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After a bizarre incident with an alien spacecraft, Buddy Baker, married father of two, suddenly gained the power to temporarily duplicate the abilities of any creature within his imediate vicinity Editorial Reviews Animal Man, with the power to take on the abilities of any animal temporarily, was a minor DC hero until he was revived and revamped in this well-remembered lat After a bizarre incident with an alien spacecraft, Buddy Baker, married father of two, suddenly gained the power to temporarily duplicate the abilities of any creature within his imediate vicinity Editorial Reviews Animal Man, with the power to take on the abilities of any animal temporarily, was a minor DC hero until he was revived and revamped in this well-remembered late-1980s series. This is the third and final volume (following Animal Man and Origin of the Species), collecting Morrison's run on the comic. The wild inventiveness he showed here is evidenced in his later work on Doom Patrol and The Invisibles, as well as more mainstream work on the Justice League and Marvel's New X-Men. Only longtime fans will fully understand and appreciate the critique of DC's confused continuity that Morrison includes here. But any reader is liable to be dazzled by Morrison's audacity; he not only asks and then answers the question "How would comic book characters react if they found out they were really only pictures on paper?" but also turns the book into a meditation on the convergence of stories and reality. Metafiction, meet metacomics. Along with Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, this was one of the series that inspired DC's creation of the mature readers imprint Vertigo. Recommended for all collections, for older teens and adults. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.


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After a bizarre incident with an alien spacecraft, Buddy Baker, married father of two, suddenly gained the power to temporarily duplicate the abilities of any creature within his imediate vicinity Editorial Reviews Animal Man, with the power to take on the abilities of any animal temporarily, was a minor DC hero until he was revived and revamped in this well-remembered lat After a bizarre incident with an alien spacecraft, Buddy Baker, married father of two, suddenly gained the power to temporarily duplicate the abilities of any creature within his imediate vicinity Editorial Reviews Animal Man, with the power to take on the abilities of any animal temporarily, was a minor DC hero until he was revived and revamped in this well-remembered late-1980s series. This is the third and final volume (following Animal Man and Origin of the Species), collecting Morrison's run on the comic. The wild inventiveness he showed here is evidenced in his later work on Doom Patrol and The Invisibles, as well as more mainstream work on the Justice League and Marvel's New X-Men. Only longtime fans will fully understand and appreciate the critique of DC's confused continuity that Morrison includes here. But any reader is liable to be dazzled by Morrison's audacity; he not only asks and then answers the question "How would comic book characters react if they found out they were really only pictures on paper?" but also turns the book into a meditation on the convergence of stories and reality. Metafiction, meet metacomics. Along with Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, this was one of the series that inspired DC's creation of the mature readers imprint Vertigo. Recommended for all collections, for older teens and adults. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

30 review for Animal Man, Vol. 3: Deus ex Machina

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sesana

    If there's one thing, one plot element, that Morrison is famous for, it's here, in the on-the-page meeting of Animal Man and Grant Morrison. Everything, it seems, was working towards that moment, when the fourth wall abruptly ceased to exist entirely. It could have been gimmicky, but Morrison managed to pair that with a storyline about characters I actually cared about and were invested in. So when Buddy looks directly off the page and into the eyes of the reader? If you're invested enough, abso If there's one thing, one plot element, that Morrison is famous for, it's here, in the on-the-page meeting of Animal Man and Grant Morrison. Everything, it seems, was working towards that moment, when the fourth wall abruptly ceased to exist entirely. It could have been gimmicky, but Morrison managed to pair that with a storyline about characters I actually cared about and were invested in. So when Buddy looks directly off the page and into the eyes of the reader? If you're invested enough, absorbed enough, care enough, it will give you a chill. It got me. It wasn't the last time in this book, either. The thing is, I really liked Buddy and his family, and the twists their story took were heart breaking. There are faults, of course. The very Morrison fault of brilliant concepts presented as finished stories, which I expect. The meeting between Buddy and Morrison was a little underwhelming, too, though the background action added a surreal weight to Morrison's animal rights lecture. (And yes, although Buddy's newfound animal rights activism was Morrison putting his opinions in Buddy's mouth, they also make perfect sense for the character.) The art, too, is unremarkable. But there's such a solid core of decent metafiction and really great characters that I entirely forgive Morrison, this time.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    This one is a left hook to my jaw. It not only wraps up the meandering tales from before, but it, despite the soliloquy of a certain special character in the pages, has a TON to say in a very interesting way. And it's not about Animal Man. It's not even about animal rights activism. It is, however, one of the best treatments of the oft-maligned, devilishly decadent 4th-wall busting meta fictions I've ever read. That was the left hook. I won't pretend that I know all of the b, c, or d-lister characte This one is a left hook to my jaw. It not only wraps up the meandering tales from before, but it, despite the soliloquy of a certain special character in the pages, has a TON to say in a very interesting way. And it's not about Animal Man. It's not even about animal rights activism. It is, however, one of the best treatments of the oft-maligned, devilishly decadent 4th-wall busting meta fictions I've ever read. That was the left hook. I won't pretend that I know all of the b, c, or d-lister characters in the reference-mill, but I'm to understand that any TrueFan (TM) of golden age comics WILL. And the way they're portrayed, used, and abused, is a wonderfully dark mirror to what we do to animals. In other words, this simple, fairly silly, slightly weird comic just booted itself out from pre-Morrison banality into clever, weird Morrison stability, and THEN into off the charts full-out Morrison craziness. And I just fell over backward. Very cool stuff.

