Animal Man

Unearthed: Animal Man #53

Buddy Baker’s human body is dead at last… but Buddy himself clings to existence as a mite on his wife Ellen’s eyelash. A tale as old as time!

An indeterminate time after her ordeal at the morgue, Ellen has cremated Buddy and is saying her final goodbye. Little does she realize that Buddy’s a passenger on her very body…

… precariously clinging to life on her eyelash as some kind of mite. No way to contact or signal her, his existence is miniscule and fleeting.

Oh no! In her grief, Ellen sheds tears, which are large enough to envelop Buddy’s new body and powerful enough to wrest him free of his perch and into the nearby river.

He is almost immediately consumed by a simple hydra resting on a branch of an under-surface plant. Just before death, Buddy transitions his consciousness to that of the hydra.

Delano doesn’t dwell too long on the disparity in complexity between Buddy’s consciousness and the hydra’s… is he an intelligent hydra, or a dumbed-down Buddy?

Buddy’s about to jump hosts again…

Meanwhile, Dudley and Cliff are somewhere on their trip to the dead heart of everything. And fishing! … oh no.

Usually the villain says this line to the hero as a threat; Dudley’s already gone and killed Buddy.

Big fish eats little fish, and so it goes.

That Dudley, he’s a charmer.

Cliff’s starting to have second thoughts about his jaunt with ol’ Unca Dud.

Yeah, this stuff’s messed UP.

Back home, Ellen alludes to Maxine’s insistence that her daddy isn’t dead… though no one believes her.

Maxine’s an interesting kid. She has some kind of connection to the Lifeweb, the metaphysical structure that binds all living things. We don’t know what she can or can’t do yet.

Psych! The fish Dudley caught wasn’t Buddy after all! Here, a dragonfly nymph is devouring the actual Buddy-carcass.

Following its instincts, the nymph climbs a reed to get to the sun. Somehow, Maxine recognizes her father in it.

Buddy’s a dragonfly now! Maxine is overjoyed!

Emboldened by the sight of his daughter, Buddy tries to fly before his new body is completely ready…

… and is summarily swallowed by a predatory bat.

Maxine is horrified. Does she NOW believe her father’s dead? For good this time?

Join me next time for Animal Man #54!