Review by: Nick Fovargue

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Avg Rating: 4.0
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Writer : Jeff Lemire
Artist : Steve Pugh

Size: 20 pages
Price: 2.99

It is amazing the difference six issues can make. Think back to Animal Man #6, that was the issue with Buddy’s son watching Buddy’s movie. A clever, character driven one-shot after an exciting opening arc. Six months ago Animal Man, and its sister title Swamp Thing, were an exciting new series, an example of what the New 52 got right.

Six months later it is hard to pinpoint where things went wrong … but not difficult to see how. Both titles have seemed to drag on badly since finishing their opening arcs. They have both felt like they have just been in a holding pattern until they got to this crossover. It has been frustrating and disappointing but could be forgotten if “Rotworld” proved to be worth the wait.

Unfortunately, the opening issues of “Rotworld” are just more of the same, nothing but preamble. The heroes travel into the Rot itself, in essence descending into Hell and somehow that has been made to feel boring. For two series that have been so visually arresting, the Rot is a big let down. Neither issue can find anything to show us in this world but endless gray? What a waste.

In fact, the voyage into the Rot just seems to be a device, a means to an end, with no real purpose but to move the characters to where the story needs them next. This was billed as the big climax, the two heroes teaming up and taking the enemy head on but these issues do nothing to pay off on that expectation. The team up doesn’t even really happen. By the end of this month’s issues they haven’t done much of interest and they are already split apart again into their own stories.

These books need to get to something and fast. They are living on the good will the first issues created in the audience but you can abuse and live off of that only so long. Animal Man is especially guilty, having gone 12 issues without paying off any of the threads started back at issue #1.

Story: 2 - Average
Art: 3 - Good


  1. This really a well written review.

    I wish there was a way to flag this review with a ‘thumbs up’ or with a ratings system similar to the Quora site.

    Regardless, I drifted off these titles for the exact reasons listed here, and waiting to have a compelling reason to come back. I am grateful to Dc for the $1.99 digital ‘back’ issues for many reasons. And directly, I am more likely to purchase all that I have missed to Rotworld, if it does indeed turn out to be a brilliant event. Lemire has this issue with Sweettooth, that was long in the…. ok you get it. But Snyder is off a hot run on Batman Owl cross over and I wondered if his attention was on that and he let Jeff handle most of the steering on this one.

    We will see shortly, but so far from this review, I am still in a holding pattern

    • Even Snyder’s BatMan run is far too drawn out, considering how little happened. Comics have got to get over having these stupidly long story arcs that could easily be wrapped up in three issues.

    • Yeah, I do see similarities between what went wrong with Animal Man and Swamp Thing, on the one hand, and the aspects of Snyder’s Batman that I liked LEAST on the other. I did like his Batman overall (though not nearly as much as others did), but it was drawn out and the Owls didn’t really DO anything… in much the same way that the Rot doesn’t really DO anything. In both cases we got a big initial push to fear the big bad force… but then very little substance to back it up. All of the surface-level posturing of “The ROT! THE RROTTT!! AHHH!!! DEAATTHH!” throughout the last 6-7 months of Animal Man and Swamp Thing reminded me so much of what we got in Batman: “The Owls! OWLS! SPOOKY! Owls beat BATS!!!”

      All that said, I liked the first year of Batman overall. I liked the first six issues of Animal Man even more. And the first trade of Swamp Thing was “good” as well. But the last 12 issues of Animal Man and Swamp Thing combined? Disappointing and pointless. The team-up/crossover between Buddy and Alec should have happened six months ago, back when the Rot still seemed somewhat interesting.

  2. Your last paragraph summed it up perfectly. I feel like I’m being strung along. And I’m done. The past 4 issues – if not more – have just felt like filler. The story has progressed at a glacial pace. And DC has been hyping his crossover for months. And what happens when it finally arrives, not much.

    I’m done with both of these titles.

    These issues seem to illustrate precisely the problem with the industry in the past 15 years or so – writing for the trade, creating great arcs (in this case thus far, a rather humdrum one), but mediocre single issues.

  3. Wow summed it up perfectly. 6 months into the 52 these were both on the very top of my haul but they are beginning to get exhausting (Swamp Thing in particular). It feels like they’ve lost direction and control with this over-elaborate story they want to tell.

    Get back to the basics!

  4. Thanks for the kind comments, much appreciated.

    One of the challenges of the long, decompressed story arc is that if the current story isn’t working for the reader they will be stuck with it a long time. It is a long wait, buying a book they arent enjoying.

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