I like 'oh shit' moments. 'Oh shit' moments make up some of the best scenes in movies, music and even comics. Take Animal Man #5, which is one long 'oh shit' moment. I’ve been down with this reboot of the C list character from the get go and my eye won’t be wandering anytime soon. Jeff Lemire is the real deal and Animal Man is the freakiest mind slap in comic books right now. This 22 page 'oh shit' moment is not only incredibly cool, it also paves the way for a team up featuring Swamp Thing and Animal Man. Righteous!
First panel, first page, Animal Man’s wife is trying to save her son from some mutated, skinless beast that looks like a humanoid monster abortion as dreamt up by H.P. Lovecraft. Just looking at the thing is creepy, but when it starts belting out “Bad mommy, bad mommy” to Animal Man’s better half, things get downright disturbing. Meanwhile, Animal Man is flying home with his daughter, the Avatar of The Red, and this cat that is actually a god sent to help protect her. Arriving at home, our shirtless hero races off to save his wife and child from the weird left over creature from John Carpenter’s The Thing.
The battle between the two is a rager. Tentacles are involved, skinless flower pod looking mutations, and then a dream; a dream so fucked up it’s amazing. Animal Man’s head on a totem pole made of human organs. His daughter, now mutated into the Rot, tears Animal Man’s face off with her brand new set of sharp fangs. Returning to the real world, Animal Man is more determined to kick The Rot in its evil nut sack and end this whole thing for good. It’d help if he was powerful enough, which he’s not. Like I said, Animal Man #5 is one long 'oh shit' moment.
Cue the daughter, who tries to help daddy but just makes the 'oh shits' worse. Using her power, she calls upon all the living things to attack the abortion creature beating her father up. Problem is, when these animals attack the monster, they become infected and suddenly Animal Man and his family have a whole forest of rotted out creatures chasing them down. The last line in the comic is “Only Swamp Thing can save us now.” Once again, righteous!
Jeff Lemire drops another acid trip of a comic with issue #5 but he also adds that tense 'oh shit' factor. Everything has been simmering with Animal Man, now it’s time for that pot to boil over and spill the thick dark ooze of The Rot on all mankind. I’m excited to see how Swamp Thing works in, what the team up is like and how Animal Man steps up his game. Thus far our hero has been little more than a bit player. I’m down to see him take the fight to The Rot and use that father/protector vengeance to open a can of whoop ass.
Saying Travel Foreman’s art is incredible is getting boring. The man just draws like a psychopathic wet dream, a demon with a penchant for skin and deformity. This is the kind of fucked up art that would have gotten an artist dragged before congress back in the days when EC Horror was getting persecuted. It’s heavy on disturbing imagery, gore and good old-fashioned chills. The art of the dream sequence is some of the best stuff printed in comic books in recent years. Foreman is the mack, a man I hope finds more and more to do. Animal Man #5 is another notch in a series that keeps raising the bar.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 9.5/10 (Story 4.75, Art 4.75)