  3. 4 out of 5

    M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews

    The ending/twist can be a real mind-fuck depending on how you look at it, but overall a very solid and thought-provoking story.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    So I've been rereading Animal Man to remind myself if I'd ever actually read the entirety of Animal Man, and it turns out I hadn't. Apparently I'd gotten about halfway through and then skipped to the end, because there were a couple of poorly-reprinted issues in the middle that were brand new to me. It was actually kind of odd to read them now. The issues focus on a weird pseudo-epilogue to Crisis on Infinite Earths, the first big continuity-focused DC crossover that took a narrative approach to So I've been rereading Animal Man to remind myself if I'd ever actually read the entirety of Animal Man, and it turns out I hadn't. Apparently I'd gotten about halfway through and then skipped to the end, because there were a couple of poorly-reprinted issues in the middle that were brand new to me. It was actually kind of odd to read them now. The issues focus on a weird pseudo-epilogue to Crisis on Infinite Earths, the first big continuity-focused DC crossover that took a narrative approach to editing the company's characters by explaining retcons through science fiction, an approach that now seems to happen in Marvel and DC every three years or so. So now I think maybe Animal Man was actually Morrison having a sort of existential freakout about this newish revelation in modern comics, that continuity was even more meaningless than it had ever been, and all his favorite nooks and crannies of Silver Age weirdness had just been erased a few years prior? I could actually see that being a very real possibility, and the funny thing is that it's never occurred to me that Morrison just really, really loves Silver Age DC comics. Despite the fact that this should be totally obvious, I've always just thought he was always kind of making fun of them, but as soon as you stop and consider it, of course Grant Morrison loves Silver Age DC comics like a monk loves holy scripture. I think the idea that Morrison is always winking at the reader, laughing at the inanity of old comics -- I think this is the fabrication; this is the posturing. The real thing is that Grant Morrison. Loves. Old. Comics. It's really the only way Animal Man achieves any kind of emotional resonance, because it's not a book that is in any way about the human condition or the nature of reality or all the things it could maybe say it was about. It's not. It's about comics as fetish objects, period, and once you see it, almost all of Morrison's other books sort of, I dunno, like, refract around this idea. I think that for someone like Grant Morrison, the real world might not be very real. But comics are, for him, genuinely real, and I don't actually think he's aware that other people have a notion of reality that is as real to them as comics are to him. I also think this is the fundamental thing that separates him from his contemporaries like Gaiman and Moore and any of the other British Invasion writers. They all snuck into American comics by using them to write postmodernism. Morrison pretended he was using comics to write postmodernism when in actuality, he was using postmodernism as an excuse to worship comics. You know. Like how Jesus wrote the Bible. Anyway, so I'm glad I figured that out, and how the fuck did it take me this long to figure it out? Whatever, time for food.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Zinz Vandermeer

    Okay… So now we’ve hit the apex of weird for Morrison’s series. The man takes the concept of breaking the fourth wall and laughs at it. Writing himself right into the story and giving poor Buddy Baker some serious meta drama. When I’m recommending Animal Man to other people, I tend to recommend the first two, and suggest they don’t pick up the third trade unless they really enjoy the first pair. It’s odd, full of surreal situations and a lot of egotistical artistic back-patting. That being said, Okay… So now we’ve hit the apex of weird for Morrison’s series. The man takes the concept of breaking the fourth wall and laughs at it. Writing himself right into the story and giving poor Buddy Baker some serious meta drama. When I’m recommending Animal Man to other people, I tend to recommend the first two, and suggest they don’t pick up the third trade unless they really enjoy the first pair. It’s odd, full of surreal situations and a lot of egotistical artistic back-patting. That being said, the story is still fascinating, and as a hardcore Buddy Baker fan I really enjoyed it. So summing it up, Deus Ex Machina is odd, adventurous, and a touch self-congratulatory, but enjoyable for a true Animal Man fan.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Supratim Dhar

