Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Review: Grant Morrison's The Animal Man Omnibus

On our anniversary, my amazing wife (after some strong hinting) got me Grant Morrison's Animal Man Omnibus edition. This is a massive book, with over a 1000 pages. It collects Morrison's complete run on Animal Man from 1989-1992, all 28 issues of the series. The quality of the book is great with high quality gloss pages and a slightly oversized size. After three months of night-time reading I have finally finished this story that only a crazy man like Morrison can imagine.

The Story
Animal man seeing the reader for the first time.

The story is very engrossing and engaging throughout. The book follows Buddy Baker (aka. Animal Man) and his family shortly after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths which consolidated several Earth's into a single continuity. Morrison's admittedly injected a lot of his own values into Buddy Baker making him now a vegetarian and an animal rights leader and advocate. While often the inclusion of political ideology in comics comes off as "preachy" this did not happen here for me. This could be attributed to my love for all things Morrison or, more likely, to the engaging writing that made these changes feel natural for the character and not random.
Also, Morrison did not only update Animal Man in just ideology but also in powers. He can now channel the power of any animal, not just those nearby. This updating is probably the largest theme in the book as a whole, for Buddy is updated alongside several other heroes and villains ( e.x., A new B'Wana Beast is chosen and he is a black South African man, whose story is entrenched in the horrors of the Apartheid).

The Art
From the covers to the pages, Animal Man has some of the best artists working on the book. Brian Bolland does all of the iconic and amazing covers and the pencil work inside is done mostly by Christ Truog. I personally do not usually enjoy the majority of comic art from the 80's era, but Truog's work is exceptional work. His art is not only great work for its time but can still stand today as a great piece of comic art. Truog and Bolland's art specifically is superb towards the end of the series when the 4th wall is slowly demolished and Morrison brings back to life the crazy Golden and Silver Age characters that were forgotten/destroyed by the Crisis. The story at this point provides some unique situations to bring to life (my favorite part is when Animal Man starts to bend and break the panel boxes to distract certain characters).
Animal Man (left) and Grant Morrison (right) talking about an Earth
with no heroes.

For Animal Man fans, Morrison fans, DC fans, and comic fans in general, this is a great buy with a great story. I loved to see the early work of Grant Morrison and it was great to see the character Buddy Baker in his pre-New 52 itineration.

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