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Animal Man

Unearthed: Animal Man #56, Part Two

It all wraps up here… perhaps a bit too tidily.

Cliff is having a nightmare about his recent experience. I think we’re meant to believe that he doesn’t know his dad was the horrific creature that saved his life. Maybe he was unconscious the entire flight back home?

And I have to comment on the change in artists here. This is load-bearing art. It’s fine for getting the point across. But after the viscerality of Steve Pugh, it’s a let-down. I’m assuming Steve needed a break, so they brought these guys in.

Also, I just realized Ellen says “okak” here.

So yeah, Buddy’s watching from the wings, afraid to traumatize his son further with his appearance.

One of the hallmarks of Delano’s run on this title is his adherence to the practical realities that surround the otherworldly aspects of this story. It grounds the action in a weird way.

Couples fight, and this couple is no exception. Being a super-powerful animal god really doesn’t help with mundane issues like raising a family.

I love that Ellen is sticking to her guns here. This isn’t a Beauty and the Beast story. She wants her old Buddy back.

Buddy explains what it’s like to be this animal god, this ‘Pan’, as Maxine runs in on all fours.

This is harsh coming from Ellen, but she means it.

But Maxine has discovered her father’s severed fingers, which were in the pouch that Dudley gave to Cliff. As usual, she’s ahead of everyone.

See, the problem Buddy’s been having is that he can’t control his transformations. It was a huge gamble being reborn in the first place; he had to traverse the life tree all the way back to his genetic beginnings just to get to where he is now.

The problem was, Buddy needed some kind of guide to what his original form was. And now he’s got his old fingers, with their old DNA…

He just needs to figure out what to do with them.

These three panels could have been done much better in the hands of a more creative artist. Three panels showing the same shot? What a waste.

Meanwhile, Cliff seems to be back to his old self again, with his weird, violence-obsessed drawings. Ellen doesn’t seem to care anymore.

Buddy’s undergoing a transformation, but it’s not clear how he’s doing it. Was eating the fingers and willing it to happen enough? Apparently.

It worked somehow. This should be a triumphant moment, but the artwork is so stock-standard it really kinda ends up feeling like nothing.

Buddy’s trapped himself! His powerful form was strong enough to move the boulders that hid this cave, but his relatively feeble human form can’t quite do it. Weird, ’cause before all this happened, Buddy’s powers allowed him to copy animal abilities. So presumably he could still mimic the strength of a bear, or an ant, and get out that way.

Again, I lament the loss of Steve Pugh.

And Ellen, who just happened to be walking by, hears Buddy screaming and helps get him out.

She nurses him, both figuratively and literally, back to life.

And that’s the end of Animal Man: Flesh and Blood! A really interesting take on the Animal Man character, breaking him down to revitalize him, in the same way that Alan Moore did with the Swamp Thing. Join me next time for something new and different!

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