    Morrison doesn't have a word called Simple in his dictionary. I don't like his style. In my personal opinion the whole series can be omitted. Morrison doesn't have a word called Simple in his dictionary. I don't like his style. In my personal opinion the whole series can be omitted.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    Some of the meta, meeting your author stuff was as expected, but mostly it was done creatively and actually thinking about the psychological and emotional implications of realizing you’re a creation with no free will. Cool stuff.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine Morrison

    I was sad when I finished the last page of this volume (the last Grant Morrison Animal Man volume). In three volumes, Grant Morrison crafted a story about an obscure DCU superhero I had never heard of and reinvented the character, giving him, the characters surrounding him, the universe he exists in such wonderful depth that once you fall in (to the deep hole....depth?), you won't be able to get out but you won't mind, who would want to leave? I'm not a fan of Watchmen and I'm very open about it. I was sad when I finished the last page of this volume (the last Grant Morrison Animal Man volume). In three volumes, Grant Morrison crafted a story about an obscure DCU superhero I had never heard of and reinvented the character, giving him, the characters surrounding him, the universe he exists in such wonderful depth that once you fall in (to the deep hole....depth?), you won't be able to get out but you won't mind, who would want to leave? I'm not a fan of Watchmen and I'm very open about it. It's just not my thing. But, at the same time I love it for its EFFECTS. Firstly, probably the most important thing it did was cause DC to go looking for more "edgy" British writers. Cause, you know. Alan Moore is from there and so that's where you'll find other good writers...I MOCK BUT THEY DID. So, Alan Moore's Watchman opened the corporate doors to seeking out more experimental, mature, and "edgy" writers which led them to Grant Morrison (and Neil Gaiman <3, who reinvented Sandman around the same time Morrison was reinventing Animal Man). The second reason why it's important is because, although I don't care for Moore, MY gods were heavily influenced by him and will always say something like "If it wasn't for Alan Moore, I probably wouldn't be doing this." So cheers for that! But Animal Man is sort of the antithesis of Watchmen. Kind of. It's dark and there are some mature, fucked up themes that are very real - similar to Watchmen in that respect, I guess. But the end-goal and style are quite quite different. By the end of Animal Man, what the reader has experienced his one of the greatest pieces of literary deconstruction AND ITS A COMIC TOO (PICTURES). But really, "literary deconstruction" is just the beginning, cause it's much more. Deconstruction of actual human perception, perhaps existence. Examination at controversial ethical topics. Examination of the culture of violence. And fucking hope. Brilliantly written and executed, a story about so many things really is about one thing, to me: hope. But hope that isn't easy won and handed to us and the character in a nice box with nice wrapping. That hope would break easily. No, this is...well, you'll just have to read it to see. The only thing that prevents me from recommending this to everyone is that toward the last half of the three volumes, Morrison starts pulling from quite a lot of DCU concepts and history in order to tell part of his story - it's not actually ABOUT the characters. You could probably replace them with any number of other fictional characters. But, he was writing in the DCU and writing not too long after the Crisis on Infinite Earths (a major DC crossover event that redefined the DC universe), so he made appropriate choices and I'm just lucky to have been pretty informed about DCU history at the time I got around to reading this (takes a lot of work...). But, I'd say if Gaiman's The Sandman is number 1, then Animal Man is number 2..or 1.5..But, I haven't finished Morrison's Invisibles yet and it's a tight race!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Alvarez

    This final volume of Morrison's run on the Animal Man title culminates in balls out meta-fiction, which was interesting for all its implied, abstract elements of contemplation but as far as the text itself it worked as a kind of short hand for theoretical work a reader could do, you know, on his own time. Lack of intellectual rigor aside, this is a comic book, meaning it has certain responsibilities to entertainment as well as enlightenment and I thought Morrison balanced both wonderfully. I am s This final volume of Morrison's run on the Animal Man title culminates in balls out meta-fiction, which was interesting for all its implied, abstract elements of contemplation but as far as the text itself it worked as a kind of short hand for theoretical work a reader could do, you know, on his own time. Lack of intellectual rigor aside, this is a comic book, meaning it has certain responsibilities to entertainment as well as enlightenment and I thought Morrison balanced both wonderfully. I am so glad I read Crisis On Infinite Earths before this series as much of the last issues in this volume deal directly with that event, even critiquing its foundation (what does it mean when a character is "outdated" and needs to end? What is a character? When does a character live?). Animal Man develops into a sort of comic book superhero version of Sartre's No Exit crossed with Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author. Though the final surprise confrontation comes off a little kitschy (like Julia Roberts playing herself in Ocean's 12), this story was written at a time when postmodernism wasn't as familiar as it may be now. I definitely recommend this three volume series but I think a reader gains more from reading Crisis On Infinite Earths as prerequisite literature, if only for the final volume. In any case, this certainly has been a great introduction to Grant Morrison's interests and daring as a writer.

