The hits just keep on coming, as Buddy Baker suffers loss after loss after loss. While Batman lost his son in a much more public manner, what with all the Bat-titles being stamped Requiem, Buddy has had to handle the loss of his son quietly, both in and outside of the comic. Animal Man, since the DCnU launched, has been one of DC’s most consistently well written and illustrated titles. The story has been emotionally driven from the beginning, and the emphasis on family is what makes Cliff’s death so important in terms of this story. Ellen, who has never really accepted Buddy being a superhero, has now completely cut Maxine off from her father in some ridiculously foolish attempt to “protect” her, and Buddy has lost his connection to the Red, leaving him disconnected from everything around him. The direction this story is going in is very dark and different than what it started out as, but it’s absolutely wonderful. 4.5/5
If DC hadn’t decided to screw the pooch and renumber all of their titles, this issue would have been called Batman: Detective Comics #900. Awesome, right? Unfortunately, DC did mess with things, and so this issue was conveniently titled “The 900.” History lesson aside, this issue was fantastic. John Layman uses the issue to introduce Kirk Langstrom into the DCnU. The story is written terrifically well, it’s interesting, slightly different than the original Man-Bat origin, but it’s nevertheless a great issue. This issue highlights an aspect of Layman’s run that has been extremely well done, in that he has issues that are essentially one-shots, however, they all tie back into his Emperor Penguin arc. The 80 page issue has some mini-stories in the back that are also well written, that do a great job of tying to the main story. Even though DC screwed this title over from having a “#900” tag, Layman, Fabok, and the rest of the contributors did a great job of giving this title the respect it deserved. 4.5/5
Charles Soule and Kano take Swamp Thing in a whole new direction with their first issue. Abby is dead and with her went Swampy’s reason for living for the past 18 issues, so this issue presents a Swamp Thing who is much more in tune with the Green. His powers seem to have flourished, and he is able to do things with far more ease and finesse than he has in the past. The first 18 issues of the series were very Swamp Thing centered, but with this issue Soule branches out into the rest of the DC Universe, bringing both Scarecrow and Superman into the mix. Kano’s art is absolutely remarkable in this issue. His line work and layouts look great, and coupled with Matthew Wilson’s colors the art maintains the high standard this series has been presenting since the beginning. 4/5
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