Monday, November 20, 2006

Animal Man #57

Animal Man #57, March 1993, Vertigo/DC Comics
writer: Jamie Delano
artist: Steve Pugh
colorist: Tatjana Wood
letterer: John Costanza
editor: Tom Peyer

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, the cover of this issue sums it up nicely: last minute grocery shopping, beating the crowds at the check-out lines, finding (and successfully escaping) a prime parking spot. Of course, while Animal Man is a tad sensitive to the turkey's plight, in the face of our impending dinner guests, we could care less about how the main course feels, right?

In this issue, Animal Man doesn't don his neon-colored superhero tights -- he doesn't even fight any evil eco-terrorists. Like its cover, Animal Man #57 sums up the spirit of the holidays, depicting a man finally coming home to his family. After a difficult period trapped in the earth's lifeweb -- the network of consciousness between all living things -- Buddy, getting reacquainted with his human self, spends some quality time with his kids while the missus is away. (Nice to know that before Dr. Doolittle 3, someone else was capitalizing on the animal sympathizer's daughter adopts her father's skills shtick.) This issue was very wordy, with some typical early Vertigo digressions about religion and society, but the read was enjoyable, if a little void of adventure. Buddy takes us on a wild enough ride though his nature-ridden mind, which was good enough for me.

I wonder how an Animal Man would really react in today's world of mass fast food consumption and supposed animal cruelty. Would political naysayers immediately dub him a PETA nut, or would folks embrace his insight into the animal world with an open-mindedness that would truly benefit mankind. One thing is for sure, as established in this issue -- anyone with a keen insight into the laws of nature would understand the importance of remaining connected to your surroundings, to the fellow creatures in your family and community. And nothing brings people together like a good meal. Animal Man may not like the menu, but I'd guess he'd still come to dinner.

Two days and counting.

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