Whether or not we’d like to admit it, social media plays a huge part n our lives, and Jeff Lemire brings that aspect of the real world into Buddy’s world. The issue starts off with Twitter/Facebook Status style updates by fans regarding Buddy’s life, and these updates continue throughout the issue. What is great about this, is that it fairly accurately depicts how our society as it is would react to a super-powered celebrity. The lady who snaps a picture of Animal Man as he rushes off to save her pets, as well as the constant updates as to Animal Man’s location sums up just how little privacy celebrities are awarded. Beyond that, this issue moves Animal Man forward in two important ways. First, while Buddy is still reeling over the loss of his son, he finally dons the Animal Man suit after two months. He’s certainly not moving on, but he he is starting to live with his loss. Secondly, Maxine has deepened her connection to the red against her mother’s wishes. She enters the red and bargains her cooperation with the goal of bringing her brother back to life. As a sibling, I not only understand where she is coming from, but am thoroughly excited for this direction for Maxine. Steve Pugh delivers wonderfully dark and grim artwork for this issue that is perfect for this dark period. 4.5/5
While this is an issue of the “Batman and …” series, Batgirl takes most of the spotlight on this issue. So much so, that it actually felt more like a Batgirl issue than a Batman and Batgirl issue. This issue has Batman confronting Batgirl about her removal of the Bat-signal from her costume, and it has her start making amends with her brother’s death and her role in it. Basically, scenes that you normally would have expected to have been resolved in Batgirl. That being said, though, Peter Tomasi writes a wonderful Batgirl, and if Gail Simone ever needed a fill-in writer, he should be number one on that list. The only “problem” regarding this issue is that there wasn’t much “Bargaining” going on, on Batman’s part. In fact, if the stages of death model that Tomasi is following hadn’t been so widely known, I wouldn’t have even realized that this issue was supposed to be about bargaining. It’s not necessarily a problem, though, because the issue works fine without it, and I’m not sure how well a bargaining issue would have worked, seeing as Damian is already dead. While Patrick Gleason’s art was missed, Cliff Richards handles the pencils on this issue and does a wonderful job filling in. 4/5
James Tynion IV’s run has been shaky so far, however, this issue is definitely the best in his run. With Hugo Strange and the Untitled entering this issue, Tynion is tying up some loose ends that were introduced a while ago, while also taking the series into his own direction with the inclusion of the League of Assassins. Whereas Hugo Strange’s role in all this remains unknown, what is certain is that the Untitled and the Assassins most likely don’t care what happens to Jason, Roy, or Kori. Tynion is doing a great job handling his cast of three, making sure none of the characters are overshadowed, as well as making sure that each of them has a distinct voice and personality. Julius Gopez ‘s art, colored by Nei Ruffino, is inconsistent. There are some panels which are highly rendered and gorgeous, but unfortunately they’re followed up by panels that are less detailed and flat. Once the art consistency sticks, this title will once again be a force to be reckoned with. 4/5
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