Animal Man


PERSONAL DATA

Real Name: Bernhard "Buddy" Baker
Occupation: Former movie stuntman, professional super-hero, religious icon.
Base of Operations: Montana
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 172 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair:Blond
Marital Status: Married
Family: Ellen Frazier Baker (wife), Cliff (son), Maxine a.k.a. Little Wing (daughter), Frank Baker Jr. (father), Phyllis (mother), Frank Sr (grandfather-deceased), Mary Frazier (mother-in-law), Annie Cassidy (mother of second daughter), Lucy Cassidy (half-sister of second daughter)
Group Affiliation: Global Guardians, Titans West (former)


HISTORY

The origins of his powers are still uncertain. Buddy's memories have been obscured by various events in his life, periods of amnesia, periods in coma, transformations, deaths and rebirths. What is known is that, in his late teens, Buddy was a happy hellraising punk rocker. One fall afternoon he went hunting in the Adirondack Mountains. When he returned home, he discovered that in the presence of an animal, he was able to absorb its special abilities.

At the suggestion of his best friend, Roger Denning, Buddy donned an orange-and-blue costume and started a minor career as the super-hero, Animal Man. After a few years of adventuring, Buddy retired his Animal Man identity, married his high-school girlfriend, Ellen Frazier, and moved to San Diego. Living on the salary from Ellen's work as an illustrator and Buddy's newly-started career as a movie stuntman, the couple mortgaged a house in the surburbs and raised two children, Cliff and Maxine.

Buddy thought his super-hero days over, but that was to change. After stumbling on an ancient golden pyramid, he was contacted by the mysterious Immortal Man. Joining up with other has-been adventurers including Dolphin among others. Under Immortal Man's direction, Animal Man became part of the organisation called the Forgotten Heroes. For a time, the group stayed together, opposing threats such as Vandal Savage and the Forgotten Villains. During the world-shattering event known as the Crisis, Immortal Man (seemingly) sacrificed his life, and soon after, the Forgotten Heroes disbanded.

Buddy returned to his family life, although the thought of superheroics was still nagging in his head. He wanted to make a difference, but had to support his family as well. Convinced that there was still a place for Animal Man in this world, Buddy resumed his full-time superhero career, battling villains such as the new Mirror Master and a delirious B'wana Beast. He also assisted in foiling the Invasion of Earth by the Dominators. Still not satisfied, Buddy made the decision to become a protector of animal life on Earth. He sabotaged foxhunting in England, dolphin slaughter on the Faroe Islands, and animal experiments all over the USA. He worked with Vixen to overthrow the government of M'Changa, and with the Freedom Beast to oppose the apartheid powers of South Africa. About this time, he learned from a scientist named James Highwater that his powers were greater than he initially had believed, due to his previously unknown contact with the Morphogenetic Field.

After a fireman had accidentally been killed in a fire started by his animal activist group, a shocked Buddy began to reconsider the path he had chosen. Though still a convinced vegetarian, environmentalist and animal rights activist, he asked himself if superheroics and illegal sabotage activities were the right ways to go. Refusing to become a role model, he quit the Justice League and the activist group, attempting to hang away his super-hero costume for good.

Then, when a corporate organisation (worried about the popularity of the left-wing Animal Man) threatened to kill his family if he did not stop doing his deed, Buddy teamed up with the Mirror Master to oppose them. Suddenly, he found himself in the role of a hero once again, getting tangled up in saving the world from a second Crisis at the hands of the Psycho-Pirate, and ultimately, believe it or not, learning the fact that he was a comic book character. He even got to meet his writer, Grant Morrison, in person.

Naturally, Buddy was not allowed to remember such revelations for long. Some time after these events, he woke up from a coma with amnesia. Once again a movie stuntman, Buddy continued as a part-time superhero, but his life was to get weirder still. His powers continued to malfunction; birds died when he was flying, he absorbed animal behaviour and appearance unexpectedly, and animals around him acted strange. After his powers accidentally had killed every animal on the San Diego Zoo, Buddy and his family moved to Ellen's mother's farm in Vermont. Later, it was revealed that the reason for this "animal weirdness" was the coming of a hostile Animal Avatar, a.k.a. the Shining Man. During this course of events, Buddy encountered a Native American shaman, who revealed that Buddy was one of a group of chosen called the Animal Masters, destined to be the guardian of nature. Together with fellow Animal Masters Vixen and Tristess, Animal Man was able to defeat the Shining Man, who had already corrupted and killed B'wana Beast, another Animal Master. He also learned that his daughter Maxine, who had developed powers similar to his own, was an Animal Master as well.

Settling down, Buddy's next mission was to rescue his son Cliff, who had been kidnapped by Ellen's insane Uncle Dudley. While looking for his son, Buddy was run over by Dudley's car and actually died. However, his life-force survived he was able to re-create his original body and save his son.

Being declared legally deceased, Buddy resumed his peaceful life on the farm with his reunited family. Fearing that humans would eventually cause their own destruction and the planet, he started thinking of ways to make them understand what they were doing to their world. The farm became a refuge for outcasts, among them was a woman named Annie Cassidy and her daughter Lucy, who started a relationship with Cliff.

More and more, Buddy felt the animal instincts in him taking over. Overwhelmed by his powers, Buddy and Annie made love to each other. The strengthened connection to the source of his powers made Buddy step over the line, and once again adopt the appearance of a hybrid animal. Flying in rage to Washington D.C., he plagued the city with all kinds of animals, threatening humanity to change their ways or go under. At the end, the authorities captured and soon after released him due to a large portion of Americans that believed this "Animal Man" had a point.

Buddy wanted to change the ways of humanity, they all wanted to make a difference, and they already had many followers. This lead Annie to realise they were halfway to started a cult, or a religion, with Buddy as an "enraged prophet" and Maxine as the saviour, which they would call The Life Power Church of Maxine. Buddy, Maxine, Cliff, Annie, Lucy, and their followers travelled across the state, picking up countless new "disciples". Dubbed "the Red Plague" by the media, they finally settled down as a Church in Montana.

Buddy disappeared from sight again for a time and the next time Buddy appeared, a competitive supervillain called the Gamesman had kidnapped Maxine, just for playing a hunting game with Buddy. With the help of Aquaman, Buddy was able to defeat the Gamesman and save Maxine. In the process, he guided the temporarily blind Aquaman, making him realise he had elemental connections.

This adventure was the spark that Buddy needed to return to his super-hero life. Most recently, Buddy was tracking an evil bear when in encountered the Titans. Pleased with there camaraderie, Buddy decided to join Titans West.

Though his time with that team was short-lived. He had to take a leave in order to rescue his kidnapped son, Cliff, and once that was complete, the West team of Titans had disbanded. Buddy, however, was actually well-served by this situation, as it left him open to join a newly-formed group, one more suited to his own beliefs: the new Global Guardians.





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