Animal Man

Unearthed: Animal Man #55

Many things come to a head this issue; let’s dive in.

Cliff wakes from a dream that’s pretty metaphorical, if only he’d realize it in time. But he won’t. Such is the way with these things.

Cliff’s… not a nice kid. I don’t believe his parents know this side of him, or if they do, they dismiss it as a “male boy” thing. But Cliff’s going to confront true darkness soon. Will it change him? Make him see what he’s only been playing at this whole time?

Really, it’s pretty obvious what Dudley’s been leading Cliff to this whole time, right?

I mean, you’d have to be pretty dense not to run screaming from a place like this. But Cliff’s… kinda dense. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. He’s not stupid, he just lives in his own, messed-up world. But for how long?

Back at the farm, Ellen remembers a time when Dudley was chasing her around one day.

Don’t worry, this isn’t going where you might think it would.

Why’s this memory suddenly come to Ellen now? Now, when it’s far too late? Well, that’s horror, isn’t it?

Unbeknownst to either Ellen or her Mother, Maxine’s gone off on her own to find Winky, because she knows her daddy’s life essence is still living in the giant beast.

We join Buddy as he and the beast wander the world. This kicks off a philosophical, text-heavy section of the comic, so buckle up.

Poor Buddy, adrift in the lifeweb, no one to guide him, and piecing it all together by sheer will and some kind of weird biological reasoning.

This makes me wish I could see it animated.

Buddy is… descending? ascending? the genetic tree, trying to get back to some primal point.

Meanwhile, back at Despair, Dudley’s leading Cliff deeper and deeper into the mines, where we know what’s going to happen, and Cliff is just blissfully unaware of his impending fate.


It’s the point of no return. You had so many chances, Cliff, honestly.


I’ll never escape these seething, phantasmagoric images for as long as I live.

This is it: the heart of the Red, the genetic source of all life. Eerie, isn’t it?

Buddy recapitulates phylogeny, moving his way from form to form.

And he quickens in Winky’s womb. I should mention here that I’ve skipped a ton of panels; it’s not my purpose to simply reprint everything in the comic. I want you guys to seek these collections out on your own and read them as they are, fully-formed.

Meanwhile, Ellen’s yelling at her mother, who’s lost Maxine. But Maxine’s back, with a little something.

It’s not clear if Maxine knows it’s her daddy or not. She’s kind of a weird kid.

Steve Pugh, unafraid to go straight for slapstick with his characters.

What on earth could possibly be next? Find out in the next installment!