  10. 4 out of 5

    C. Varn

    Animal Man volume three collapses the fourth wall and the panel; Morrison uses Crises on Infinite Earth as a way to reimagine the multiverse and the relationship of characters to comic creators. Furthermore, elements from issues nine forward start to make more and more sense as the story arc is wrapped up and some of the earlier rushed stories seemed to add into something. The utter destruction of the fourth wall and the extreme meta-textuality works here because the character and plot have buil Animal Man volume three collapses the fourth wall and the panel; Morrison uses Crises on Infinite Earth as a way to reimagine the multiverse and the relationship of characters to comic creators. Furthermore, elements from issues nine forward start to make more and more sense as the story arc is wrapped up and some of the earlier rushed stories seemed to add into something. The utter destruction of the fourth wall and the extreme meta-textuality works here because the character and plot have built up to it, and because it allows Morrison to comment on many of the flaws he saw in superhero comics in the 1980s. This is not to say every element hits, it doesn't. Some plot lines seem too on the nose, and Morrison's conversation with Buddy in the book have some obvious and weighted philosophical commitments that are in keeping with the characters but seem a little cliche now. The art is competent but not particularly ground-breaking, and the meta-textual elements are not as fresh now and a little too dead on. That said, it was definitely groundbreaking in 1989-1990 and did deconstruct the superhero in an early different way than say Alan Moore or Frank Miller. For those who enjoyed the first two volumes but felt a little underwhelmed, I think most will think this pays off. For those who did not enjoy the meta-textual elements, well, this won't be their cup of tea.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Connor Suth

    Amazing. Morrison delivers an emotional story that truly reflects on the nature of comics storytelling, and the nature of mainstream super hero comics. Managing to lament the dearth or drab and “realistic” comics post-Watchmen, yet also explaining why those stories ultimately deserve to demoralize rather than inspire. I love also how Morrison talks about the tendency of modern comics writers changing fundamental aspects of characters they have no ownership of, to appeal to the slightly sadistic Amazing. Morrison delivers an emotional story that truly reflects on the nature of comics storytelling, and the nature of mainstream super hero comics. Managing to lament the dearth or drab and “realistic” comics post-Watchmen, yet also explaining why those stories ultimately deserve to demoralize rather than inspire. I love also how Morrison talks about the tendency of modern comics writers changing fundamental aspects of characters they have no ownership of, to appeal to the slightly sadistic urges of the comic book audience. This comic is so unbelievably prescient, predicting the garbage Marvel and DC would try pull off in events like Identity Crisis, Civil War, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, Blackest Night, Death of Superman, the list goes on and on. As Morrison so aptly states, “...It’s easy to get a cheap emotional shock by killing popular characters”. I don’t want to entirely free myself from blame either, as I reveled in Buddy’s slaughter of the people who killed his family. Even though Morrison himself acknowledges how it perverts Buddy’s character, I still couldn’t help but feel a sick sense of satisfaction as Buddy eliminates these destructive, murderous, and regressive pigs. “I think of Ellen and Cliff and Maxine and I put my hands on his shoulders. I hold him. I hold him until he stops kicking.” Wow. Morrison is spectacular at taking obscure or ridiculous characters and completely recontextualize them. Taking old pre-Crisis characters erased from continuity, and having them comment on their relation to comics canon is genius, and manages to make them comments on the nature of meta-fiction as a whole. I even agree with Morrison’s slight criticism of Crisis on Infinite Earths, as Ultraman laments his removal from continuity, asking what so wrong with them that he had to be erased. Through Crisis’s attempt to simplify continuity, it removed much of the life and flavor the multiverse had added to DC comics. But Morrison deals with this well, asking if a character is real purely based on being real to someone, somewhere, at some point? Do they require a consistent presence in media to stay truly real, or as Morrison posits, they only die when people stop reading their stories. Morrison’s conception of comics limbo is great as well, really making you feel sorry for these ridiculous characters relegated to a life of nothingness. I also appreciate Morrison’s malaise and doubt regarding the nature of single issue comic book story. Though I love comics, I do understand their constraints and flaws, and just how little freedom the nature of comic book storytelling entails. 24 pages is a very constrictive format, and the need to maintain that pace monthly can really hurt writer or artists ability to produce truly interesting, daring, or creative work. However, as I think Morrison realizes in the final pages, it can produce some fantastically concise, exciting, and innovative work if a writer ultimates the format to its fullest extent. Morrison does it multiple times throughout, consistently improving each issue, while delivering a deep and meaningful message or point every issue. I love comics’ ability to push the boundaries of storytelling, and make completely fantastical and extraordinary things seem natural or plausible. The suspension of disbelief is so much less important in comic books, and that allows for some amazingly ridiculous, insane, or mind blowing things to happen, as Morrison demonstrates. The trippy time travel, psychedelic visions, or characters literally breaking free from their reality of panel borders after realizing its false nature, so much of this would not work in any other medium. Comics have a unique ability to show moments of devastating realism balanced against ridiculous mind bending moments of pure creative genius, and I feel Morrison does this beautifully. Morrison’s comments on life in general really resonate with me as well, and are beautifully real. We all expect to be the main character in our life, yet often end up as side characters who serve no grand purpose. Life doesn’t really have a main thread, or even side threads, it just has random events that may or may not be resolved or lead to anything important. It’s a brutal truth, and one I’m having trouble dealing with. Our society really emphasizes the role of the individual, and your own impact on the world around you. Even though you may never find it, you are expected to look for a meaning or purpose to fulfill, to create your own life and existence. But, life does not always work this way, and sometimes you lack control over your life, and you may never find that purpose or meaning you are looking for. We all just exist, and anything beyond that is shaky at best. It’s hard to accept, but necessary to truly grow and develop. Morrison ends the story beautifully, with another fantastic rumination on the comic book reader condition. His comments on how so many comics fans and writers equate realism with more violence, anguish, and torture is especially relevant and predictive. Not only does he predict the nature of Marvel and DC for much of the last 20 years, he also captures the mentality that would eventually form Image and foment the near collapse of the comics industry. The horrible and lazy urge of many people in comics to replace actual maturation of stories and characters with cheap death and anguish is so real, and has destroyed so many characters, while leading to the comics industry completely abandoning its child audience that made up for its core demographic for 60 years. Focusing on making stories more “adult” by increasing their violence and anguish has massively decreased the comic buying audience, and is a huge factor in the eventual death of this industry I used to love. In conclusion, Morrison delivers a fantastic story on the concept of stories, managing to balance a deeper message of hope against comics’ ceaseless death, decay, and inadequacy. Morison fights against the tide of mediocrity and lazy storytelling, and ruminates on the importance of trying even without a lack of meaning, and how our search for realism should not necessarily entail the worst aspects our life. “We thought that by making your world more violent, we would make it more “realistic”, more “adult”. God help us if that is what it means. Maybe, for once, we could try to be kind.”

