The Last Days of Animal Man #2 (DC Comics)
by Gerry Conway, Chris Batista & Dave Meikis
I love that Conway has set this story in the future, as it allows him to play around with the DC Universe in ways that the constraints of present continuity wouldn’t allow. I loved the whale Green Lantern. It’s not clear if he’s an alien or an intelligent Great Blue whale from Earth. If other DC writers are smart, they’ll pick up on this character concept in the future. Conway also offers a strong character study in the form of the new villain he introduces here. He could have taken a shortcut and not bothered to delve into what motivates her, as it doesn’t seem as though she’ll have a lasting presence through this limited series. Nevertheless, I found the character intriguing, even in light of her lack of any emotional connection to others. Conway could have written a different, more stereotypical origin for the child of a noted DC super-villain, but he takes her in a different direction — the path of the sociopath, as it were. The title character’s story doesn’t advance all that much, but the new characters introduced here more than make for an engaging read.
Batista’s sleek and striking figures are quite attractive. He conveyed the title character’s age nicely in the first issue when he was out of costume, but I notice that when Buddy’s in Animal Man mode, he still boasts a more youthful look. Since this story is essentially about aging (this issue representing the conflict between generations), clearer cues as to Animal Man’s middle-age status would be warranted. Still, the art is quite eye-catching, even considering the generic tone of the designs for the new villains that have been turning up in this series. 7/10