Review by: chadwhitley

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Avg Rating: 4.5
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Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art and cover by TRAVEL FOREMAN

Size: 0 pages
Price: 2.99

It’s difficult, in some ways, to quantify the experience of reading Animal Man #2. This book is, without question, a horror comic the star of which happens to be a superhero, and not the other way around. But it’s not a horror comic in the splashy, exaggerated way that “Tales from the Crypt” or “The Vault of Horror” were, back in the day; the horror here is far more subtle and atmospheric, capitalizing on emotional impact and character development more than shock value. The horror here sneaks up on the reader, silently but surely invading what could otherwise pass for a relatively normal, suburban life.

That’s what makes Animal Man #2 so effective–those ethereal, otherworldly, and frightening elements that just invite themselves right in to the ordinary, every day lives of the Baker family and their community. The book picks up after the shocking last panel of issue #1, where Maxine has…reanimated/resurrected some dead animals with her (as of yet, undefined) abilities. It’s 3:45 AM, and there isn’t a parent alive who hasn’t been awake with their kids at 3:45 AM facing some crisis, be it illness, a breakup, etc. THAT is normal. Being up at 3:45 AM watching the skeletal remains of other peoples’ pets play with each other in your kitchen while bleeding from the eyes and having a tat-map appear on your body is not. See what I mean? The concept of the frightening and otherworldly invading the normal is put to extraordinary use here. Even the last page (which I won’t spoil) takes place within a Zoo, with families gathered out front and barricades erected to keep them out. A relatively normal scene, that is then coupled with a couple of panels that are decidedly ABnormal. It truly is amazing how Lemire has woven these two aspects of Buddy Baker’s life together so masterfully.

Though others have criticized Foreman’s art, I find that it suits THIS book (and the tone it sets) quite perfectly. His depictions of people are just a little…jarring, so that even a close up of regular face adds to the overall atmospheric creepiness. But it’s in the full-on strangeness of the book where Foreman’s art truly shines. When Maxine and Buddy travel into the Red to investigate, the macabre depiction of their bodies as the enter this strange new world is absolutely spot on.

I loved this book, and I can’t WAIT to see what is coming next.

Story: 5 - Excellent
Art: 5 - Excellent

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