Monday, August 12, 2013

Animal Man #17

"Rotworld: War of the Rot Part One"

Writers Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder
Artist Steve Pugh (pages 1-4, 10-11, 14-20)
Penciller Timothy Green II (pages 5-9, 12-13)
Inker Joseph Silver (pages 5-9, 12-12)
Colorist Lovern Kindzierski
Letterer Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor Kate Stewart
Editor Joey Cavalieri
Group Editor Matt Idelson

The cover is by Steve Pugh with Yanick Paquette and Nathan Fairbairn. Honestly, I think this is one of the weaker covers of this storyline, which is really sad, since this is the beginning of the finale. I'm just not a fan of Animal Man's body physically transforming into animals (isn't that what Beast Boy's for?) and I'm especially not a fan of the grotesque rotlings.

Our story picks up with Animal Man, Steel, Black Orchid, Beast Boy, Frankenstein and the Green Lantern Medphyll attacking the castle of Anton Arcane in Rotworld. They are battling Arcane's gatekeepers — zombie versions of Wonder Woman, Cyborg and the Flash.

The undead Flash is not even half as fast as he used to be, but he's still fast enough to mow down Frankenstein's army with ease. Animal Man has a hard time finding fast animals to mimic, so he relies on the speed of cockroaches and ants. He's eventually able to catch the zombie Flash and smash his head in a rock.

With the Flash out of the picture, I'm just going to skim over the rest of the details, although they really are quite interesting — especially if you've been reading the whole storyline. Anyway, what follows is just a long series of fights and cameos of major characters from the DC Universe. On the other side of the castle, Swamp Thing is able to kill the zombie Superman by exposing him to the sun (now that he's dead, sunlight has the opposite effect on him). Steel takes out Cyborg by attaching some wires to him and taking over his robotic body. And Frankenstein kills Wonder Woman after Medphyll dies and gives him the Green Lantern ring.

Animal Man teams up with Swamp Thing, but before they can fight Arcane, they have to get past his last and greatest weapons — Rot versions of Abby (Swamp Thing's girlfriend) and Maxine (Animal Man's daughter).

The Good:

Exciting climax. There was a lot of fighting here, and it was really fun. I especially liked how the Flash had the honor of being taken out by the title character of the book. As a Flash fan, I would have liked to have seen him put up a bit more of a fight, but I can't complain. Last issue, he got to kill Constantine, and this issue also needed to give good moments to Swamp Thing and Frankenstein. But all in all, this was another great comic book written by two of the best comic book writers out there.

The Bad:

Unnerving art. It's a shame this artwork had to be so over-the-top grotesque. I might have really loved this comic book, otherwise. I'm sorry, but I honestly didn't need to see Wonder Woman get cut in half like that. But I guess there are people out there who want that, and now they know where they can find it. Another slight problem I had with this issue was Timothy Green II's art. I loved it when he did the pre-Rotworld pages, as his much-lighter style contrasted with Steve Pugh's to great effect. But here, Green had to draw fight scenes in Rotworld, and it really took me out of the story. I almost thought we were getting another flashback or something. Oh well. I'm now done with Animal Man, and it seems highly unlikely for the Flash to show up on his pages again any time soon.

Final score: 5 out of 10

Next time: I think it's high-time for us to get back to some active appearances for the Flash. So, let's go way back and remember what the Scarlet Speedster has been doing in the "real" world. While he was battling Grodd, the Justice League was busy with the Throne of Atlantis stuff. As soon as that ended, H'el on Earth happened, and Flash was actually there to lend a hand (and get into a fight with Supergirl). Now it's time for the Justice League to regroup and decide where they're going next in Justice League #18.

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