Brother Blood has become the new Avatar of the Red, and his reign of terror has begun.
Where we left off, what felt like eons ago, Brother Blood had taken over the parliament as Maxine and Buddy Baker both felt the rips and tears of the Red. Although Brother Blood stole the show in the previous comic, he took a lesser role in Animal Man #24.
The issue focused primarily on the Bakers and the inevitable breakdown of the Parliament of the Red. Despite that Brother Blood was the tool used to disassemble them; he was more of a means to an end for the mutinous Totem. The comic also brings up an additional faction that Brother Blood had been saving and it appears that chaos is just around the corner.
Animal Man has not finished mourning the loss of his son Cliff, and now he was faced with the disappearance of his daughter Maxine. Jeff Lemire continues to focus on the emotional aspects of the book and it serves well in this issue. Seeing the Bakers finally put differences aside and come together as a family was rewarding to see after a few painfully depressing comics. Now that the inner demons are quelled for the time being, they can focus on the very present outer demons that have changed the Red.
New entities are brought in on both the villain and hero spectrum in this issue. We learn something new about the world of the Red in every issue, and being that it is a very new place that we do not yet understand, gives Lemire artistic liberty to create his own dark world. Giving him such a large facet to work with has given him an outstanding ability to take Buddy Baker to places he has never seen, let alone imagined.
Another stand out that the comic had was the new artist. Rafael Albuquerque, native to Scott Snyder’s American Vampire, will be the ongoing artist for Animal Man. His art style is very different from Steve Pugh and Francis Portela, but in a good way. Whereas Pugh and Portela focus on the gore and highlight their features, Albuquerque focuses on the darkness. It arguably fits Lemire and Animal Man’s style better as a great deal of the horror aspect of the book is left to the readers imagination. Albuquerque seems right at home in the Red and where the arc is going, it appears he will be able to create memorably terrifying scenes to come.
Animal Man #24 is a strong issue on both the writing and the artistic front, but it wrestles with a few problems. Brother Blood seemed like a peon in this issue as opposed to the violent avatar he appeared the be in the former. Whereas he was the one in command, it seems like a sudden shift for him to be referring to someone as his Lord and taking every order it demanded of him. It felt like Brother Blood went from a king to a puppet in a very short amount of time. With the introduction of numerous new beings in the arc, Brother Blood may fall short until the final confrontation.
The only other minor issue the comic had was that Rafael Albuquerque may have wasted some space in a few parts. There were numerous panels that had only used roughly 20 percent on the characters and dialogue, and left with an empty space. It shouldn’t be anything to worry about as he has done a superb job stepping into the vicious world of Animal Man.
Animal Man #24 has a few issues, but none of them pull the book down in anyway. It was enjoyable and satisfying in every aspect, and delivers heavily due to the new artwork. Lemire and Albuquerque are melding very well, and the oncoming issues can only get better.