REVIEW: Swamp Thing #11

by

Or – “An Awful Family Reunion…”

There are two words that will chill the blood of any long-term Swamp Thing reader:

Anton.  Arcane.

Your shuddery Major Spoilers review awaits…

SWAMP THING #11
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Marco Rudy
Cover Artist(s): Yanick Paquette & Nathan Fairbairn
Colorist: Val Staples
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Swamp Thing:  Alec Holland was once a man, but now he acts as an agent of life (The Green) in a war against the forces of The Rot.  Unfortunately for him, his wife (or perhaps former wife) Abby has become a portal to The Rot itself, and her uncle, Anton Arcane has allied with the forces of unlife as well.  If you’ve ever read anything with Arcane in it, you know that this is very, very baaad…

I HATE ARCANE.

I have always hated Arcane, dating back to the Swamp Thing movie that I saw on cable back in the day (my introduction to the character, I might add) and any appearance of the character is pretty much guaranteed to leave my skin crawling.  Scott Snyder adds to the disconcerting aspects of the character with a heaping helping of body horror and some really unpleasant Freudian undertones.  The characterization of Abby Arcane Cable Holland in this volume has been a great treat for me, as she is perfectly willing to fight her uncle on his terms, shoving her shotgun in his face before she is overwhelmed by Un-Men, as artist Marco Rudy goes nuts on the misshapen monstrosities.  His art is quite good here, reminding me of the 70′s output of Nestor Redondo’s studio, with some lovely modern coloring and production techniques.  Another surprise for me, having missed a couple of issues, comes in the salvation of Holland through the Parliament of Trees, though his relationship with them seems to be strained somewhat.

THIS IS ABBY’S BATTLE…

Most of the issue is dedicated to Abby, and her battle with Arcane-as-The-Rot, where every injury he takes grows fangs and becomes another mouth (pardon me while I scream for about six hours and take a couple dozen hot showers) while we get a new origin for his old-school Un-Men minions.  I have, sadly, been drifting in and out of several comics the last couple of months, and this book and Animal Man have been on my list of things that have gotten away from me, but I love new badass Abby and the new status quo for Alec as the Swamp Thing.  Most impressive to me is that it’s ABBY who scores the decisive blow against her uncle, and the issue’s stinger (wherein Animal Man arrives to gather Swampy into his own battle against The Rot) is exciting, as well, promoting next months Rotworld crossover storyline.  I’ve been a fan of Vertigo since the very beginning, and I’m happy to see that sort of sensibility returning to mainstream DCU comics…

THE BOTTOM LINE: NICELY HANDLED, ABIGAIL.

This issue has a lot of good things going for it, though I have to say that, while I enjoyed the events of the issue, the pacing seemed a bit off, as though there wasn’t quite enough battle to fill out the issue, and the end of the fighty-fighty (while a great moment for Abby) felt a little bit forced, as if the story mandated the break, regardless of whether the moment was a natural one or not.  Still and all, Swamp Thing #11 is an above-average issue, featuring lovely art from fill-in (?) artist Rudy, and a nice continuation of the story of The Rot, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  Crossing over with the excellence of Animal Man makes me even more interested in the new adventures of Swamp Thing and Abby, and I have to say I LOVE her new haircut…

Rating: ★★★½☆