Swamp Thing #1


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Swamp Thing #1


  • Words: Scott Snyder
  • Art: Yanick Paquette
  • Colors: Nathan Fairbairn
  • Story Title: Raise Dem Bones
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Sep 7, 2011

Former Dr. Alec Holland attempts to make peace with his demons in the New 52’s return of the not-so-jolly green giant.

Relegated to the world of Vertigo for decades, Swamp Thing makes his eerie return to the DCnU. This incarnation of Swamp Thing is brought to us by writer Scott Snyder (American Vampire, Batman) and artist Yanick Paquette (Batman, Inc., Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer) and for all intents and purposes, this is the first time for many readers to have this warrior of the environment interact with other DC staples.  How does this team handle the pressure?

After the events of Brightest Day (yes, it all still happened) Alec Holland was resurrected and with him, Earth’s avatar, Swamp Thing. For many years, Swamp Thing had used Alec Holland’s body as a host, but up until now, Alec was actually dead. Fully resurrected now, he not only retains the memories of his old life, but those of the “monster” that used his essence for the last handful of years. All the blood may not be on his hands, but it surely weighs on his heart. 

After many weeks and a failed attempt to assimilate back into his old life, Holland decides to drop under the radar as much as possible.  This becomes hard to do after multiple ecological disasters occur in every corner of the globe. Birds drop dead from the skies of Metropolis. Fish decay and die en masse in Aquaman’s seas. Even the bats nesting in the Batcave drop from the perches, dead before they hit the cavern floor. Superman tracks down Holland for his help and expertise, but as is always the way, our hero denies his call. Oh, if it were only that simple for the poor botanist. What transpires in the final half of the issue is a series of eerie, nightmarish, and downright exciting happenings that may require a certain, often forceful, green thumb.

Yanick Paquette’s art is masterful when capturing the ethereal feel for which Snyder is aiming. A heavy theme in the book is that nature is anything but peaceful. It’s a force, constantly at war with everything around it. Paquette, with his heavy pencil, captures the constant tonal shift between the beauty and fury of nature. Even the page layouts drastically change with certain scenes, adding to the building tension. It’s often subtle, sometimes bolder, but never jarring. If anything, the collaboration of style and story has elevated both creators’ game. 

If I could make one gripe about the art, then it may be his rendering of Superman. But to be fair, I am just not too big a fan of the new costume yet. Maybe I just need time for it to become a little more consistent with all the artists. To let the new duds sink in, so to speak. 

Swamp Thing #1 is an impressive, captivating, and brooding start to a misunderstood and often under-appreciated character. So far, for this reviewer, the New 52 have been a rewarding testing ground for things I may not have tried in the past. So far, it’s a risk worth enjoying.

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