‘Animal Man’ #1 ended on one of the creepiest notes of all of the New 52 #1s. Heck! It may be one of the creepiest cliffhangers I’ve ever read. The new issue begins moments after Buddy Baker (Animal Man) discovers his daughter Maxine surrounded by her new pets… a group of dead and rotting animals that she resurrected from around their suburban neighborhood. When Buddy tries to unravel what has happened, the story quickly takes a very strange and even creepier turn as “The Red” that was hinted at in issue #1 makes itself known again.
As, Buddy’s wife and son attempt to clean up the mess that the zombie pets have created before the police can arrive, Buddy and Maxine flee in search of a way to stop whatever is happening to “The Red”, which appears to be the force of all animal life on the planet in much the same way that “The Green” is the elemental force of plant life over in ‘Swamp Thing’. Meanwhile, at the San Diego Zoo, the demonic forces that claimed to be a corruption within The Red in ‘Animal Man’ #1 escape to Earth.
The cover of ‘Animal Man’ #2 has the tagline “Terror Awaits Inside… The Red!” and this issue delivers in spades! I am an avid horror buff and a lover of creepy comics but it’s been a very long time since I’ve ever stopped in the middle of an issue in an attempt to regain my bearings. In the first issue, I took a brief pause when Animal Man’s eyes began to bleed but, there is one scene in particular in this issue that I actually laid the book down and took a few deep breaths before continuing. It was disgusting, horrible, and beautiful all at once. Not since Alan Moore’s ‘Saga of the Swamp’ thing have I been this creeped out by a comic book… and I was ten years old when I read ‘Swamp Thing’! I have to hand it to writer Jeff Lemire, ‘Animal Man’ is one of the best horror comics I have read in decades!
Travel Foreman’s gritty lines in the artwork bring the images that Lemire dreams up into a ghastly reality that sends shivers down my spine. The cover, as sinister as it is, doesn’t hold a candle to some of the disturbing imagery inside the pages of ‘Animal Man’ #2. I hope that DC keeps this creative team together for as long as possible because this is a creative marriage made in… The Red!
Final verdict: BUY
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art and cover by TRAVEL FOREMAN