Animal Man (1988 Series) #2
Title: Life in the Concrete Jungle
Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Chris Truog
Inks: Doug Hazlewood
Letters: John Costanza
Colors: Tatjana Wood
Cover Art: Brian Bolland
Editor: Karen Berger
Publisher: DC Comics
Animal Man is called in by STAR Labs to investigate a break-in of the most unusual sort: someone has fused all of their laboratory apes into a horrible mass of bioflesh. IF that wasn’t bad enough, he seems to have escaped in the form of an eight-foot-tall cockroach. Buddy starts his investigation only to get an unexpected pep talk by Superman himself.
When Grant Morrison is on his game, nobody can pull together different parts of continuity like him. We’ve seen this in recent years with All Star Superman and his remarkable Batman run, but it’s interesting to go back in time to see this relatively young writer beginning to do the things he would later be great at. Although the presumed antagonist in this story is relatively obscure, people who are well-studied in DC Universe lore have more than enough clues at this point to piece together who he likely is, and with it, turn to the obvious questions about why he would suddenly be taking on this sort of role. The story is already rewarding people with a history with these characters, but it does so in a way that doesn’t feel inaccessible if you haven’t spent years learning the ins and outs of the DCU.
Chris Truog, whose work I thought was lacking a bit in the first issue, has developed considerably in issue two. A lot of the facial problems I had before seem to be fixed, and the increased emphasis on the monsters really plays to his strengths. The last couple of pages are particularly good – very nice layout, interesting use of the grid, and some pretty good, shocking images on those pages. I’m impressed here.
The series is picking up steam pretty quickly.