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Animal Man #17: Rotworld Finale Part One

Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor


Watch out Anton Arcane of the Rot because Animal Man and Swamp Thing are coming for you. It’s war!

Writers: Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder
Artists: Steve Pugh and Timothy Green II

Note: Animal Man #17 precedes the events in Swamp Thing #17. You’ll need both to understand the Rotworld finale.

This month of Animal Man begins off strong as Buddy Baker displays his will and determination to find his daughter Maxine. He’s powered up, mowing through one rotling to the next. The Buddy we readers see here is much different from the Buddy we met in issue #1. Once levelheaded and rational, he is now aggressively direct and filled with fervor.

The panels of him taking on the Flash by artist Steve Pugh are excellent. Buddy shows no mercy, it’s almost grotesque. If Buddy wants his daughter back, I say you give her to him!

The issue switches back and forth between what’s happening with Buddy and what’s happening with Alec Holland (the Swamp Thing). Though honestly, the best scenes are with Buddy and his posse, which are all illustrated by Pugh. That’s not to discredit Timothy Green’s good work on the Swamp Thing scenes, but rather I tire of Alec whining about Abby.

This whole Rotworld event somehow sizzled down to Abby, Abby, Abby! I’m not kidding. Arcane barely addresses Buddy at all, making this war really one between the Green and the Rot. This makes Buddy’s part in Rotworld even more tragic and meaningful. Therefore forget Abby. Just give the man what he wants!

But returning to Animal Man, there is so much more action going on in Buddy’s story. Everyone is in a crazy fistfight, holding nothing back. Witty remarks are exchanged. And if you thought Buddy Baker was a weak and ridiculous superhero, then you’ve thought wrong. Furthermore, Steel and Frankenstein make a wonderful stand in this issue, showing readers what they’re truly made of.


In Swamp Thing’s side of the story, he’s battling Superman. His fight sequences are dull, using logic to destroy his enemies. Now there’s nothing wrong with logic, but Swamp Thing sure likes to explain what he’s doing all the time. Less talking, more doing please! I also find it funny that Batman, who’s dead, is still the man with the plan in a Swamp Thing / Animal Man crossover. I’m just saying.

As the issue comes to a close, Buddy and Swamp Thing finally meet up and the showdown begins. Yet their reunion feels empty. You’d think that as the champions of the Red and Green, they’d share some kind of connection to take down Arcane, but they don’t. We’ll just have to be satisfied with their straight-to-business attitude.

Overall, part one of the Rotworld finale was a good one with a decent buildup to the conclusion. I can’t say the same about part two, but you can see that for yourself in my review of Swamp Thing #17.