For its 2011 line-wide relaunch, DC wanted no less than 52 new ongoing series to debut. While many were obvious, such as new volumes of Action Comics or Batman, plenty weren’t. And this gave Animal Man a chance to return — in his first ongoing series since his first was cancelled in 1995. For the title’s writer, DC chose Jeff Lemire, who appropriately had gotten his start at DC through its Vertigo imprint.
Lemire’s Animal Man quickly established itself as one of the top-rated new titles. Many saw it as a return to the family dynamics of Grant Morrison’s classic run. But Lemire’s reboot of the character owed as much to Jamie Delano’s run, which had recast Animal Man as the avatar of the Red, an animal force parallel to Swamp Thing‘s the Green. This connection culminated in the “Rotworld” storyline, in Lemire’s second year on Animal Man Vol. 2, which ran through both that title and the then-current Swamp Thing series, which had been relaunched at the same time.