Animal Man number 9. I loved it, you'll love it, let's talk about it.
First of all, I was a bit hesitant over Steve Pugh's arrival on this title. Travel Foreman did such a wonderful job the first arc, and the issues where they began to split up art duties were uneven, to say the least, and a bit inconsistent. Here, Pugh has full control over every panel of the book, and he seems to have really come into his own. The general style is still the same, and the book clearly isn't as beautifully grotesque as Foreman's work, but at the same time, Pugh still does a great job, and if the comparison to Foreman wasn't there at all, I wouldn't really find a thing to complain about, other than some minor gripes about the quieter moments with the humans.
The story immediately kicks off with a nice reference to the now legendary Morrison run (which I luckily just finished reading last night, so I lucked out there) and continues to deliver the family drama and horror we've come to expect. Now, Lemire brings out the high concept yet again, expanding on the nature of the red and it's role, while also setting up conflict down the line. The story also brings out one of my favorite characters, John Constantine, and sets up for what I believe may be a cross over with Justice League Dark, so keep your eyes peeled. I like the idea of this crossover because, along with how the story is tied together with Swamp Thing already, it brings together the Vertigo section recently re-integrated to the DCU.
Everything in this book is executed wonderfully, and really marks a new high point for this book. I believe Lemire is also writing for JLD now, so I look forward to seeing how these imminent cross-over is going to be handled. If you haven't jumped on yet, the TP is out also, so now's a great chance to join in.