In the closing pages of ‘Animal Man’ #11, Buddy Baker had just killed the Rot minion that had taken control of his old body. Oh yeah… Buddy has regrown an entirely new body and gained a couple of new powers in the process. After the Rot demon was defeated, Buddy learned that an ex-Avatar of the Rot had returned to life and that Avatar’s name… Anton Arcane!

The worlds of ‘Animal Man’ and ‘Swamp Thing’ have been interlocked since the New 52 relaunch and, with this issue, they finally begin their first official cross-over story titled ‘Rotworld’. The premise is that, with Arcane’s return, the Rot is throwing off the balance of the trinity of Rot, Red, and Green and it’s up to the Avatars of the Red and Green (Maxine Baker and Swamp Thing respectively) to put things right.

In the opening pages of this issue, Buddy takes his wife and daughter Maxine, the aforementioned new Avatar of the Red, to the swamp to meet with Swamp Thing and Abby Arcane. This brings us up to speed with the closing pages of ‘Swamp Thing’ #11 as the two heroes plan to head into the portal to Rotworld to try and stop Arcane before he invades the Earth. Now here’s where I’m a bit confused. If Maxine is the Avatar of the Red, why is it that Buddy has to go stop Arcane. Sure, she’s a little girl but she’s still the Avatar! Oh well… it’s Animal Man and Swampy who rush into battle as they leap into the portal and prepare to attack the Rot at its source!

But, the instant that the duo land in the Rot, it seems that something is amiss when creatures from the Rot begin streaming out of the portal onto Earth, saying, “Ssssso it beginsssss.”

What a great start to what I expect will be one of the most epic crossovers ever! I’ve loved both Jeff Lemire’s work on this title and Scott Snyder’s over in ‘Swamp Thing’ and having them work together on something is sure to bring about something truly magical. Yes… it’ll be horrifying… but still magical.

And while we’re on the subject of magical, I absolutely adore this issue’s cover. I’m a sucker for covers that interlock and this one interlocks with this week’s ‘Swamp Thing’ #12 (which is also conveniently part two to the ‘Rotworld’ story) to make the epic piece of artwork that you see below.

If you like horror comics, you needn’t confine yourself to Vertigo or independent comics. DC’s serves it up hard and heavy in both of these titles making them some of the best books on the shelves.

Verdict: Buy

Writer : Jeff Lemire
Artist : Steve Pugh