Animal Man, in passing, seems like one of the most unoriginal characters of all time. A guy that has animal powers? Easily a character that is invented a thousand times every year by kids who don’t even know Animal Man exists. Having said all of that, this issue was easily the best #0 issue this week, which is saying something considering the other books were fairly solid. The issue goes into how the champions of the Red are chosen, how Anton Arcane is killing them, but more importantly we see how Buddy Baker received his powers, considering he’s not the Red’s champion. The issue was smart, witty, and most of all it was fun. Lemire was able to briefly and sufficiently explain the Red, the Red’s champions, the Rot, and Buddy’s journey to becoming Animal Man all in one issue. Pugh and Kindzierski’s art throughout the entire issue is absolutely fantastic. They do such an amazing job with the “normal” world, with all its animals and humans, as well as the Red and the Rot Worlds, with all their larger than life deities and monsters. Animal Man #0 is the perfect example of how an origin story should be told. 5/5
The first of many Batman “origin” stories begins here, and Hurwitz decides to take us on a very grim journey long past Bruce’s parents’ deaths. At the start of this issue Bruce has left Wayne manor and is training to become the best at everything. Considering Batman’s origin has been told repeatedly throughout the years, it was a smart choice to have this issue focus on an aspect and time of his life that has not received as much attention. The entire issue centers around the ever present struggle in Batman books, of whether or not love and attachment has any place in Batman’s life. By the end of the issue, Hurwitz has left Bruce in a state at which it is completely understandable why he has issues with love, emotions, and trust. At the end of the day, this issue leaves you wanting more, more stories from this part of Bruce’s life. The story almost feels as if it could have, or maybe should have, been a whole arc that really fleshed out more of the relationships and characters. Daniel, Perez, and Friend do a fantastic job illustrating the issue, and while I’ve never been a fan of Morey’s colors, his work on this issue was excellent. 4/5
For a title that has been struggling for quite a while now, this issue was remarkably well done. While the story does retain key moments from Green Arrow’s original origin, Nocenti writes a solid new story that illustrates exactly why Oliver Queen decides to become a hero. The issue starts off pretty much exactly as anyone who’s ever read about Oliver Queen’s youth would expect, with an over-the-top party where Ollie lavishly spends his father’s money. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when Ollie’s carelessness allows their party boat to be boarded by pirates. Ollie recklessly and unnecessarily attempts to be a hero, and inadvertently ends up blowing the whole ship up. Though it doesn’t paint Ollie in the best light, this issue goes a long way to establish Ollie’s desire to do good and become the hero that he is today. What’s more is that this issue introduces two characters into the story that have previously been missing, Roy Harper and Merlyn. For the last year, this series has struggled because it had attempted, and failed, to establish Green Arrow as a hero independent of his historically large Arrow family and rogues gallery. Hopefully with the appearances of Roy and Merlyn, that will all begin to change soon. 3.5/5
It is always a risk when a writer decides to spotlight a villain for an issue, rather than the hero. However, since the first arc of this series was basically Alec’s origin, it made complete sense for Snyder to put the focus on Anton Arcane instead. For hundreds of years Anton Arcane has made it his mission to hunt down and kill the champions of the Red and the Green. Methodically, and almost easily, he is able to get close to the champions and murder them before they have a chance to respond. Snyder builds Arcane to be this almost perfect killing machine, who dispatches his victims with such ease, that Swamp Thing’s upcoming battle against him seems near impossible. Kano’s art in this issue is both gorgeous and gruesome at the same time. His clean lines, distinct characters, and styled layouts look absolutely amazing and do a great job of bringing Snyder’s story to life. 4.5/5
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