Buddy Baker was never going to be one of life's success stories. I mean for a start he's got the alliterative name which only works when you were created by Stan Lee. He's got one of those super-hero names where they just take your powers and stick 'Man' on the end. Don't even get me started on the costume with the big 'A' on the front. Clearly this guy's tailor hates him pretty bad.
Buddy's got the power to absorb the abilities of any animal in the immediate vicinity. You'd think that would make him at least vaguely interesting, but it doesn't. Sure he can have the strength a bear - but he's no Superman. Sure he can have the speed of a puma - but he's no Flash. Without the robotic horse with the southern drawl and the gun with a girl's name - he's not even as cool as Bravestar!
Yup, Buddy Baker was just a poor, super-powered slub destined to fade away into comicbook obscurity forever.
Then along comes a young whippersnapper from across the pond called Grant Morrison. He decided he would take poor, slubby Buddy and make something of him. Grant Morrison's brain overflows with wild and crazy ideas looking for a place to be turned loose. I guess Grant figured that nobody would really care if he turned them loose on Buddy. It took exactly 2 issues before he made Animal Man more interesting than any writer had managed since his creation.
How you ask? Well he had a mutated rat creature hack off Buddy's arm that's how:What's interesting about that you may ask, after all that kinda crap happens to Wolverine every other issue. Well, y'see, my mouthy, impatient friend, it wasn't the arm-hacking that was interesting. When it comes to losers like Animal Man you've gotta think outside the box if you want to make them and their powers interesting.
Okay so you're Buddy Baker. You've got touchy-feely animal powers. Some big rat-looking dude comes along and hacks off your arm. You're slowly bleeding to death while wearing a questionable orange and blue spandex suit - what do you do?
You absorb the power of the earthworms in the ground beneath you and just grow that sucker right back of course:That, my friends, is animal-tastic! That's like Manimal levels of coolness.
What do you mean 'who's Manimal?' Get out of my blog you heathen!
Anyway..savage arm-hacking was only the tip of the crazy, surrealistic iceberg that Grant Morrison turned the Animal Man series into. You'll never look at our buddy - um - Buddy the same way again.
Which is a good thing, because before I would look at him and say 'BWAH HA HA - Lookit the big dopey A on your costume! Did you dress in the dark in the morning you jackass?'