  12. 4 out of 5

    Xisix

    Had read dis one previously though never clicked button. Not crazy about artwerke though ole Grant Morrison creatively subverts the genre. Deus ex Machina - God from the Machine (aka "an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel.") Spoiler : Animal Man Buddy confront the writer Grant Morrison. Although this 4th wall has a bit of hokey look at me I'm clever to it, Grant does manage to cast light on symbiotic quality o Had read dis one previously though never clicked button. Not crazy about artwerke though ole Grant Morrison creatively subverts the genre. Deus ex Machina - God from the Machine (aka "an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel.") Spoiler : Animal Man Buddy confront the writer Grant Morrison. Although this 4th wall has a bit of hokey look at me I'm clever to it, Grant does manage to cast light on symbiotic quality of art to it's creator. Thought process extends to one's own person. Who writes the script ? At ending of graphic novel it mentions that there are no concise stories : "Life doesn't have plots and subplots and denouments. It's just a big collection of loose ends and dangling threads that never get explained." The impulse is to make something 'important.' Go beyond flashy drivel and repetitive fighting. Hero of story is even slightly mocked and called "A generic comic book hero with blond hair and good teeth. One of hundreds." To wrap up this brief review : Enjoyed though felt this work was still coming to terms with the elements. Doom Patrol began to refine it in psychedelic synergy where "The Invisibles" manage to make it all click. Boom!

  13. 5 out of 5

    sixthreezy

    I was absolutely blown away by this last volume of Animal Man by Grant Morrison. Everything that had been written up until this point, is utilized in such a special way. It's so hard to ignore the absolute talent of Grant Morrison. When his writing makes sense, it can really be of some of the best quality writing period, let alone in graphic novels themselves. This was of graphic novel classic quality, and I see now why so many hold this high on the list of comic classics. The fourth wall isn't I was absolutely blown away by this last volume of Animal Man by Grant Morrison. Everything that had been written up until this point, is utilized in such a special way. It's so hard to ignore the absolute talent of Grant Morrison. When his writing makes sense, it can really be of some of the best quality writing period, let alone in graphic novels themselves. This was of graphic novel classic quality, and I see now why so many hold this high on the list of comic classics. The fourth wall isn't just broken in this volume, it's completely removed and eventually ends in an issue with Animal Man being lectured by Grant Morrison about the world he lives in. So many other writers could have attempted this, and it wouldn't have read nearly quite as well as it does here. When Buddy Baker first realizes the audience, being the reader, it's an absolute blast to the brain and you wonder, am I really reading someone's life? Morrison is definitely one of the most creative comic writers, and this volume of Animal Man that composes his last few issues in his run, are definite proof of this.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sunil

