"Animal vs. Man, Part One": The Baker family makes its way through Utah's Arches National Park, trying to decide where to go next. Ellen thinks that they should go north, but Buddy remembers that [[Socks the Cat (Prime Earth)|S
Appearing in "Animal vs. Man, Part One"
- Sethe (In a vision)
Synopsis for "Animal vs. Man, Part One"
The Baker family makes its way through Utah's Arches National Park, trying to decide where to go next. Ellen thinks that they should go north, but Buddy remembers that Socks - a talking cat, and a totem of The Red - had said that they should head southeast to Louisiana and find Alec Holland. He does consider that heading east through the Gem Cities to beg the Flash and the Justice League for help.
Ellen is skeptical that the Justice League can be of any help to them, not to mention that Buddy is getting his advice from a talking cat in the first place. Cliff remarks that they can't go to Central City anyway, since an EMP blast has left the city without power. Buddy suggests that Cliff use his phone to find them a route where a super-hero battle isn't happening. Cliff's phone has died without a charger, so Ellen suggests that he and Buddy go to the town a few miles back and pick up a charger and some real food for the family.
On the walk to town, Cliff comments that he wishes his father would fly him around more often, rather than having to walk. Buddy promises that once they don't have to keep a low profile anymore, he'll fly Cliff around. Cliff goes into the store to buy some food while Buddy uses the payphone to call the police about what happened to Detective Krenshaw. After picking up the food, Cliff is distracted by the sight of some attractive older girls. He notices that one of them is wearing an Animal Man shirt. Attempting to impress her, he comments that Animal Man is his dad. The girls don't believe him, but unexpectedly, Buddy appears claiming that they need to leave on Justice League business, and flies his son away. Cliff thanks his father for helping him to impress the girls.
Meanwhile, the Baker women are having a rousing game of Go Fish! Ellen and her mother Mary press Maxine to talk about what she's been through recently, but the four-year-old is completely unfazed by the weirdness of entering The Red and encountering the Hunters Three and the threat of The Rot. Mary breaks down at the thought of a four-year-old girl having to go through any of this, and blames Buddy's influence for it all. Just then, Buddy and Cliff return, and Mary angrily storms out the door of the motor-home. With the added burden of her mother's upset, Ellen is further angered by the fact that Cliff bought nothing but junk food.
That night, Buddy wakes to find that his family is no longer in the motor-home, and when he steps outside to look for them, he is startled by a vision of decay and carnage. The landscape is covered with rotting carcasses and bones. Soon, a horrifying monster bursts up from the ground, along with the Hunters Three. Buddy is further surprised by the appearance of Maxine, much older than when he last saw her, and accompanied by some kind of swamp monster. Behind them, stands a curmudgeonly old man in a trenchcoat, and Ellen, much aged. Buddy watches as Maxine rushes into battle with the monsters. The old man warns that she is not a little girl anymore, noting that this is what the future is like, should Buddy fail to protect Maxine like he's supposed to. Moments later, one of the monsters manages to grab Maxine and pierce through her arm with its teeth. When Buddy rushes to her side, he realizes too late that she has been infected by The Rot.
Buddy wakes up to find his family around him; Maxine is already awake and staring at him. She warns that she can feel the bad things from The Rot coming. Soon Ellen and the others begin waking up, so Buddy goes outside to check on things. He opens the door to see a gathering of Rot infected animals preparing to strike.
- This book was first published on March 7, 2012.
- The power is out in Central City because of an EMP blast that occurred in The Flash (Volume 4) #2.
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