At last, we reach the end of it all. Animal Man by Jeff Lemire comes to a close with this issue. It’s been a long and exciting journey, but also emotional and heartbreaking at times. What is there left for us with this finale? Is it good?
Animal Man #29 (DC Comics)
After Buddy makes some final arrangements with Socks and Shepard in the Red, he goes home to his family that night, happy that the madness is over now. Before he goes to sleep, he checks in on Maxine and offers to tell her a story before she goes to bed. However, she decides to tell him a story instead…
To describe this issue in three words: “Simple, but beautiful.” That was this issue is. This is not some extravagant climax like the previous issue, there is no action, no high-stakes, no shocking moments, and no tense situations. This appears simple in scope (a calm epilogue of sorts where we and the characters reminiscence about the past), but it is more than that. It is beautiful. It is powerful. It is emotional. It is a fitting conclusion to this series.
It’s about accepting all that has happened and being able to move on, despite how hard it is. It’s a tale with real emotional depth to it, as Maxine tells her story to Buddy and we reflect on all that happens. It’s not overly wordy or complex (it’s sort like a child’s storybook in a way), but so strong and emotional that the audience will certainly come away feeling something. It’s hard to put into words, but it is just so perfect in how it handles and ends everything on an emotionally high note.
Of course, this ending wouldn’t nearly be as strong if the characters weren’t nearly this developed or so fully human. After all the trials they have been put through, what they gained and lost; you are really invested in all of them and feel satisfied by the endings they get. Especially with Buddy, being finally able to have some peace for once and being able, for now at least, to be happy. In a way, this ending is a bit more powerful than Grant Morrison’s end of his Animal Man run, with its bigger focus on family and emotion rather than trying saying something about comic book writing and comic books in general. Also, the family was actually characterized and went through development and growth, but that’s a discussion for another time.
The artwork for the book is drawn by Travel Foreman (who did the initial arcs and annual) and also Jeff Lemire himself. Foreman does opening and closing, while Lemire does the story sequence and it’s ultimately very beautiful looking overall. While Foreman does not have the most impressive of backgrounds (more flat color or colorless voids all over), his characters look great and can convey a good sense of emotion to it. Layouts are simple, but very effective and he can really convey rather emotional quiet moments well. Lemire’s storybook imagery is fantastic and really does convey a very nice fairy tale-like atmosphere to it. Every page is just one big panel, but it’s very well done and effective in what it does, recreating a lot of big scenes and characters from the series.
Is It Good?
Animal Man #29 is a quiet, but beautifully told finale to what was one of the New 52’s best series ever released. It had emotion, had character depth, brought almost everything to a close perfectly, and had wonderful artwork as well. While Animal Man will not be gone (he and Lemire will be back for Justice League United), his series will be and it is an honest shame. I will miss this comic a lot for all its good and sad times.