Opening your first issue with a solid page of text is a risky move, as a lot of readers are gonna get real bored, real fast. If we comic readers were a literate bunch, we'd read the books WITHOUT pictures. But writer Jeff Lemire presents a fictitious interview with the title character, and, in the span of ONE PAGE, tells us everything we need to know about Buddy Baker, AKA Animal Man. Good stuff.
This is a refreshing comic in a lot of ways. Buddy's a pretty normal guy, except for the ability to channel the abilities of the entire animal kingdom. He's got a wife, two kids, a normal house, a job ( a stuntman, giving him a chance to use his powers for stuff besides punching bank robbers in the face), the whole deal. It may sound mundane, but I assure you, in the realm of superheroes, this is pretty unique and also helps ground the story in some semblance of reality.
What is less unique is Lemire's use of a dream sequence to hint at the threats to come. It's a tired tool. It's almost as played out in fantasy/sci-fi as prophecies are. I'd rather come in 1st Place in a penis-kissing contest than see another story with a prophecy in it.
The art in Animal Man is problematic, but that can't all be attributed to artist Travel Foreman. The colors are flat and washed out, like it was colored with Microsoft Paint or something. Foreman does have to take the blame for the occasional panel where otherwise healthy people look like they've suddenly become burn victims.
Will I buy it again: Probably not, but not every good comic is for every good/hairy comic reader.
New reader friendly: Quite.