Impulse Buy Reviews: Animal Man

This week, I take a look at a previously stellar series for the first time in months – Animal Man. How does Animal Man #21 compare to the high standard set before?

Impulse Buy Logo

While we may have pull lists, most of us comic addicts scan the shelves to see what else is in store. For arbitrary reasons, we sometimes pick up a random issue in the midst of a run. It could be because of good word of mouth, a guest artist, the presence of a certain character on the cover or…just ’cause.

Impulse Buy looks at a handful of issues I picked up each week, that I wouldn’t normally get month-to-month. This column answers whether or not I’ve been convinced to start reading the series.

Animal Man #21 is the sole focus as most books I’m assigned to this week are series that I’ve been following for awhile. Alas, it’s a blessing in disguise because that means there are more standard reviews to look forward to tomorrow!

Animal Man #21

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Why did I buy it?

Before starting here at Analog Addiction, my pull list was slightly more limited. That meant certain solid series like Animal Man didn’t make the cut, to allow my almighty dollar to be focused on other loves. Now that I’m here, I can return to the monthly adventures of Buddy Baker. I absolutely adored this series at the dawn of the New 52. Lemire crafted genuinely creepy stories that were held together by the through-line of family, and what it means to make sacrifices for them. And now, Jae Lee does covers for the series. Is it possible to be any more sold?

Was it worth it?

Completely. While I was aware of the major death endured in this series while I was not reading it, returning to the book I was faced with a more challenged and torn Buddy Baker. Not only does he have to maintain a facade for his movie star life, but as well the one for his typical superhero life, which is beginning to define itself as Buddy’s true place in the world.

The real magic in this issue, however, comes from Maxine, who holds unrealistic hopes, that any other little girl would have, but fully realizes them in the unbelievable potential the Parliament of Red has given her. Her nonchalantness of The Red makes this issue that much more delightful. Maxine is faced with some truly terrifying images, but treats the world as though she’s within a fairytale in her own image.

Buy next issue?

Definitely. This series is wonderfully weird. Kudos to Steve Pugh, who draws an incredible range in this issue. From striking introspective panels of Buddy slouched alone in the darkness to Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas-level trippy visuals in the Red, his art makes this series a purely go-to for any pull list. The most to be looked forward to plot-wise is definitely Maxine’s quest to save Cliff, alongside her trusty talking cat-sidekick, Socks. Never would I suggest that any talking cat in pop-culture could trump Salem from Sabrina The Teenage Witch, but I think we found that very cat.

Verdict

I’ll be back.

Score: 8.8/10

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