The Last Days of Animal Man #5 (of 6) (DC – Conway / Batista / Meikis)
His powers are gone. His teammates are beaten. His family hates him. Prismatik and Bloodrage have all the power of the League of Titans HQ to themselves. And this miniseries only has one issue to go. It doesn’t look good for Buddy Baker, does it? There’s a reason we called it The Last Days of Animal Man, folks!
It’s unclear whether this mini is an elseworld, a parallel universe… or perhaps a future DCU. Given the present transition of the Justice League, it might not too far off. Animal has always been one of those DC properties that has huge potential and never quite made it. The original modern run by Grant Morrison was initially haunted by artistic existentialism and then driven off the deep end once the Vertigo brand was attached. Buddy popped up at the beginning of Secret Identity and then settled in as a main character (and one of the most interesting) in the year-long trial that was 52.
In Last Days, Buddy is facing the permanent loss of his powers. He turns to the League of Titans and finds out that perhaps his colleagues’ perception and opinion of him is not what it once was. He turns to his family and figures out that he spent way more of his life playing superhero than being a husband and father. Overall, pretty crushing for tender-hearted Buddy. And now the daughter of his one-time nemesis has captures all the heavy hitters in the future version of the JL and it’s up to a power-waning Animal Man to save them. Before his final confrontation, buddy makes a side trip to absorbs one last power… petri dishes?
Jerry Conway provides a wonderful narrative of the swan song of perhaps one of the most underused heroes of all time.
issue grade: B+