    All Buddy Baker wanted to do was use his animal powers to fight for animal rights but he had to go and be written by Grant Morrison, who's obsessed with obscure comic book characters and commentary on comic book continuity and the metafictional levels of reality. All of this might make sense if you get really high, and Animal Man does give that a shot (Morrison has incorporated/appropriated a lot of Native American shamanistic beliefs about totem animals), but then we have to address the Crisis All Buddy Baker wanted to do was use his animal powers to fight for animal rights but he had to go and be written by Grant Morrison, who's obsessed with obscure comic book characters and commentary on comic book continuity and the metafictional levels of reality. All of this might make sense if you get really high, and Animal Man does give that a shot (Morrison has incorporated/appropriated a lot of Native American shamanistic beliefs about totem animals), but then we have to address the Crisis and the multiverse and finally we get to the moment we've all been waiting for, and it is indeed meta as hell, though I'm not quite sure what the purpose of it all was (ie, why Animal Man). I do like how Morrison ties together a lot of his run, making callbacks to previous standalones and bringing back various characters so that it feels like a cohesive story that was all leading up to this. All in all, this was a pretty good time, and very Grant Morrison, for better and for worse.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Phil

    I wonder if this is the longest anyone has ever taken to read a volume by GM, or all the volumes he wrote in the series for that matter. Although I somewhat enjoyed the existential abstraction of Animal Man's universe, it just didn't grab me. Of course I'm relatively knew to the whole graphic novel scene so I may not have the "time in" to fully appreciate the ground breaking nature of this run. Probably why I procrastinated so long in coming back to it. To be honest I think I jumped back in just I wonder if this is the longest anyone has ever taken to read a volume by GM, or all the volumes he wrote in the series for that matter. Although I somewhat enjoyed the existential abstraction of Animal Man's universe, it just didn't grab me. Of course I'm relatively knew to the whole graphic novel scene so I may not have the "time in" to fully appreciate the ground breaking nature of this run. Probably why I procrastinated so long in coming back to it. To be honest I think I jumped back in just to say I finished it! I've never really enjoyed shows or novels that cross-over from a fantasy or sci-fi world with our reality. It's just two different frames of mind I prefer to keep separate. Anyway, my next foray into the superhero world will be something a little less thought provoking with some raw rock 'em and sock'em escapism.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    This is the book where the Morrison-type stuff comes together. Not only is it smart, but it's fun, too -- as much a page-turner as anything. The metafiction peaks here, but it's not as stodgy as that might sound. Reading it this far after the fact lets us see not only the obvious take on Crisis on Infinite Earths, but also some of the early ideas that would get a much bigger working in Final Crisis (and, to some extent, the sort of multi-year structuring that worked so well in, say, his run on B This is the book where the Morrison-type stuff comes together. Not only is it smart, but it's fun, too -- as much a page-turner as anything. The metafiction peaks here, but it's not as stodgy as that might sound. Reading it this far after the fact lets us see not only the obvious take on Crisis on Infinite Earths, but also some of the early ideas that would get a much bigger working in Final Crisis (and, to some extent, the sort of multi-year structuring that worked so well in, say, his run on Batman). That said, I imagine this was far crazier and challenging a read in the late 1980s than it is now, but that might also allow it to feel more playful now.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chadwick

    Ah, the days when metafiction and comics were just going on their first dates. I'm so glad this is finally collected in trade paperback. Animal Man was so much fun. The art is kind of lame early 90s bad DC house style, until the end of the book. I always cry at the end. Ah, the days when metafiction and comics were just going on their first dates. I'm so glad this is finally collected in trade paperback. Animal Man was so much fun. The art is kind of lame early 90s bad DC house style, until the end of the book. I always cry at the end.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pablo Martinez

    No need to write a review when the book reviews itself. No need to write a review when the book reviews itself.

