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The Sad End to Animal Man's Time on Justice League Europe

This is a feature called "Beg Steal or Borrow," which is about when comic book characters are abruptly pulled from one book to another. I'm not talking about when comic book characters simply migrate from one title to another (I spotlight examples of that in my feature, "Looks Like I'm Moving"). I mean examples where a writer has a character taken out of the book against their wishes. It almost always happens in team books, but sometimes it occurs in solo titles, as well.

Today, we look at the sadly short Justice League Europe tenure of Animal Man.

Animal Man even BEING on a Justice League team is likely all due to the amazing work that Grant Morrison did on the first few issues of the Animal Man series that debuted in the middle of 1988.

Morrison's take on the character was so revolutionary that DC decided to make it an ongoing series after it was intended to be a miniseries. In addition, DC decided to really promote the book, as editorial knew how special this comic book was. That extra attention, of course, did not hurt when they were picking out team members for the new Justice League Europe series that was spinning out of what was one of DC's highest-selling books at the time, Justice League International.

So Animal Man was chosen as an inaugural member of Justice League Europe in Justice League International #24, which came out around the same time as Animal Man #8...

Morrison then had a great issue where Martian Manhunter stops by to welcome Buddy Baker into the Justice League...

Buddy has some concerns over his powers, but J'onn stresses how important he sees it that the League has someone with the humanity that Buddy has on the League...

So Animal Man joins the new Justice League and he was used as a regular member in the early issues. Giffen and DeMatteis seem to try to capture some of the elements from Morrison's run that made it so so good, including the idea that Buddy isn't really LIKE every other superhero out there. He's just a normal guy who happens to have animal powers. Of course, that, right there, is disqualifying as being "normal," but Morrison had a lot of fun with Buddy trying to continue to think of himself and his family in those terms and so Giffen and DeMatteis do, too, in Justice League Europe #5...

Buddy was also along with the others in the classic "the Justice League goes to Beginner's French class" issue of Justice League Europe (Bart Sears and Pablo Marcos was the art team at the time, by the way)...

Meanwhile, while Morrison mostly tended to ignore Buddy's Justice League membership in Animal Man, he did have an issue (Animal Man #16, with artists Chaz Truog and Doug Hazlewood) where Buddy takes his wife to Paris for a vacation and she gets to see just how weird his superhero life can be...

And then it gets even weirder...

So all things were going well until, well, things took a turn for the worse...

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