Animal Man faces off against Brother Blood’s followers as our world and the Red begin to cross.
After crashing the Oscar Awards ceremony in the previous issue, Brother Blood’s followers dictate their plans while the world watches in horror. Buddy is given a choice: hide and watch people die mercilessly on television screens around the world, or face the underground cult head-on. Naturally, Animal Man arrives to the ceremony to not only stop their massacre, but also to find his daughter Maxine.
The writing in Animal Man #25 is a bit slower than last issue. Jeff Lemire takes a back seat approach to let Rafael Albuquerque create numerous fight sequences that he hasn’t had the full opportunity to draw yet. Although we had a few scenes here and there in Animal Man #24, he wasn’t able to unleash Buddy in the way you would expect. Seeing Albuquerque release Animal Man in this issue is a spectacle to be seen. Inspired by an older Animal Man era, Albuquerque uses the previous archetypes to instill his own style in the piece. It resonates well with the story that Lemire is trying to tell and the two of them work well together.
Lemire develops the arc a bit more and although it isn’t the best issue in the arc, he is able to keep things moving forward, albeit slowly. Maxine is given a bit more time to develop and it is intriguing to see where the story is taking her. An issue focused solely on Maxine at this point could only benefit the arc.
The story progresses in a way that is expected. The evildoers reveal more of their plan and their chaotic intentions. Buddy attempts to stop them along the way. Maxine remains hidden in the Red, desperate to keep distance between her and Brother Blood. As a result, this issue loses its shock factor and overall interest along the way. Although we are to believe things are moving forward and that the arc is reaching its grand finale, the hype is beginning to die down.
Albuquerque does great work in this issue, as he finally gets to use Animal Man’s older artistic style of placing the animal Buddy is drawing power from in the same frame. However, Albuquerque doesn’t change Buddy’s appearance in the process. After Animal Man was reborn during “Rotworld”, he was given his abilities once more, but expanded. Not only would he draw his talents from animals, but he would also morph into an appearance of that animal. Albuquerque chooses not to draw Buddy in this way. It can make the reader somewhat confused if Buddy can pick and choose when he wants to change his appearance, which detracts from the mysteriously horrifying new mechanic to his powers.
No spoilers here, but the ending is downright questionable. Things take a turn for the worse and it didn’t make the slightest bit of sense. Until next issue, the reader will have absolutely no idea where the end of this comic came from and not in a good way.
Animal Man #25 is a rare misstep in the series. Despite finally seeing Albuquerque demonstrate his artistry in Buddy’s powers, the questionable choices in both the writing and drawing aspects of the book bring the issue down. The ending is shoddy and feels forced, but we’ll have to wait until next month to fully understand what the hell is going on.