Page 45 Review by Stephen
We'll be getting to that Brian Bolland cover in the penultimate paragraph.
We're all about the foreshadowing today.
Prior to the riotous DOOM PATROL, Grant's first major triumph still stands out -and not just because Morrison's likeness, flat and cat all became copyright DC.
ANIMAL MAN #1 to 26 was one big story and makes no real sense until you have the whole in front of you, at which point, "Whoa!", for Morrison does here what Moore did for SWAMP THING, taking an entirely throwaway DC superhero (indeed, playing with that C-list status) and turning out in his place a title about family, environment, animal rights, identity, fiction, construction and control.
Over the course of the series Buddy endears himself as a thoroughly likeable though fallible husband and father of two, and it's this focus on the family unit which lodges the books firmly in one's heart. Series artist Chaz Truog played no small part in maintaining the title's domestic distance from all the pugilistic testosterone at DC Central for the family are, to be honest, all a bit gawky, including Buddy himself - in or out of costume.
But yes, as I say, it's all about the family, and partly about them coping with Buddy's new status as a fully fledged member of the Justice League of Europe, all the unwanted attention that attracts to their simple suburban life, and the new security systems that must now be installed into an otherwise low-tech home.
Ominously presaged in two momentary panels in this volume, there's a sequence coming up during the second which is as haunting to read today as it was back then, where Buddy's daughter is playing gleefully in their back garden, only to find the man her father will become staring down at her under the shadow of a tree:
"Hello, Maxine. I had a dream the other night, Maxine. I dreamed you grew up and everything was okay. You can't even hear me, can you? I can't even warn you.
"Oh, Maxine. I miss you. I miss you all so much."
As the series comes to its climax, Buddy gradually becomes aware that he and his brood have fallen victim to barely imaginable forces beyond their control; forces which are hinted at as early as the fifth chapter, which are controlling his life in precisely the same way that I am currently controlling this online review.
With a keyboard.