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October 12, 2011

Review: Animal Man #2

Posted by on Oct 12, 2011

Generally speaking, we’ve been quite impressed with DC’s New 52. When I checked out Animal Man #1 a couple weeks ago, I was really intrigued. Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman did a really good job setting up a superhero who was also clearly a human being. At the end of that first issue, they had effectively established the hero and begun to set up a larger story arc – it was heading in an intriguing but pretty standard direction.

So I was surprised when the second issue took a bit of a turn into left field. Inevitably, I’m going to give up some details, so if you haven’t read Animal Man #1, stop reading this post and go read that issue.

Don’t get me wrong, Animal Man #2 hews to the same path that the first issue started out on; we get a bit more information about the bad guys and the issues that Animal Man is going to have to face. It’s also clear that the good versus evil motif is operating across a larger story arc and at a higher level than it does in many comics. The enemies of the world aren’t just those of Animal Man, they’re enemies of life itself; it makes sense that Animal Man will come into direct conflict of those evil forces given that his abilities are rooted in living animals and the life web itself. However, that’s all for the future: this issue doesn’t actually place Animal Man in any sort of direct conflict. It just moves the pieces in the chess board a little closer to the confrontation. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for some sort of conflict to occur.

The surprising thing about this re-imagining of Animal Man that comes out in this second issue is that he’s not the only one with his powers. His daughter appears to have the same sort of abilities that he does, and not only is the ability to use animal powers hereditary, his daughter is more powerful than he is. This really struck me as an interesting turn. How many of the super heros in the New 52 (those like Green Lantern aside), aren’t unique in their powers. I’m really interested to see how this plays out, because if Animal Man’s own daughter has more power than him, he’s clearly going to have to use more ingenuity than brute force to defeat the bad guys.

All in all, Animal Man #2 continues down the same interesting path that it set forth down in the first issue. It’s definitely not a comic for someone who’s looking for instant gratification in every issue, but it’s heading in a direction that is promising in the long run. I’m going to plan to pick up the next few, and revisit my thoughts around issue #5, so check back in for more then.