Animal Man #14 Review
I admit, I dropped Animal Man after Issue #12. However, after hearing good things about the Rotworld arc, I decided to go back and purchase the Zero Issue along with the previous issue and this issue. What a wise decision I made!
Rotworld was just the shot in the arm that was needed to move Animal Man along. Don't get me wrong, Animal Man is a series that has very strong characterization and premise. Yet, it felt like the wheels on the plot were spinning the few issues before this crossover began and it took us a few too many issues to reach the Rotworld storyline. Now that we've reached Rotworld, this ride sure has gotten a lot better!
This issue begins with Animal Man learning about the new status quo from the survivors of the Rot Invasion (with what feels like a mini Justice League Dark crossover, always a good thing!). Then, the army of the Rot attacks, led by the dastardly Felix Faust. One of the notable Easter Eggs of this issue is that the transformed heroes and villains are all characters written by Rob Liefeld before his infamous departure from DC (Hawk & Dove, Grifter, Deathstroke, and Hawkman from last issue), a direct barb at Liefeld for the controversial remark he made about Jeff Lemire's noted buddy Scott Snyder (writer of Batman and Swamp Thing).
Anyways, we clearly get a great amount of action and plot progression as both Animal Man and his band or not so merry men (and Black Orchid) move towards fighting the Rot, while Maxine has to deal with the present day troubles. The future Rotworld is detailed drawn by Steve Pugh. Pugh's artwork manages to be both incredibly detailed and incredibly hideous (in a good way) that gives an extremely forbidding tone to the title. Timothy Green draws the present time portions of the story, and while good, doesn't capture the horror of what is going on quite like Pugh's pencils do. However, the art in this issue is very solid, and contributes to the horrifyingly beautiful story of Animal Man.
Overall, this is a really solid entry into the Animal Man story. Rotworld is exactly what needed to happen to Animal (and Swamp Thing) to get the ball rolling on this now multiyear storyline. The great thing about Rotworld is that we all now what the endpoint of this storyline is going to be, but we do not know how our protagonists are going to get there. Sometimes, isn't the journey just as, if not more important than the ending?