For those who have no experience with the character Animal Man may be a little hard to understand. Part super-hero, part animal activist, part horror protagonist, and part family man, the character of Buddy Baker is as far on the edge of the DCU as you can get, which was why I was pleasantly surprised when he earned a title as part of DC’s “New 52.”
Animal Man has the ability to tap the morphogenetic field (known as “the Red”) and mimic the abilities of various animals for short periods of time. He can even combine the abilities, such as the speed of a cheetah, stink of a skunk, and the strength of a rhino, all together.
As the comic begins former actor, hero, stuntman, and now actor again, Baker finds himself wrapping up a small role in and independent film, spending time with his family, and throwing on the tights to end a stand-off in a hospital’s children’s ward.
The stand-off in the hospital is especially well done and writer Jeff Lemire gives us one creepy ending involving Baker’s daughter Maxine (which I won’t spoil here).
I have to admit a slight disappointment that the character’s goofy costume (bright orange and blue tights complete with jacket and goggles) didn’t survive the reboot, but other than that I have few complaints. Those looking for a typical hero comic may want to try something else, but if you want a little horror mixed in with an atypical hero saving the day I’d suggest giving Animal Man a shot. Worth a look.