I had been looking for the first new comic from DC’s recently released New 52 line up and I wanted something that wasn’t in the mainstream. Now I’m aware Swamp Thing has a classic critically acclaimed history littered with writing and Art legends of Yesteryear, but I personally have no history with the series. Unburdened from expectations I arrived to this series with a complete open mind and a willingness to enjoy it. Rarely has a comic dazzled me with its art work and drawn me in with its complex yet creative world.
Story – 4/5
I don’t want to go too deep into the story as I want the same experience for my readers as I had but for the purposes of this review here are the cliff notes. The main protagonist Dr. Alec Holland, who had been resurrected as a human with only memories of his time as a plant elemental. After completing a batch of his bio-restorative formula, he drops out of his botany career and becomes a construction worker. Haunted by thoughts of transforming again, he attempts to throw his formula into a swamp, but is stopped by a separate entity who has taken on the form of Swamp Thing. The series begins with a struggle from Alec to accept who he really is and his attempt to run away from his responsibilities. A chance meeting with a mystery woman, whose fate seems juxtaposed to his gives him the strength to take on the world ultimate evil.
I found the story to be full of twists and turns in these opening ten issues each adding a layer of complexity for our main characters to deal with. There is almost a Romeo and Juliet type commentary at the centre when you cut through all the elemental Mythology that grounds the story in a way that most readers can appreciate. There is more depth in these pages than you will find in most of marvel’s finest and for that reason it had an outstanding effect on me long after reading.
Visuals – 5/5
You will not see a better drawn and coloured comic in production at the moment. The art snap crackles and pops off the page leaving you wanting more. The level of detail is amazing especial in the scenes featuring Swamp thing and especially when the Rot starts to dominate proceedings. You get drawn in to the creativity and credit is due here to the design team who have concocted some crazy and disgusting enemies for Swamp Thing to dispatch. I could eulogise for days on the quality here but rarely have I seen Art this close to perfection.
Characters – 4/5
The writers have very deliberately kept the cast of characters to a bare minimum and I think has kept the pace of the comic rampant. We have a number at the start that set up the mythology and the rules from which our hero Alec (and subsequently us) has to quickly adapt. Once that is out of the way they are ruthlessly culled living us with our small ensemble. I think the lack of characters adds to the hopelessness of Alec’s mission. He is one man on desperate mission with no one in the world to help him. In addition he is the only living creature on the planet with the power to make things right. I imagine the cast will gradually grow but I’m very happy with its current state
Get this comic series in your life! The New 52 has been hit or miss since the re-launch but this is for me is the star performer for me so far. If you have never read a comic, if you can’t identify the Green from the Rot, If you are looking for something original and creative with a team not afraid to take a risk then please get down top your local comic book store and collect this series.