Swam Thing’s zero issue arrives as his origins are explored and the battle between The Green and The Rot continue. Does The Green allow this plant to survive or does it succumb to The Rot? Major Spoilers finds out!
Previously in Swamp Thing: The battle between The Green, The Red and The Rot begins as Animal Man and Swamp Thing must team up to defeat Arcane. After getting lost in The Rot they return home to find that home is no more, and The Rot has taken over. The Rotworld crossover begins…
THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES
The story begins in 1897, as we see Arcane confront that era’s Swamp Thing, and things don’t end well. Afterwards the current Swamp Thing’s (Alec Holland) origins are explored and remain the same, only with a few changes. This issue is told through Arcane’s point of view as we learn about his ties to Swamp Thing’s beginnings in the New 52. We learn that Arcane was responsible for the fire that killed Alec Holland and allowed The Green to transform him into the Swamp Thing.
Scott Snyder is knocking this title out of the park. Arcane’s actions in this issue are horrific and truly the stuff of nightmares. We see him kill various avatars of The Green and The Red throughout the ages (including some as infants) and it really establishes him as a threatening villain. It’s frightening stuff but not excessive, though some may object to the baby killing. Snyder creates a legacy for Swamp Thing and it works as a zero issue. For new readers it helps them get caught up on events in the title and also provides current readers with enough new information to keep it fresh. Making Arcane the one responsible for the creation of Swamp Thing was a fresh and welcome change for this reader. Because Alan Moore sent the character to Hell, it will be interesting to know what will be retained in the New 52 since Scott Snyder has been pulling heavily from Moore’s run. Overall this is a great issue and a success all around.
The art by Kano is horrific. And I mean that in the best way possible. The images presented (skin shedding, eyeballs popping, bodies burning) are disgusting and fit the nature of the story perfectly. It’s all handled well and really proves that this is a horror title through and through. Panels are broken up and divided by wounds that are sewn shut and starting to tear open. Kano even provides an insect crawling out of one of the wounds and it’s details like this that just add to the atmosphere. Whoever came up with the image of a brain with eyes sitting atop a hand while it smothers a baby should get recognition, or locked up. I’m not sure which one. I hope to see more work by Kano in the future, preferably on this title. Colors are muted with reds and greens being the only ones that (appropriately) pop off of the page. It’s subtle nuances like this that bring the art to a level nothing short of wonderful.
BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT, LIKE NOW
This issue succeeded for me all around. It gives something for new readers to jump in on and old readers something to enjoy. While it is an origin story, it also adds and moves forward the current storyline. With wonderful art that is beautiful and horrific at the same time, this is an issue to go out and buy. While some may have problems with the violence, it is still a great story and I look forward to what Snyder and company have in store for Rotworld. Swamp Thing #0 earns 4.5 out of 5 stars.