Monkey Puzzle last edited by sevensoldiers on 06/08/19 09:13AM View full history

Animal Man is in Comic Book Limbo! What is this surreal place? Who is really Buddy Baker?

A monkey sits in a field, under a tree, typing out Shakespeare on a typewriter. Meanwhile, Buddy prepares to leave his house and go journeying through the moody cemetery that has appeared outside. He tells his pets good-bye and promises to be back soon.

As Buddy walks through the cemetery, we see that there are several memorial for extinct species, such as the dodo and the T-Rex. Buddy hears a jingling and spies a shadowy figure behind a statue. He tells the figure to show itself. An older man wearing a pink and purple jester outfit walks out and introduces himself as Merryman. He welcomes Animal Man to Limbo and surprises Buddy by telling him that he didn't think he'd be back this soon. Buddy asks him what he's talking about because he doesn't remember ever being in this place. Merryman responds that no one remembers Limbo once they leave. He then explains to the confused Animal Man that he is in Comic Book Limbo; where old, uncared for comic book characters go. Merryman is a cartoonist in his secret identity, so he is unfazed by it all. He goes on to say that he knows he looks stupid, but at least he KNOWS he looks stupid... unlike his teammates who are genuinely stupid. He then introduces Animal Man to his "stupid" teammates; the Inferior Five. Elsewhere, the monkey from the beginning had started typing out this issue of Animal Man, when he suddenly grabs his chest and keels over.

The scene switches back to Buddy, where he and the Inferior Five are talking things over beside a decrepit version of the Jokermobile. Awkwardman tells them all that the monkey is dying. When Buddy asks about the monkey, Merryman tells him that it's just a monkey that used to be famous, but now no one is allowed to say his name. He just sits under a tree writing, but there is a legend that one day he'll write everyone out of Limbo. Animal Man remembers Merryman telling him that he was once in Limbo but he just doesn't remember, so Buddy asks him how he got out. Merryman responds by saying that he was written out. He doesn't know how it works... it just does. Buddy then asks if someone is creating them now, and if so, then the writer is the one who killed his family. Merryman doesn't have any answers and tells Animal Man to try the City of Formation. First, however, they need to find that monkey.

As Animal Man and the Inferior Five continue walking, they enter a shantytown full of old characters begging to get out. Merryman says that he hates coming here because the town is full of characters that will never leave; especially the animals. Nobody cares about things like the Space Canine Patrol Agents anymore. At this point, the scene changes back to the person at the computer who has appeared throughout the series. His text captions inform us that HE cares. Meanwhile, Merryman continues to reiterate that nobody cares. Buddy interrupts him and asks that if he takes the monkey to the City of Formation that Merryman mentioned, whether they would be able to help them. Merryman is unsure. Another hero called the Gay Ghost walks up and excitedly tells Merryman that the monkey is still alive. Merryman goes to investigate, while the Gay Ghost and Animal Man exchange pleasantries. Merryman returns carrying the monkey who still has his final script clutched in his hand. Merryman sadly reveals that the monkey is dying, but if Buddy takes it to the City of Formation, then perhaps it can be saved. Animal Man takes the monkey and sets off on his quest.

Five years later: Buddy is still walking and still carrying the monkey. Along the way, he meets various old DC characters and discovers that he can't seem to use his powers. Finally, he runs into Nightmaster and asks him for directions. Nightmaster reveals that he's heading the wrong way; the only building up ahead is an old house. Animal Man looks up ahead in disbelief and sees his home. Buddy approaches the house and enters. He finds the dead bodies of his pets and apologizes to them. He then decides that monkey is also dead. Buddy collapses in defeat and ponders the pointlessness of it all. He eventually goes about prying the dead monkey's grip on the script loose. Buddy reads the script and is astonished to see his own words and thoughts. He flips to the end of the script and reads that he that he goes to the kitchen and finds a pair of scissors. Buddy's text caption tells us that he refuses to go, but the next panel is of him pulling scissors out of the kitchen drawer. He cuts a piece of paper into the shape of a key and prepares to use it on his door. The door changes into a gate and Buddy uses the key. He walks through the gate, past a church, and through another gate. He approaches a building, and a man greets him a the front door. The man introduces himself as Grant and asks Buddy if he's coming in.


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