Review: Animal Man #24
Jeff Lemire’s run on Animal Man has been a great one. With the addition of Rafael Albuquerque, it seems that his run might only get better.
Lemire jumps right in after #23 (no Villains Month issue thank god), with Buddy Baker still feeling the pain of Brother Blood becoming the avatar of the Red. Lemire spends most of #24 showing the reader why Brother Blood is such a threat as the avatar of the red. A few plot points start to weave their way together. Maxine’s trek through the Red, combined with Buddy’s search for what is wrong with the Red are slowly starting to find their way together. The Best Actor story point, which I was barely registering giving how much is going on in Buddy’s life, comes back in an interesting way near the end of the issue. Part of me was hoping that Lemire would spend an entire issue on the topic, like he did when we got full scenes of ‘Red Thunder’ in past issues. We’d see him get nominated, and then show us another long scene of ‘Red Thunder.’ But that’s just me. Brother Blood’s execution of the totems and such runs a tad long, but not enough to slow down the issue’s momentum. Blood is a fun character to read, even though he’s going against our hero.
Animal Man has always been the best representation of family in a superhero world. They have felt lifelike, and they familial strife is kept on par with the superhero antics. That has never been on display as well as in Animal Man #24. Buddy and Ellen’s conversation pulls at the heart strings in ways most couples in superhero comics can’t begin to achieve. There is a feeling of history and mutual respect in their dialogue, and the way Albuquerque pencils them. It’s the first issue of their run, but Lemire and Albuquerque seems to understand each other quite well when it comes to creating Animal Man.
Rafael Albuquerque pencils one hell of an issue. He doesn’t reach the level of grotesqueness that Travel Foreman reached when the volume was first launched, but he finds a way to come quite close. The scenes in the Red can get a bit confusing, as it’s hard to tell what is going on, and who Brother Blood is fighting. The band of pirates with Maxine made add a bit of humor to an otherwise dreadfully serious story. The Animal Man costume hasn’t appeared much in this volume of Animal Man, but it seems to be making a comeback. Albuquerque’s pencils seem slightly rushed in a few panels, but it works for the story. In American Vampire, his pencils never seemed rushed or smudged. The slight smudginess of the pencils makes some attacks vague, and leaves the reader as confused as the person being attacked by Brother Blood.
Animal Man #24 is a great start for Lemire and Albuquerque. I’m going to love this until Albuquerque goes back to American Vampire.
Animal Man #24 gets 4/5.