  19. 4 out of 5

    James Wilkinson

    This is it - the final volume of Grant Morrison's groundbreaking Animal Man run, and the capper that ties together dangling threads from volumes one and two into a single, supremely satisfying whole. It's best to go through the whole thing with as little foreknowledge as possible, especially in this last book, so I'll keep the details minimal, but rest assured all questions and most of the complaints and niggles you had from earlier in the series will be answered. As with volume two, however, Deu This is it - the final volume of Grant Morrison's groundbreaking Animal Man run, and the capper that ties together dangling threads from volumes one and two into a single, supremely satisfying whole. It's best to go through the whole thing with as little foreknowledge as possible, especially in this last book, so I'll keep the details minimal, but rest assured all questions and most of the complaints and niggles you had from earlier in the series will be answered. As with volume two, however, Deus ex Machina leans heavily on the reader knowing about the Crisis on Infinite Earths, a DC super-crossover that saw the fictional universe's long and tangled continuity rewritten, with characters' histories (Animal Man's among them) being rewritten, and other characters being retroactively written out of reality altogether. Go in with that in mind and this volume - especially all the stuff in Arkham Asylum - will make a lot more sense. The Animal Man books continue past this with offerings from other writers including Peter Milligan and Jamie Delano, but this is the closer of Morrison's dealings with the superhero. Anyone who enjoyed this and is looking for something of a similar bent may want to turn to Morrison's concurrent run on Doom Patrol.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    It starts a little slow (the first four issues are leaden), but by the time Animal Man is fighting Psycho Pirate's non-continuity army outside the panels of the page, I was totally into the series. Buddy's trip through comic book limbo was nicely done also. I got a warm feeling from the thought that my favorite characters always live when I re-read their stories. Max Lord and Kon-El Superboy deserve better fates than what the DCU gave them. The last issue had some neat ideas, but was a slight let It starts a little slow (the first four issues are leaden), but by the time Animal Man is fighting Psycho Pirate's non-continuity army outside the panels of the page, I was totally into the series. Buddy's trip through comic book limbo was nicely done also. I got a warm feeling from the thought that my favorite characters always live when I re-read their stories. Max Lord and Kon-El Superboy deserve better fates than what the DCU gave them. The last issue had some neat ideas, but was a slight letdown. It would've made a better half-page denouement to Morrison's run than a full-issue denouement. Truog's art wasn't terribly inspired though. A little stiff, and sometimes awkwardly drawn, though he does do a most good job at the more conceptual elements of the series. Unlike some Morrison books, Grant managed to keep his characters focused and believable. He sometimes allows them to become cyphers while he focuses on some grand idea that doesn't quite come together. Part of the reason Animal Man succeeds is just because you like Buddy, and his family.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Pilipma

    Beautiful ending to great trilogy. In the world of bizarre characters in tights with no irreversible consequences to their actions, flexible laws of physics and on schedule reboots human honesty and admission of human flaws is the most realistic thing there can be. And this book delivers... oh how it delivers?! I got the ending I did not expect even so there were way too many ideas that we not new to me. And yet it was a very satisfactory ending for me. I wish so many reviews did not include the Beautiful ending to great trilogy. In the world of bizarre characters in tights with no irreversible consequences to their actions, flexible laws of physics and on schedule reboots human honesty and admission of human flaws is the most realistic thing there can be. And this book delivers... oh how it delivers?! I got the ending I did not expect even so there were way too many ideas that we not new to me. And yet it was a very satisfactory ending for me. I wish so many reviews did not include the spoiler about this book, but even knowing it I set this book back on my shelf very happy that those reviews did not stop me from buying the whole set.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andreas Berg

    The superb conclusion to Grant Morrisons excellent Animal Man run. This third volume delves deeper into darker themes and offers one of the most powerful fourth wall breaking existential crisis moments I’ve experienced. By the end the story has journeyed so far into Meta it’s probably impossible to venture any further. Instead of being pretentious though, the positive message feels personal and as important today as it was back when first published. This run of Animal Man resonates with me on so The superb conclusion to Grant Morrisons excellent Animal Man run. This third volume delves deeper into darker themes and offers one of the most powerful fourth wall breaking existential crisis moments I’ve experienced. By the end the story has journeyed so far into Meta it’s probably impossible to venture any further. Instead of being pretentious though, the positive message feels personal and as important today as it was back when first published. This run of Animal Man resonates with me on so many levels and I can’t wait to revisit it in the future.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Robert Timmons

    Sadly I didn't like the end of this series, I loved how some odd sections in the first two volumes were brilliantly tied up but I strongly disliked Morrison inserting himself into the last two issues and the whole breaking of the fourth wall and references to The Crisis. I also hated how Morrison spent a number of pages thanking everyone, I didn't think panels of the comic needed to be used for this. So this gets 3 stars and the series overall gets four stars Sadly I didn't like the end of this series, I loved how some odd sections in the first two volumes were brilliantly tied up but I strongly disliked Morrison inserting himself into the last two issues and the whole breaking of the fourth wall and references to The Crisis. I also hated how Morrison spent a number of pages thanking everyone, I didn't think panels of the comic needed to be used for this. So this gets 3 stars and the series overall gets four stars

  24. 5 out of 5

    dr_set

    The story gets really really weird but in a good way finishing with an extremely original ending that got spoiled for me by reading original reviews that lead me to read this comic. Morrison manages to completely surprise us again doing something completely unexpected by going the way of philosophical existentialism.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Lowie

    For once, it feels like Grant Morrison's inclination towards trying to outsmart the reader finally pays off. We get an anti-climax and great ending to a very solid run on a B-list superhero. This series is a must read for any comic book lover. For once, it feels like Grant Morrison's inclination towards trying to outsmart the reader finally pays off. We get an anti-climax and great ending to a very solid run on a B-list superhero. This series is a must read for any comic book lover.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Julian

