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Animal Man, Vol. 1 (Animal Man #1)

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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  3,056 ratings  ·  110 reviews
This edition collects the bizarre adventures of Animal Man, a second-rate super hero struggling with real-life issues and moral dilemmas. Buddy Baker is a caring husband, devoted father, animal activist and super-powered being. But as he attempts to live up to all of his roles, he soon finds that there are no black and white situations in life. With a strong focus on story...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Vertigo (first published March 1989)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dan Schwent
Buddy Baker, aka Animal, is a semi-retired super hero and movie stuntman. One day, he decides to return to super hero-ing full time. How will his wife and kids deal with that?

Animal Man isn't one of Grant Morrison's weirder or well-known runs on a title but it's probably the most enjoyable to read. It's a fun book. Buddy struggles with people mistaking him for other super heroes and laments the quality of the super villains he fights. His son thinks his powers are lame. While Buddy is a super he...more
Stephen
1.5 stars. I remember liking this when it first came out in 1988-1989, but it did not hold up well when I just re-read it. There were a couple of very good parts in the first story arc but for the most part I found it poorly written and pretty boring. Very disappointing.
Sesana
The first time I remember ever seeing Animal Man was in the pages of 52. I liked him right away, and I was pleased to see that the parts that I liked best about his character were here during Morrison's run on the title. I like Buddy because he's a family man, a "normal" guy even with the superpowers, and I like him because he has a clear driving motive. Yes, Morrison was pretty much using Buddy as a mouthpiece for his own animal rights agenda, but it suits his character, and his powers, for Bud...more
Myke
Morrison's first work in American comics and it lives up to the hype. Buddy Baker is a third rate superhero without a purpose and a family to provide for. Upon witnessing scientists monkeying with nature (a really bad pun there) and it's effects Buddy decides to become a champion of animal rights. some good stories in here about regular family life for the Baker family and some cameo appearances from Mirror Master and Martian Manhunter are a great bonus.
Cristian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Justyn Rampa
This volume collects the first 9 issues of Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man which has been heralded as something truly wonderful.

I don't completely agree, but I can see where they are coming from.

Originally published in 1988 1989, these issues I think began to introduce the world to the madness of Grant Morrison as well as the animal activism of Grant Morrison.

As for the animal activism, I feel like Grant Morrison did that best with We3. As for his madness, I think Grant Morrison has aged well...more
Sophie
Re-reading this with a lot more background knowledge about some of the other characters was great. I was impressed with this the first time around as well, because of the way the fourth wall is continually challenged (before being scattered at some point in the other volumes, I suppose) and because of, well, the animal rights issues. Besides, Buddy's family life is wonderfully normal and hilarious. It's a fun and intelligent read, and I like that sort of thing.

(And I admit, realizing I am starti...more
Patrick
Buddy Baker seems like a nice enough guy: he's kind of a loafer and a dreamer roughly my age (WTF?), he looks sort of gay in the cutoff jeans and muscle shirt he's always wearing (hey, it's 80's L.A., I understand), and he has a pretty hot wife who looks like Bobby's mom from Bobby's World. When he decides to become Animal Man again his first case takes him into a moral quagmire concerning animal rights and other leftist causes. This storyline, spanning 4 issues and including a bestiality-loving...more
Brad
It's impressive how readable this early Grant Morrison superhero book is. There's one issue with fractal emotional earthquake bombs, but otherwise the whole book is sensible, easy-to-consume, and fun. Those adjectives apply to few of Morrison's more recent work.
The book also feels fairly current. There are some artifacts of the late 1980s--the art feels dated, as do the space Hawkmen with those fractal bombs--but most of the book still works well. The "Coyote Gospel" issue with an interesting Lo...more
Jace
Oct 22, 2009 Jace rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
Is the concept a straightforward superhero story from Grant Morrison too good to be true? Maybe in this day and age, but not back in the 80s. That's one of the things I liked most about this volume: it's a collection of 9 serialized and self-contained stories, free of the pretentious meta-textualism and the masturbatory self-reference that has plagued most of Morrison's recent work. Plus, unlike his work on Batman, you don't need to know every villain from the last 60 years of Animal Man's histo...more
Chumbert Squurls
As an avid Grant Morrison fan, its important to try to read stuff from his entire body of work, not just his great stuff. This was the first thing he did after coming to America to write for Vertigo(a darker imprint of DC). Based on a forgotten sixties hero, Animal Man tells the story of a happily married middle aged guy with the power to instantly acquire the traits of the animals close by. No visionary convoluted philosophy. No memorable scenes or dialogue. The book feels as if Morrison was ne...more
Helmut
Tiere sind nicht so dumm, wie manche denken
Manchmal wird ein Werk so mit Vorschusslorbeeren überschüttet, dass man es lesen muss. Oft ist man dann enttäuscht. Mir geht das bei den meisten Büchern von Grant Morrison so. "Thought-provoking and innovative"? Habe ich auf den hier abgedruckten Seiten nicht entdecken können. Standard-Superhelden-Ware, wenn man mich fragt. Aber vielleicht ist es im amerikanischen Superhelden-Comic-Mainstream schon "thought-provoking", wenn es nicht nur drum geht, wer j...more
Zinz Vandermeer
Volume One of the tale of Buddy Baker, stunt-man and semi-retired hero who keeps getting shafted to the B-List, even though his powers are badass. Buddy is an avid animal rights activist, who sometimes lets that get in the way of … let’s call it intelligent thought.

