Buddy Baker’s epic journey to save his daughter and his family takes a strange turn as an unexpected ally comes forth. Lemire’s half of “Rotworld” has been strikingly different than Snyder’s half, in that Animal Man has amassed himself a small army. From Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Black Orchid, he has also added Frankenstein’s dead army to his ranks, and Animal Man is now gearing up to take on Arcane. Animal Man is clearly thinking logically, systematically; basically he’s thinking like a father trying to save his family. And as such, he’s infinitely better prepared for the upcoming battle than Swamp Thing is. Swamp Thing, while in the right place, is on a solo mission blinded by his love, and that is painstakingly apparent in the fact that at the end of both issues, Animal Man has a mini army whereas Swamp Thing has no one. Maxine’s role in all of this remains to be seen, however, from the flashback we can gather that while she may not be dead, she’s most likely no longer the little girl Buddy remembers. Steve Pugh’s art is such a fantastic match to Animal Man’s absurd world. Likewise, Timothy Green and Joseph Silver make a strong addition illustrating Maxine’s story which understandably deserves an art team of its own, and Kindzierski’s colors provide a strong sense of unity and tone throughout the entire issue. 5/5
On this week’s episode of Batman: Detective Comics, Poison Ivy and Clayface get a divorce, Penguin goes to Arkham, Emperor Penguin is born, and Joker’s fury rears its ugly head. While all of that sounds like just another day in Gotham, it reads fantastically well. Layman has almost immediately set the tone and direction of this series, and so far it is terrific. He has a unique way of incorporating humor into the mundane, making the absurd seem completely normal, and best of all he writes a strong Gotham story that doesn’t seem familiar. Villains fighting one another is nothing new, but the way it all plays out in this story leaves room for a more explosive story sometime in the future. While this is a “Death of the Family” tie-in, Layman does a fantastic job of using the story to his benefit as opposed to forcing the situation. Jason Fabok’s art continues to be a welcome addition to the Bat-Universe. His art is clean, energetic, and does a fantastic job of directing Layman’s story. 4.5/5
It is a shame that with all the attention that “Death of the Family” is getting, and rightfully so mind you, “Rotworld” has flown relatively under the radar. Swamp Thing and Animal Man are so consistently well written and illustrated, and as a result this crossover event has been close to perfect. Whereas Animal Man has been a story about familial love, Swamp Thing at its core is a love story. The issue, as it has been since the arc began, switches back and forth from Swamp Thing’s present and a year ago, where Abby’s story takes place. Both characters are driven into action by their desire to help and save the other, and in both cases that leads them directly into the heart of evil. The story so far has been quite strong. There has been a decent amount of action blended in with the suspense, the pacing of the story has been well crafted, and above all there has yet to be a lull in the progression of the story. Marco Rudy’s art is always a welcome sight on this series. His illustration work is similar to Paquette’s, but at the same time it has a very distinct feel to it that works remarkably well with Snyder’s story. 4.5/5
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