Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Animal Man #13

"Rotworld: The Red Kingdom Part One"

Writer Jeff Lemire
Artist Steve Pugh
Penciller Timothy Green II (pages 8, 9, 14, 15, 19, 20)
Inker Joseph Silver (pages 8, 9, 14, 15, 19, 20)
Colorist Lovern Kindzierski
Letterer Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor Kate Stewart
Editor Joey Cavalieri

The cover is by Steve Pugh and Lovern Kindzierski, and it's not too bad. It shows exactly what happens inside — Animal Man fighting a zombie Hawkman — and it helps to have the same artist do the cover and the inside pages. I still don't, nor will I ever like the grotesque zombie characters, but I know that's exactly what they're going for, so I can't fault them on that.

This issue handles the multiple artists perfectly. Steve Pugh drew all the pages that take place in Rotworld, while Timothy Green II handled the pages involving a subplot of the normal world during Animal Man's absence. It is kind of interesting to see what happened that led up to Rotworld, but that subplot doesn't involve the Flash, so I won't go into it too much.

When we last left Animal Man, he journeyed with Swamp Thing into the Rot to try to eliminate the treat to all life once and for all. Turns out, this was a trap, and while the two heroes were away, the Rot was let loose on the world and took it over. Even though Animal Man thought he was only gone for a couple of hours, he was actually away for almost a year. When he finally gets back to what should be Earth, all he sees is decay and destruction. He's quickly attacked by a zombie Hawkman, but is saved by Steel, Black Orchid and Beast Boy.

The heroes decide to take Animal Man back to the last sanctuary of survivors — the Red Kingdom. On their way, Steel explains that the Rot spread quickly like a disease and turned everybody into zombies. Only those with connections to the Red or Green were immune. Steel survived by transferring his consciousness into a robot body, but most of the other heroes were infested. Even the Flash couldn't escape the Rot.

At the living city of the Red, Animal Man meets several interesting people, including John Constantine, who tells him that his daughter, Maxine, was too young to defeat the Rot, despite being the avatar of the Red.

The Good:

The story. This is truly an interesting and well-written story. Jeff Lemire knows what he's doing, and even though I'm not a fan of this genre, I can appreciate this as a work of art. The tension is great, the horror is real, and the stakes rarely get bigger than this. It's kind of fun, in a way, to have the the secondary heroes have to save the world after the A-listers Justice League failed. Altogether, it's a quite intriguing concept.

The Bad:

Grotesque art. This art is well done, it just disturbs me. I don't need to see Hawkman's head sliced in half with his tongue flailing around wildly. I know that holding back on this violence would have weakened the story, but that still doesn't make me a fan of it. Unfortunately, it seems with every Animal Man issue I review, I'm going to be complaining about its graphic nature.

Again the Flash only got one panel, but I really liked it. It really showed how dire the situation is, and I could feel Flash's terror and desperation in that one shot. He's the fastest man alive, but even he can't outrun the Rot. So I'm not going to hold his brief appearance against this issue.

Final score: 5 out of 10

Next time: The adventure of Rotworld continues in Animal Man, Swamp Thing and even Frankenstein, but Flash won't make another appearance until Animal Man #16.

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