I love seeing Buddy’s family life. Ellen is a no-nonsense lady who just wants to keep her family together as best she can. Buddy doesn’t make it easy, but their love for each other is sweet and realistic.

Ellen copes rather well with s...more
John Kirk
I enjoyed this - it's pushing the boundaries of superhero stories, with some sympathetic antagonists, but it's still got action and someone who's trying to do the right thing. I'm interested in the animal welfare issues, but I'm also glad to see that Buddy wasn't presented as an expert; he really ought to talk to his wife before unilaterally deciding that the whole family all going to turn vegetarian immediately!

I liked the Coyote story; I think it helps that most people who watched the old cart...more
Eric
Man, I thought this was supposed to be some kind of astute subversion of 80s superhero comics, but it felt pretty much like every other insipidly-dialogued mainstream superhero story, with a bunch of cheesy cameos shoehorned in to sell issues. I could almost hear the live studio audience squealing with glee whenever Hawkman or Martian Manhunter made a fawning full-frame appearance. Disappointing.
Steve
W...O...W...!!!

That's all I could muster after reading this incredible story.

Grant Morrison comes up with a whole new storyline for Buddy Baker, small time superhero with animal powers.

What really kicks the writing up a notch is Jeff Lemire. His artwork elevates this to a whole new level, for something very memorable and very special.

If I had to explain the new 52 Animal Man, it would be John Carpenter's The Thing meets a superhero story.

I don't want to say more. Go read this series, its simply...more
Lloyd
Here I've encountered, for the first time, a Grant Morrison written title that really, in most parts, didn't really read like a Grant Morrison written title.

Buddy Baker is Animal Man. This being a superhero book (definitely the most traditional superhero book that Morrison has written that I've read), his power is that he acquires the power of any animal near to him. He doesn't get the majestic appearance of the lion, the hulking form of the gorilla, just the abilities that they would add to a h...more
Williwaw
Feb 16, 2012 Williwaw rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: comic book crazed folks
Recommended to Williwaw by: Rachel Getts
Shelves: comics
This was definitely a wild ride. There does not seem to be a lot of continuity to the story-line from issue to issue, but maybe Grant Morrison wraps everything up later on. Or maybe this is just standard comic book technique, which makes it easier for a reader to dip into any issue without knowing how it all got started.

There's a famous "Coyote Gospel" sequence, where Morrison turns a Wiley E. Coyote-style character (drawn with much more pathos and creepiness than the Roadrunner version)into a...more
Fizzgig76
Reprints Animal Man (1) #1-9 (September 1988-March 1989). Buddy Baker is a superhero...but he has always been a second stringer as Animal Man...the man with animal powers!!! Animal powers haven’t ranked high among the superhuman abilities when the world is filled with people like Superman and Wonder Woman, but Buddy’s about to change that. He’s pushing his powers to their limits and discovering new abilities. When Buddy is invited to join the new expanded Justice League, things might be looking...more
Herman Gigglethorpe
Sometimes B-list superheroes are more fun! :)

Buddy Baker begins the series as a disillusioned and semi-retired superhero who decides to make a comeback. Animal Man does not transform into animals like Manimal or the Animorphs, but he absorbs powers from animals near him. If he is close to a bird, he can temporarily fly. If he is near an earthworm, he gets regeneration powers.

