Buddy Baker and Alec Holland are about to meet for the first time, again. With the Rot reeling and the crossover looming Major Spoilers is giving you a look at the beginning of Rotworld with a review of Animal Man #12.
ANIMAL MAN #12
Writer: Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder
Artist: Steve Pugh
Colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Artist: Steve Pugh with Yanick Paquette
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Publisher: DC Comics
Previously in Animal Man: Buddy Baker was killed and the Rot took over his body. The parliament of the Red built him a new one and he killed that which was inhabiting his old. Buddy’s son Cliff got hurt in the fight though and is now ill. Buddy has decided to find the Swamp Thing and take the fight to the Rot to save Cliff’s life.
Buddy’s mother-in-law does not like him and she has made this abundantly clear, blaming him for all the problems in his family’s lives. The story here opens with not only an acknowledgment of this hatred by her, but an acknowledgment that she does see how much he loves them giving us a perfect moment of familial interaction before we head into the swamp. Mary, the in-law, is left to care for Cliff while Buddy, Ellen, their daughter Maxine, and the former avatar Socks search for Swamp Thing. In order to locate him, Socks must teach Buddy how to feel the connection between the Red, the Green, and the Rot which is set up well. With new powers coming at Buddy every few days lately he takes this well and finds Swamp Thing with Abby Arcane observing a tear into the Rot.
After introductions a very succinct recap of the last eleven issues is given in a mere two pages, explaining to Swamp Thing and Abby why Buddy wants to attack the Rot. Maxine then gets a vision of the future in the Rot tear that makes me ask the question, why is it always the Flash’s corpse? With the horror of the vision reeling our heroes the decision is made and the duo dive into the Rot. The latter half of the book is a ton of exposition that none-the-less works for the situation we find our heroes in. We are given some great moments between the varying groups and it leaves the suspense high and tense.
Swamp Thing has antlers. Why does he have antlers? It gives him a cool animalistic crown look, but you would think a more organic, plant-y look would be best. This is just a nitpick though as Pugh’s work looks great. It’s a very muted look with a panel composition that just flows. I don’t even dislike the Swamp antlers, as Pugh makes him look great, I just question the idea of making him more animal-like.
BOTTOM LINE: GET IT
Lemire and Snyder have set up a huge tale here and it promises to give us something especially worthwhile. Even if you haven’t picked up the rest of the series, this issue will give you everything you need going into Rotworld. When first thinking of what I thought I got stuck on the recap, as seems obvious above, and thought this would be only a 3. After rereading though and realizing that the recap only stuck out because of just how much was fit into a mere two pages Animal Man #12 earns itself a well-deserved 4.5 out of 5 stars.