Legendary writer (and creator of the Swamp Thing) Len Wein, returns to helm his creation once again in the New DCU! Your Major Spoilers review of Swamp Thing #1 awaits!
Previously in Swamp Thing: “Swamp Thing returns in an all-new series written by his co-creator, legendary writer Len Wein! Swamp Thing has received an ominous warning, and now he finds himself under attack from the forces of dark magic. These are more than just your average monsters—and there’s something much worse looming on the horizon for Alec Holland!”
A REMEMBRANCE OF TIMES PAST
We open this issue in the swamps of Louisiana, with a quick-but-effective recap of Swamp Thing’s origin story (man working on plant formula finds his work sabotaged, massive explosion, run into the swamp: Muck-Monster) followed by a demonstration of his power, as Swamp Thing is attacked by an alligator. Still, this isn’t the quiet, thoughtful hero of Alan Moore’s run, as Wein gives Holland a bit of wit and edge that is new, even calling the ‘gator ‘Albert’ as he overpowers it. It makes him feel much more like an everyman hero, underlined by the sudden appearance of The Phantom Stranger, who brings ill tidings from the Parliament of Trees. We establish that Swampy has broken his ties with the immortal ones, but are immediately thrown out of any discussion of what that means by an echoing scream. A quick heroic live-save later, and Swamp Thing finds himself tasked to find a missing college student who may or may not be dead, leading to some monster-to-monster combat and a very shocking final page…
STRANGE AND MOODY ART
Kelley Jones delivers a very-Kelley Jones experience with the art, giving us the shadows and gnarled trees that Berni Wrightson established back in the 70s, combined with the massive, twisted figures that define his work. This Swamp Thing is thick of limb and hulking, all the better to establish his earth-drawn power, and while the stylization may not be for everyone, Jones’ provides clear layouts and blocks out his action sequences clearly. With the introduction of this issue’s antagonist, we also see a return to a traditional horror comic that hasn’t (so far) been a part of the post-Flashpoint DCU, something that I find myself enjoying. In this age of “continuity only as necessary”, this issue feels like a continuation of Wein’s original Swamp Thing stories, full of things that go bump in the night, suspenseful plotting and a more human take on Alec Holland. Strangely, thanks to two movies, a cartoon and the live-action series, Swamp Thing is actually one of DC’s highest-profile characters almost everywhere but IN the actual comics, and this issue delivers on the promise of return to Swamp Thing basics…
THE BOTTOM LINE: OLD-SCHOOL HORROR
All in all, it’s a successful first issue, skillfully recapping the back story and delivering the story hook without being too obtrusive, and Kelly Jones art gives us a Swamp Thing unlike any in recent memory. Swamp Thing #1 may not be the Swamp Thing you remember if you love Moore’s take (or the Vertigo book that it spawned), but it makes for a solid debut issue, redefining the character for modern audiences, and earning 3 out of 5 stars overall. Time will tell if this incarnation of Swamp Thing moves back to the realm of eternal elemental concerns or stay with this brasher, more human Swampy, but based on this debut issue, I’m willing to give it time to develop into whatever Wein and Jones wish it to be…[taq_review][signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation” icon=”icon-cog”][/signoff]