Friday, June 29, 2012

Animal Man #10

When I look at this cover, "Who Wants To Live Forever?" plays in my mind. This is one of the least convoluted connections my mind tends to make so I'll explain it (many of you possibly beat me to it and don't need this explanation): Queen did the music for the movie Flash Gordon. Just before ordering the Hakwmen to attack, the lead Hawkman, Mr. Feathers, says, "Who wants to live forever?" And thus the Queen song playing in my head.

The above caption is a good example of why knowing things is better than Googling things. When you know things, your brain connects everything to everything else. By only being curious about things that involve you and your narcissism, you quickly become a one-dimensional Googling machine that needs to access the Hive Mind for the answer to anything you come across. But that answer is ephemeral and insubstantial and of the moment. Without retaining it to use later, it means nothing. You, in effect, become a Future Retard.

When I last was hanging out with Animal Man, we were drinking fuckin' PBRs and running around in the fucking Red. It was amazing. He was all, "Dude! Check out that fuckin' island of Rot! It's literally killing this place!" And I was all, "Hells yeah! Totes, mo fo mo mo!" And then he was all, "Whoa, wait a second. I gotta rock some fuckin' texts to my boys." And I was all, "Coo, coo." And he spat beer out his nose and was all, "Fuck man! I thought I was Animal Man! You fuckin' channelin' a pigeon, bitch?!" And then this Goat guy hangin' with us and sportin'' this rippin' big amazing beard was all:

"SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU MORONS!" And he literally killed me.

Which meant Animal Man and the Goat Guardian were left to deal with the Island of Rot infestation all by themselves. As Buddy and Goat Guardian smash the Rotlings living on the island, Goat Guardian gives Buddy a history lesson just like Socks is currently giving Maxine a history lesson in the real world.

And that's really sort of the last piece of the puzzle on why The Rot has become so powerful.

While Animal Man and Goat Guardian wait for reinforcements (the flying dogs on the cover except live ones), Ellen and Cliff enter a hotel room with John Constantine. That's a phrase that never ends good for anyone except John Constantine. But this time I think it's okay because Xanadu and Zatanna are waiting in the room for everyone.

Is it really rude to stare at a woman who fights evil in her underwear?

After being kicked out of the room where Xanadu's tits are hanging out of her dress and Zatanna's leather pants are riding up her cooch (images and language entirely Cliff's and not mine at all), Cliff heads back to the RV. But on the way, he runs into his dad hanging out between motel units. Well, it's not his dad. It's the fake Buddy Baker. It's Hunter One or Two or Three. I don't remember which one he is.

The feeling this scene gave me is the feeling Swamp Thing was going for. That smile on Fake Buddy's lips. The foreshadowing from the Annual about what The Rot has done to Cliff. It's like the scene in King's novel, Pet Sematary, where the family is having a picnic and enjoying a truly good day and it's all just too good and that knowledge enters at the back of your brain and bores right through to fuck your cerebellum. Because you suddenly know (not guess, not assume, you KNOW) that Gage Creed is going to die. It's like that moment in television series, The Walking Dead, when the barn has been emptied and everyone hears one more zombie beginning to shuffle out. And it all comes crashing in and you suddenly know and the air leaves your lungs and you quietly mutter, "Oh shit." It's like that. But here. In one page.

I've been a bit hard on Animal Man for being a quick read from month to month. That the plot was sort of meandering and not going anywhere. But most of what came before helps to create this moment. All the casual time spent with Buddy and Maxine and Ellen and Cliff help to make this moment of inevitability that much more tragic.

Here's Cliff. Here's the danger. And nobody's there to help.

Back in The Red, Goat Guardian and Buddy Baker get a lift from the Dog Warriors to the Totem's castle. That's what's happening on the cover but much less aggressively!

Animal Man is still being schooled on The Red.

At the motel, Xanadu explains to Ellen that she had a vision of the end of the world where just Ellen and Maxine were left. And she explains that it's Ellen's fault that things turned out this way. Ellen doesn't want to listen and storms out of the room.

And he doesn't mean Swamp Thing. Seriously. He says so himself after Ellen leaves. So he must mean Frankenstein. Or Hulk!

Ellen tears out of the parking lot in anger when her mother says, "Where's Cliff?"

Yeah? Maybe he's off masturbating to the image of Xanadu's boobs hanging out of her Power Girl imitation dress.

Buddy Baker finally gains entrance to the Totems and they're a little bit pissed off at him for failing. They tell him he can't return to his body because one of The Hunters is currently using it. And the Hunter has Cliff. Now Buddy is even more desperate to get back to save Cliff and protect his family. And while the Totems would rather construct a new Champion to protect Maxine, they don't have time. Socks the Cat can't protect Maxine unless they attack with laser pointers and catnip mice. So they decide to construct a new body for Buddy Baker! I can't wait to see it. I hope it's cute!

Animal Man #10 Rating: +1 Ranking. I think the comic has found its pace. Now I can only hope the editors at DC don't fuck up the story by demanding silly crossovers. If Frankenstein is who Constantine was talking about (who else could it be? J'onn J'onzz? Green Lantern?), then that crossover is fine because both books are written by Lemire. He's already had Franky investigating the hunters in Frank's own book. And, yeah, that story sucked. But I'm going to remain optimistic!

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