Animal Man is currently out of the red, and during his time away dc has focused this entire issue on “the return of red thunder” -a man who is failing at everything in his life, other than being a real life “super” hero!- . Following in the footsteps of Animal Man AKA Buddy Bakers career as a big Hollywood actor, the zero-to-hero Chaz Grant AKA Red Thunder is approached by a Hollywood agent who wants to make him famous, Chaz is not overly excited about this prospect as he wants to focus his energy on being the hero he works so hard at trying to be, but his ex-wife and his financial difficulties persuade him otherwise. Sure enough Chaz becomes a big celeb-in-a-tin doing reality shows and making t.v appearances, the works! But it is not long before he falls out with his agent in a dispute over where and how he can be his alias Red Thunder, in the midst of this dilemma Chaz is conned out of ever using his alias again as he signed it away with his life when he signed the contracts to become a star.

This is an all round tragic yet fun-read, with obvious links to previous issues as Buddy Baker has also had his fair share of time in the limelight. It shows us the issues that can arise when trying to be too many things at once, and it shows us that even though a man can be the best hero that he strives to be, the decisions he makes involving his own life in the harsh realities of todays world can be forgotten about and therefore be his ultimate down-fall.

animal man #20

The whole comic has a very old-school feel concerning the art-work, and this works extraordinarily  well against the realities of todays world that are made apparent, in this seemingly dis-connected yet extremely relevant storyline. The retro style of this comic (by the various talents involved in it’s creation) also has a very realistic look, using ‘real-life’ colours throughout, whilst the colours used in the tv appearance panels are made much ‘brighter’ further outlining the rise to stardom. Sound effects and lettering is all very clear and easy to read, in true classic comic-book style… How it should be! The placement of the panels is crucial to this issue’s timing, slowing down the rate at which we scan the illustrations enabling us to enjoy this ‘episode’ at a more relaxed pace.

Even though this issue has moved away from the story of Animal Man himself, Red Thunder is a real life hero who we can all relate to on some level. A great instalment in the Animal Man series.

By Dylan Butcher. 😀

Here are some related links, well worth checkin’ out!:-

A place in space…. thanks for supplying this comic!

Jeff Lemire               John Paul Leon            Timothy Green II

Joseph Silver            Lovern Kindzierski         Jared K.Fletcher

Jae Lee…. spectacular cover work! 😉

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