"The Nature of the Beast": Somewhere in San Diego, the man called B'wana Beast senses the thoughts of an ape named Djuba who has been infected by a germ, and watched a companion die. He vows to save her.
- I don't think so-- Now, come on, guys. My husband'll be back any minute... He's a super-hero, you know? Animal Man?
- -- Ellen Baker
Appearing in "The Nature of the Beast"
- B'Wana Beast (Flashback and main story)
- Djuba the Ape (Final appearance)
- Lew (Final appearance)
- Morris Weidemeir
- Ray (Final appearance)
- Roon the ape (Single appearance)
- Rupert Kenboya (Final appearance)
- Sheba the cat (Final appearance)
Synopsis for "The Nature of the Beast"
Somewhere in San Diego, the man called B'wana Beast senses the thoughts of an ape named Djuba who has been infected by a germ, and watched a companion die. He vows to save her.
Elsewhere, Animal Man lies dying in an alley after his arm was torn from his torso by a rat-man hybrid. Unbidden, his powers seek out the nearest useful animal from which to absorb an ability. He senses earthworms in the ground below, and uses their abilities to regenerate a new arm and heal himself. Nearby, he finds the body of the once rat-man, who has returned to human form. Buddy calls S.T.A.R. Labs, and when they arrive, they wear Hazmat suits, and quarantine him.
In the forest, Buddy's wife Ellen is cornered by some aggressive hunters. One named Ray becomes aggressive, and makes sexual advances, going so far as to grab the neighbors' cat, and feed it to his dogs. When Ellen becomes angry, he hits her with the butt of his rifle. Ellen realizes that her daughter Maxine is watching from the bushes, and screams for her to run home and get help.
Meanwhile, B'wana Beat recalls his time in Africa, where his friend Ken was murdered during a civil war. But while he was taking vengeance, his companion ape Djuba was kidnapped. He had tracked her across the ocean to S.T.A.R. Labs.
Animal Man arrives just in time to see B'wana Beast escaping with Djuba. Desperately, he grabs Dr. Meyers, and asks for the real story behind the animal tests going on there. Dr. Meyers reveals that the tests were not meant to find an AIDS vaccine, but rather to create a germ as part of a biological weapon. They had kidnapped Djuba because of her uniquely advanced primate physiology. Unfortunately, now that she has been taken away, the contagion is loose in San Diego.
Despite the complaints of his companions, Ray becomes more aggressive with Ellen and prepares to rape her. Fortunately, Maxine returns to the forest with their neighbor Mr. Weidermeir, who aims a revolver at the attacker. Ray aims his shotgun back at Mr. Weidermeir, daring him to shoot. Suddenly, Ray's own companion, increasingly agitated by his actions, shoots him in the head. Ellen begins beating his corpse with a stick, overcome by her emotions, but she relents when she realizes that Maxine is watching.
At the zoo, B'wana Beast attempts to comfort his friend Djuba. He can do nothing for her, and she dies in his arms.
- This issue is reprinted in Animal Man: Book One.
- No trivia.
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