New 52 Review – “Animal Man #1”

I’ll review the rest of this week’s new issues in alphabetical order. Next up is the former Vertigo star, Animal Man.

General Information

Title: Animal Man #1

Author: Jeff Lemire

Illustrator(s): Travel Foreman (pencils and inks), Dan Green (more inks), Lovern Kindzierski (colours)

Cover Date: November 2011

Cover Price: $2.99

Buy the digital edition.


Buddy Baker has been a hero, an actor, a stunt man, and more. He’s basically a guy who helps when he can, but his family comes first. He’s at a crossroads in his home life when a man takes hostages at a local hospital.

High Point

This pushes the limits of a comic with no formal age restrictions. It’s good to see the Vertigo roots aren’t forgotten, or at least don’t appear to be. (I can’t say for certain, as I never read the Vertigo run.)

Low Point

The art is oddly imbalanced between areas of massive detail and areas that almost completely lack detail. I just couldn’t see past the art and let the book absorb me.

The Scores

This is a case in which I can’t speak to the originality in terms of comparisons to previous versions. My only prior exposure to the character was in 52. That said, this is a rare feel to the book. The tone, pace and style remind me more of Alias by Bendis and Maleev than anything else. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork is frustrating. At some points, the art is grotesquely detailed, so filled with heavily inked lines that it seems to clash with the soft colour palette. At other points, there is just a wide, empty expanse of a uniform colour. (My mother would kill for these kitchen counters!) It’s a clash that doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason, and depends on contributions from the entire art team. I’d wonder if it was a result of the multiple inkers, but it can happen at two different points in the same panel, and I don’t think that’s how they usually divide their work. I give it 3 out of 6.

The story is well told. If the art was this good, I might stick with the title, but I’ve got a packed pull list already. It starts out slow, but once you pass the half way point, it picks up quite nicely. I give it 4 out of 6.

The characterization is quite good. We have a clear idea of who these characters are, even if they don’t actually know that themselves. It really feels like a natural family. There’s a lot of love here, but there’s also stress, and we know why. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was very weak for the first few pages. That changed at the midpoint when we see the threat, and the last five pages ramp things up much more significantly. I give it 4 out of 6.

The flow is a little too slow. The hospital scene felt short, particularly given how long everything leading up to it felt. I give it 3 out of 6.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable title, but I wouldn’t reccommend it to people who aren’t already Animal Man fans. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Animal Man #1 receives 26 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman

One reply

  1. If you want something like the “iconic” Animal Man, check out the Grant Morrison run, which this seems to want to recall. The Vertigo version made significant changes and, while it’s an interesting take, it really isn’t about the DC superhero Animal Man, and it wouldn’t have existed at all without Morrison bringing the character mainstream success.

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