It’s easy to miss it but with a name like Swamp Thing the “Swamp” portion often sticks out. The thing is… he’s a “thing” too — a monster, a very odd weird looking thing and that’s an aspect that isn’t always captured as well as it could be. Can the second issue make good on that component of the character?
Swamp Thing #2 (DC Comics)
Last issue Swamp Thing was asked to help stop a zombie monster from attacking folks on a local college campus. The zombie in question was a college student who was killed in order to be resurrected and… and he came back alright. So far as we know. Swamp Thing pulled himself from the muck to do something about it and was quickly torn in half.
Why does this book matter?
Swamp Thing is one of the most famous characters in the DC universe, but also one of the most unique. The fact that the first issue promised a character that’s straight up macabre is a great sign and the book solidly felt like a horror comic about a hero.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Writer Len Wein nails the weird factor in this issue and gives artist Kelley Jones plenty of opportunities to draw one sick looking Swamp Thing; in fact, the book opens with the aforementioned Swamp Thing torn in two scene — a grotesque and wonderfully bizarre visual. From there Swamp Thing must seek advice on killing the zombie and the methodology is disturbingly great.
The big reveal behind the villain’s creation is also compelling and suits the macabre story. Essentially Swamp Thing stomps through this issue grumpy and angry to be woken up and that suits the mission at hand. Wein captures his internal monologue well through the narration too. You’re right there with him as he seeks to rectify the issue at hand.
I think he’s pissed.
There’s also a nice introduction of a local sheriff character that will most likely be the focus next issue. She’s related to a certain Batman character and it’s a nice touch to see her added to the story.
I can’t say enough about Kelley’s work in this issue. His lines and ink work are just spectacular. There’s a simplicity to his work where the lines end and the inks begin. This allows the shadows to engulf the characters and vice versa the night to engulf them. At one point Swamp Thing must sew the mouth of the zombie shut and the character goes from disturbing monster to even more horrific once that trap is shut. Kelley is the perfect artist for a work like this.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The world is building nicely along with side characters, but what about Swamp Thing? It’s possible this new series is supposed to focus more on those around him, but despite the good narration Swamp Thing is rather thin. He’s a grouchy reluctant hero. That’s about it.
I’m also not quite sure the turn of events works so nicely. At one point Swamp Thing is upset about being torn apart, then not, then is sure he can stop the zombie even though he’s failed twice. It’s a hiccup for sure and it hurts the overall reading experience.
Is It Good?
The visual impact is ferocious! Swamp Thing is back to being weird and horrific!