READ MY LIBRARY ENTRY 22: Animal Man vs. Thanagarians, Red Mask and Mirror Master!

Max continues reading the first Animal Man trade paperback and finishes it up as Animal Man takes on a variety of challenges. Find out how Animal Man comes through and take a look at Grant Morrison’s emerging style in this latest Read My Library entry!

Super-Fly Comics & Games’ plucky sidekick Max Lake has embarked on a journey to read his collection of DC & other comics! Join Max each week every Friday as he takes on his Library! Titles reviewed by this blog do not necessarily reflect what the store has in stock, but you can always email the store to special order something that you’ve seen here at You can also call Super-Fly at (937) 767-1445 or just ask someone at the store next time you’re there for special orders. You can read past entries of the blog here. Any questions or comments for Max should be sent to or feel free to comment in the comments section below. Check out @maxdlake to follow Max on Twitter. The things Max writes do not necessarily reflect the views of Super-Fly Comics & Games, and Super-Fly Comics & Games is not responsible for what Max says—especially anything that bugs you.


Written 3/11/12

Last time I had some coffee late at night and hoped that would lead to some reading and writing… Well, late night reading and writing indeed!  As I hoped, I was able to finish the first volume of Animal Man and still feel up to writing about it even though it’s into the wee hours of the morning as I write this!  Of course, I didn’t have too much left to read… That said, what was left was really entertaining and whets my appetite to read the rest of Morrison’s run on the book.  But first, I’ll talk about the remaining chapters.

The second story “Coyote Gospel” is incredible, but unlike the review on the back of the book, I won’t spoil the story for you (consider yourself warned if you ever pick up this book).  I will say that it takes the concept of Wyle E. Coyote and… well, does something wonderful with it.  Then there is a story called “Birds of Prey” where there’s a Thanagarian artist as part of the invading force whose work would destroy Earth, which was a story done as part of DC’s Invasion mini-series.  The artist’s bomb/artwork is a really cool concept, embodying his entire life so that as it goes off the entire world has the artist’s life flash before their eyes, with the bomb set to detonate at the artist’s most emotional moment in life.  Luckily, everybody’s favorite Thanagarian, Hawkman comes along to save the day at the last second.  It’s a very cool story.

Animal Man issue 6, first series

Animal Man must tangle with a mad Thanagarian artist in this story

Following that is “The Death of the Red Mask” where Animal Man meets a suicidal super villain from the 40s, and Animal Man tries to talk him out of taking his own life. This was the first Animal Man story I ever read, and despite its abrupt end, it remains one of my favorites.  I guess with a Golden Age villain, the story couldn’t be in continuity anymore, but whatever.  It’s a great tale regardless of how it fits in or doesn’t now.

The Red Mask is a villain who has a death touch, which has led to a miserable life for him.  His wife left him, and he hasn’t ever made a name for himself.  Worst of all, Red Mask wishes he had got the power to fly instead of his death touch, and in a moment where Animal Man is distracted by Red Mask’s robots, Red Mask makes leaps off a building, and “flies” towards the pavement for a gruesome end.  What a messed up tale.  This is a story that stayed with me for years after I read it.

The suicide of the Red Mask in Animal Man #7

Red Mask learns the hard way he can't fly, but he was really trying to kill himself anyway

The final two stories feature the second Mirror Master, the Scottish one, McCulloch, breaking into the Baker home and Martian Manhunter and a Justice League security team repairing the house and installing a security system respectively.  Mirror Master is a real jerk here, but the encounter is funny, especially as Buddy’s wife Ellen kicks Mirror Master in the junk!

Mirror Master kicked in the nads!

Mirror Master shouldn't have messed with Ellen Baker AKA Mrs. Animal Man!

Buddy’s powers are a little messed up after the Invasion story, from a Gene Bomb, which presumably was the cause of the abrupt end to “The Death of the Red Mask” story.  There are also a couple vague things going on, but Morrison points these out in his intro and assures they are covered later on and shouldn’t distract from the enjoyment of the stories.  They don’t really, but work as hooks to make me want to read more.

I’d love to start reading the second Animal Man trade tonight, but it’s late and I need to spend some time with my wife before we go to bed.  But hopefully I’ll get a chance to do some more reading and writing soon!

Until then…

NOTES FROM NOW (8/26/12): Mirror Master ends up playing a big role in Morrison’s Animal Man run, and I liked this character so much that I just picked up an action figure of him as one was just available from Mattel (specifically  A longtime Flash villain, Mirror Master does all kinds of cool stuff and his powers are loosely defined at best—consisting of any kind of mirror gimmick you could think of.  I think Morrison made up the mouthy McCulloch version of Mirror Master for the Animal Man series, and the character’s definitely had some memorable moments in comicdom, like snorting coke from (while being in) the reflection of a mirror for one.  All around an interesting character!

Past entries of the Read My Library Blog

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