ANIMAL MAN: ROTWORLD: THE RED KINGDOM
Buy At Amazon: Animal Man Vol. 3: Rotworld: The Red Kingdom
Much of the forward moment set up in the first two volumes of what has turned out to be one very LONG story gets frittered away by endless action scenes. The battle in this volume seems to go on forever and involve a cast of thousands. Or at least a lot of horrific versions of the DC Universe. There are some cool things, but they get lost in the narrative.
The Rotworld saga also overlaps the Swamp Thing title, which is good in some respects because it gives readers a view of what Alec Holland and company are doing these days, but there’s just too much going on to get it all sorted. Then, when Lemire throws in Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. and Black Orchid and John Constantine, things get tangled quickly regarding who’s doing what to whom and why.
Again, there are light points to enjoy, such as when Maxine starts manifesting animal powers like her dad, but even that bit of lighter fare gets eclipsed by the ever-increasing darkness. You can feel the oppressing BAD THINGS that are going to happen in this story. The tale is bleak and almost hopeless. It’s almost like watching a Rocky movie, watching Rocky get beaten up and knocked down again and again, knowing that at the end he will rise to his feet and become a champion. But man it’s a long time till we get there, and the ending just sucks all the relief away in one vanished heartbeat.
The imagery is sharp and intense, something I’ve come to expect from this series, but it almost reminds me of Marvel Zombies, a title I was aware of but never really got into. Superheroes like the Justice League are turned into monstrous creatures. Even Batgirl, who’s somehow working with Swamp Thing to offset the effects of Rotworld, has been changed into something macabre.
The Swamp Thing storyline almost invades the Animal Man arc to the point that Buddy Baker and his concerns all but vanish here and there. It was interesting, but I had to work too hard to figure out where Batgirl and the Batbot came from or how they got there. There was simply too much going on, and not all of those events took place in this graphic novel.
I assume reading the Swamp Thing graphic novel about Rotworld will fill in those gaps, but I don’t know that I’ll be all that interested in rehashing everything that goes on in this book. Once was enough. However, Scott Snyder is currently writing Swamp Thing and he’s a writer that I’ve recently found and am enjoying. So … we’ll see.
As to the Rotworld saga, it grinds to a close in this volume of Animal Man but it leaves emotional destitution in its wake. I didn’t see the ending coming, and I’m not really happy with it. I know writing is supposed to elicit an emotional reaction on part of the reader, but this one is just a total downer. Maybe there’s a reset button waiting in the future, but if Lemire doesn’t handle that well, I’m going to feel cheated.
The fourth volume won’t be out for a while, and at this point I’m really not ready to get into it anyway. This entry exhausted me on several levels.