Lloyd's Reviews > Animal Man, Vol. 1

Animal Man, Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison
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's review
Nov 01, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: 1980s, comic-book-graphic-novel, grant-morrison
Read from October 30 to November 01, 2015

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 human's natural strength, speed, regeneration... You get the idea.

That being said (and I think Morrison definitely meant for this to happen), Buddy/Animal Man is sort of an ineffectual superhero. It's the next door neighbor that saves Buddy's wife and child from brutality at one turn, his wife kicking Mirror Master in the balls at another, saving Buddy's hide. This was an interesting thing to read.

But much like Buddy is learning to be a hero, it feels like Grant Morrison was learning how to write this particular hero at this point in time. We already know that Morrison is a master story-teller at this point, having churned out "Batman: Arkham Asylum" (a masterwork) at around the same time.

One might attribute this to the fact that Grant had only pitched Animal Man to be a four-issue limited series and instead was brought on and asked to make it into an ongoing title. That coupled with the fact that he had to write around a major DC universe crossover in "Invasion" for a couple of issues in the midst of this run, made the first nine issues feel just a bit disjointed.

BUT, one can definitely see the seeds (most markedly in issue #5; "The Coyote Gospel") of what is said to turn into a metafictional, mind-bending, more Morrisonian run in later volumes. And reading this one wasn't painful, just not what you might expect after reading Morrison's other stellar works.

I'd recommend this to fans of the traditional superhero type story, hardcore fans of Morrison, and those interested in getting ALL the pieces of what promises to turn into a great run.

***Thoughts after rereading in November 2015***

I'm going to correct my past self here and say that this definitely feels like Grant Morrison's writing.

The issues may be several one off stories, but (again differing from my former opinion) I no longer think the work is disjointed.

I've this time realized the deftness of Morrison's prose in the narration and his common themes peeking through from between the lines.

I've also got great admiration for the artists who worked on this book. Chas Truog, Doug Hazlewood, and Tatjana Wood nail the perfect feel for the interior art. And covers by Brian Bolland are always a treat.

Great book.

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Reading Progress

03/06/2011 page 189
10/30/2015 marked as: currently-reading
11/01/2015 marked as: read

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