great characterization, genuinely creepy moments, and some of the most unique art I have ever seen. Hard to ask for much more than that from a comic. Highly recommended.

Final Score: 8.5 – Another very good issue. Not as much action as the first one, but the characterization is great, and the creepy moments hit all new levels.

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