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Animal Man Vol 1 19

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"A New Science of Life": Somewhere, someone struggles to determine what should happen next to Animal Man and his companion Dr. James Highwater.

Quote1 I'm Animal Man. What happens when the Continuity changes? What happens to all those lives? Who's responsible? Quote2
-- Animal Man

Appearing in "A New Science of Life"

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Synopsis for "A New Science of Life"

Somewhere, someone struggles to determine what should happen next to Animal Man and his companion Dr. James Highwater.
On a mesa in Arizona, Buddy Baker and James Highwater are under the influence of peyote. Buddy has a hallucination of a great whale who details Animal Man's origins as Buddy remembers them. But a voice reveals that what Buddy remembers isn't fact, suggesting a second secret that he must learn (the first secret having been that Buddy is connected to a morphogenetic field that is the source of his powers).
Buddy looks up to see that the voice of dissent is coming from a man who appears to be an older version of himself. The man explains his own origins: a spaceship's radiation gave him his powers at the age of 30, but he has no children because he is sterile. This other Animal Man wonders what is meant to happen to those whose lives are erased or altered by changes to the continuity. Buddy demands to know who did these things to this other Animal Man, and the voice urges him to turn around and learn the third secret. When Buddy turns around, for just a moment, he sees you.

Buddy Baker 001

Buddy breaks the Fourth Wall and sees the readers.

James Highwater attempts to bring Buddy out of the resultant state of panic he is in, and as they sit on the Mesa, which has become an island in a vast sea, Buddy wonders if they are merely characters being watched as entertainment by the gods. Buddy realizes that there are a number of memories and connecting elements missing from his life, and wonders what force has been guiding him.
Suddenly, the whale returns, and swallows the mesa. In the mouth of the whale, the fox spirit returns, warning that the truth comes at a cost. Buddy realizes that his wife Ellen may be in danger. Unfortunately, Buddy finds himself outside of the comic panel, and very confused.
Meanwhile, James Highwater sees his eagle totem, who urges him to take a quantum leap of faith from the edge of the mesa. When he does, he falls to his death on the ground below. The eagle taunts him for listening to talking animals.
Highwater wakes up, alive and as well as can be expected on top of the mesa with Buddy beside him. The hallucinations have ended. Buddy returns home to San Diego, worrying about the second crisis he was warned about. When he enters his home, he is horrified that his wife and children have been murdered.


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