Written by Jeff Lemire
Drawn by Steve Pugh
Since the start of DC’s New 52 universe we have seen the company shy away from a line-wide crossover and instead they have decided to concentrate on contained stories or crossovers that take place in one or two books. A prime example of this is ‘Rotworld’ which primarily takes place in the pages of Animal Man and Swamp Thing. So far, under the pens of Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder respectfully, the storyline has been a really exciting take on a dystopian DC future where only a handful of survivors battle the Rot, a natural force of death and decay that seeks to overcome all natural life.
With Animal Man #15, the latest installment in the crossover, writer Jeff Lemire furthers the plot with twists and turns and a reveal at the end I genuinely did not see coming. Part of the fun of this storyline for me, has been seeing the landscape of this future in both the world and the characters. Who survived? What exactly happened to the rest of the DCU? These are all mysteries and questions that Lemire revels in revealing the answers to.
Here, we get to see Animal Man and his ragtag band of survivors fighting for their lives against Gorilla Grodd as Frankenstein and his patchwork army rides to the rescue. The meat of the issue however deals with the group finding out that the Rot avatar may have imprisoned none other than Superman below the remnants of Metropolis having been unable to kill him. Naturally the group believes saving Big Blue will tip the scales in their war against the Rot and decide to travel there to save Superman but everything may not be as it seems. I won’t spoil the last page twist as it really did surprise me. If anyone has been reading DC’s ‘Earth 2′ book, it does have ties to it and I’m eager to see where this reveal goes in the next issue.
Jeff Lemire has a great handle on all of the characters within these pages. Whether it is the cynicism of John Constantine or Buddy Baker’s unrelenting desire to rescue his daughter he really shows that he gets these characters and the driving forces behind them. With good plotting and dialogue as well as the ability to shock and surprise it’s no wonder Lemire is one of the best writers at DC now and in all of comics.
While I’ve enjoyed Steve Pugh’s art on the title I have really missed Travel Foreman’s pencils when he departed after issue 6. Pugh’s art has been competent in his taking over of the book but I think for me Foreman’s stark and exaggerated style was a major draw for me at the start. However despite this, I will say that Pugh’s rendering of the ‘Rotworld’ itself is fantastic. Everything looks suitably decrepit and you get a real sense of desolation in every page.
I’ve been a huge Animal Man fan since I first read the collected editions of Grant Morrison’s seminal run and I’m really happy with the direction the book has taken. I hope this quality continues as it has here. Furthermore, if ‘Rotworld’ as a storyline continues to impress it may rival ‘Death of the family’ over in the bat-books as best crossover of the year.
4 out of 5 nerds