As ‘Animal Man’ #5 closed, Buddy Baker (Animal Man) and his family were fleeing from the demons of The Rot. Buddy tells his family’s only hope is to find Alec Holland, the Swamp Thing, or all is lost.
This issue, sadly, is mostly a filler issue. Seventeen of this issue’s twenty pages are taken up by a reveal of ‘Tights’, the movie that Buddy Baker filmed back during his acting days. ‘Tights’ has been mentioned a few times in previous issues and the story of ‘Tights’ seems cool enough. It’s a mixture of Iron Man, Kick-Ass, and Super, following a washed-up superhero who has fallen on hard times and is struggling with both alcohol addiction and a family that has moved on without him.
The problem is that ‘Tights’ seemingly has nothing to do with the Rot storyline that has been so amazing up to this point. I even reread the ‘Tights’ segment on the possibility that there were clues hidden within the pages and dialogue, but found nothing.
The final three pages don’t do much more to forward the story than the first seventeen. Buddy restates that they have to find Alec Holland before the Rot can catch up with them, but that’s about it. I’m assuming that this issue is to allow the story that’s happening over in ‘Swamp Thing’ to catch up to where the two series can cross over, but it’s still kind of disappointing.
Jeff Lemire’s writing on the ‘Tights’ segment is passable enough and he continues to show that he has a great insight into the inner workings of a struggling family. But since it’s not really Buddy Baker’s family that’s doing the struggling, it just doesn’t have much weight to it.
In a nice move, the usual ‘Animal Man’ artist, Travel Foreman, steps back this issue as well. The first seventeen pages depicting the ‘Tights’ film are illustrated by John Paul Leon. This makes for a nice contrast between the movie’s universe and the real universe of Foreman’s story in the final few pages and Leon’s pencils have a look to them that suits the less-supernatural aspects of ‘Tights’.
In the end, this isn’t a bad issue by any means. It’s solidly written and illustrated. But since it really doesn’t go anywhere, it would be no problem to skip this issue and not miss a beat. So it is with a heavy heart that, for the first time, I have to lower an ‘Animal Man’ issue to…
ANIMAL MAN #6
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art by JOHN PAUL LEON, TRAVEL FOREMAN and JEFF HUET
Cover by TRAVEL FOREMAN