Plenty of jokes come from the hero's obscure status. His wife Ellen says that they "don't just take anybody" for the Just...more
Madeleine
With each Grant Morrison comic series/graphic novel I read, the more I love him.
Animal Man was part of the late 80s DC "Hey, that Watchmen was popular. Let's go to Britain and hire people there to reinvent characters and make us awesome" period. Grant Morrison was one of the people given a job and his first choice for what character/series to reinvent was Animal Man - an obscure character who could temporarily absorb the abilities of animals around him.
Well, Grant Morrison took this d-list super...more
Bryan
Just re-read the entire run of Animal Man.

This was my favorite comic book when I was in high school. Grant Morrison's run on this was visionary, flawed and deeply moving. Issue 5, "The Coyote Gospel", was my favorite single work of art for a few years though. Ah, youth.

Morrison started Animal Man as a 4 issue mini to re-introduce an obscure character in a new and "adult" manner. They were handing these type of books off to every Brit off the boat in the late 80's. Amping up the violence and advo...more
Kaylee
I'm not very knowledgeable about comics, so I asked a friend to recommend a starting point. [The few I've read have been because I either liked the movie -- Sin City, for example -- or was given the first collection as a gift -- Y: The Last Man, or Maus.]

I definitely wasn't interested in the Marvel/Vertigo world of Superheroes and villains, but this book was actually pretty good. I don't think I'll get Book 2 any time soon, but I feel a little more in the know about a somewhat obscure character...more
Shannon Appelcline
This first volume is an impressive start to Animal Man. It's still pretty standard superhero fare, but Morrison immediately pushes out to the edges of the genre by making it brutally realistic and by really exploiting the possibilities of Buddy's power. The whole B'wana Beast plotline (#1-4) is surprisingly good throughout and the Invasion issues (#6-8) really stand out as well, particularly the Red Mask issue (#7). There's all kinds of great stuff here about heroism and art and life ...

However,...more
Kevin
The saga doesn't stand on its own quite as well as it might. The fact that its in the DC comic continuity or whatever gives rise to a lot of clunky exposition, where suddenly Animal Man will be called off to fight alien invaders or what have you. It might have been more fitting if no one at the Justice League had thought to give him a call. Still, this is a book with a wry humor and a lot of promise, and "The Coyote Gospel" particularly shines. I'm partial also to "The Death of the Red Mask"
Kathleen
The DC reboot has been bothering me lately, so I've decided to go back to a simpler time. Perhaps finally delving into Morrison's run on the Animal Man title wasn't the best way to find simple. I know that I've read more surreal comics, but just now I can't think of any. The story about Wiley--I mean Crafty--Coyote ascending to the higher realm of more realistic comics to save his people from their constant, senseless death only to point out that Animal Man is still a comic was incredibly well c...more
James Schneider
It is fascinating to return to Grant Morrison's earliest large-scale work, his work before his heroes were totemic gods. Animal Man starts small in scale, though you will see seeds of the meta-fiction epic Morrison was building sown throughout. Morrison has expressed explicitly that he had no interest in the Moore school of deconstruction, of treating superheroes as "underwear perverts", and his sense of optimism and social justice ring throughout this volume, which coincided with Morrison's own...more
Karen
It seems contrary to give a graphic novel that I enjoyed as much as Animal Man three stars, but it did not read as a coherent collection. I know that there is some controversy about whether comics should be written for the monthly market or for the later trades, and generally I fall into the former camp. However, tonally and stylistically, the first collection is all over the place, to the point where it felt like I was reading three different comics. There's the deeply serious comic that deals...more
sixthreezy
I love New 52 Animal Man, so I thought I would give Grant Morrison's run a try. As usual, his story is a little confusing and out there, but it works well with a character like Animal Man. I am really interested to see where this line goes. There are a few panels that I find really interesting like one where someone's blood is originally opaque and a brush comes in to paint it red, as well as some other quirky things like that. I like the complexity of a character that seems so simple, and espec...more
Don
Honestly, what this reminded me of most was, strangely, Dave Sim's Cerebus. (Although perhaps not SO strange, given the same bizarre plot twist that happens in the later volumes of each.) Just as with Cerebus, it's clear that the writer had not yet figured out what he REALLY wanted to do with the story until most of the way through the first book. Still, in each one there is undeniably moments of genuine creativity and real brilliance, and in the rightly-lauded issue #5 you can catch your first...more
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Scottish comic book author Grant Morrison is known for culture-jamming and the constant reinvention of his work. He is known for his nonlinear narratives and countercultural leanings in his runs on titles including DC Comics' Animal Man, Batman, JLA, The Invisibles, Action Comics, All-Star Superman, and Doom Patrol, and Marvel Comics' New X-Men and Fantastic Four. Many of these are controversial,...more
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