    This is my second review of Animal Man. My first was written in the white heat of extreme irritation caused by the rather tedious animal rights rhetoric of Animal Man, Book 1: Animal Man, and this blinded me to the manifold excellence of this third volume of the sage and also Animal Man, Book 2: Origin of the Species. Hence this new review: on calm consideration, my view has changed and I can now see what a remarkable story Grant Morrison has told. So, let me start with a word of advice. Most of This is my second review of Animal Man. My first was written in the white heat of extreme irritation caused by the rather tedious animal rights rhetoric of Animal Man, Book 1: Animal Man, and this blinded me to the manifold excellence of this third volume of the sage and also Animal Man, Book 2: Origin of the Species. Hence this new review: on calm consideration, my view has changed and I can now see what a remarkable story Grant Morrison has told. So, let me start with a word of advice. Most of volume 1 is material of lower quality, so I recommend the cautious reader to skip all of that book except for the story called The Coyote Gospel, which sets the scene for all that is to come. If you then proceed to volumes 2 and 3 you will have read not a piece about animal rights, but a profound, often hilarious and moving study of the nature of reality, the nature of fiction and the many convolutions in the history of the DC Universe. Animal Man is a very minor, or so we think, superhero, who can take on the power of a nearby animal, so if he sees a bird he can fly, etc. Okay, fine. But then he meets an animal who gives him a manuscript written in an alien tongue. Then he encounters aliens in Africa who seem to know more about him than he does. And then reality starts to shift and he begins to meet slightly different copies of himself, almost as if they were earlier drafts. All this while his family live in an atmosphere of menace and eventually tragedy strikes, leading to our hero entering a state of deepest despair. And that is precisely when the Psycho-Pirate, who had been incarcerated in Arkham Asylum, decides that he doesn't like the way the DC Universe is nowadays, and tries to bring back all of the old characters who had been written out of the story. Reality fractures. Animal Man (sort of) saves the day, and then goes on a quest as pointless as the one in Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail only at the end he meets, well, God. Of a sort. So, that's a top-level view. The thing is that Morrison virtuosically plays with multiple levels of reality and multiple layers of reality, so there aren't just multiple version of Animal Man floating about, there are universes embedded within one another: the stories of one universe are real to the inhabitants of another. The Psycho-Pirate seems to be aware that Crisis on Infinite Earths was a comic book and that he is a character in a comic book. And in one of the most amazing moments in the story the character turns and looks out of the page and sees - us. So we are pulled into the DC Universe just as it is pulled out into our world, the bounds of reality dissolve, and there is always the inevitable question: if Grant Morrison is writing the adventures of Animal Man, does that mean that someone else is writing the adventures of Grant Morrison? Morrison leaves that question unanswered, but it is left tantalising us right to the end. If we turned round, who would we see? Now let's get to the obligatory pretentious bit. One of the key difficulties in epistemology is the precise status of counter-factuals. That is to say, if I ask 'what if?' and so question what the world might have looked like had something been different from the way it actually was, how do I tell what the answer to my question is? I can scarcely appeal to facts on the ground, as they relate to reality, and I am talking about something different from reality. Many words have been wasted on this, with some writers proposing that in fact counter-factuals never make any sense. But this is too sweeping: asking what the world have been like now had President Kennedy not been shot is clearly untenable, but asking what the temperature in a saucepan of water would have been had I lit a fire under it is easy to answer in some way that is hard to explain. And so in On the Plurality of Worlds, David Lewis proposed that in fact all possible worlds have equal ontological status and so counterfactuals merely consist of statements about worlds other than the one we currently inhabit. This is rather startling, but in the context of what I've said about Animal Man, you can probably see where I'm going. If Lewis is right (and his thesis is the most persuasive I have seen on the subject) then the fictive world conjured by Morrison is just as real or fictional as the one we and Morrison inhabit, and so is the world of the characters in the comic books that Animal Man's children read. So we have both an infinite regress of universes and a family of equally possible worlds, and Grant Morrison, by taking a minor DC character and utterly subverting his world, has shown us just how strange reality might be. If there were such a thing, that is.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Zuzka Jakubkova

    I had no idea how deep will the metaanalysis of comic book genre go. Well, it goes very deep. I find that concept very likeable.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chad D'Cruze

    This is some good shit.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Animal Man is still Morrison's best comic run, and still my favorite run by anyone. Animal Man is still Morrison's best comic run, and still my favorite run by anyone.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lowthor

    Gets very Morrison by the end. I can see how you get from here to things like the Filth. The man's slightly odd. Gets very Morrison by the end. I can see how you get from here to things like the Filth. The man's slightly odd.

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