Swamp Thing #1 (DC) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Swamp Thing #1

DC

Written by Scott Snyder; Art by Yanick Paquette; Colors by Nathan Fairbairn; Letters by John J. Hill; Cover by Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn

Sep 09, 2011 DC Comics Bookmark and Share


Vertigo’s Swamp Thing is a treasured series for many comic book readers. Alan Moore’s iconic run is untouchable in my opinion, but the yarns spun by Rick Veitch, Mark Millar, Brian K. Vaughan, Andy Diggle, and Joshua Dysart left a strong legacy as well. Scott Snyder (American Vampire, Batman) knows this and isn’t screwing with too much continuity. You can tell, even from this debut issue, that he has plans for an epic story arc all his own. The Len Wein/Bernie Wrightson origin stories that established the character are referenced here. Also, the flowing lines from Canadian penciller Yanick Paquette (Batman Incorporated, Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer) recall the artful-yet-fecund style that Tom Yeates, Fred Carrillo, Bo Hampton, and Stephen Bissette utilized for Saga of the Swamp Thing and Swamp Thing (vol. 2).

Don’t fret. This isn’t a mere retread of the past. Snyder centers his tale on Alec Holland and leaves the mire monster on the sidelines. At least, for now. It’s a solid move and makes the horror elements of the script even more terrifying. (Check out the impressive pages of various fauna dying across the world or the killer flies.) The Green wants Holland to return, but he’s perfectly content with working at a lowly construction job in Louisiana after abandoning his scientific pursuit of a bio-restorative formula. The warning bells from Earth will be hard to ignore very soon and that hellish monster in the desert isn’t going away on its own.

Snyder and Paquette manage to make all of this exposition palatable. Much of the story is doled out through a discussion Holland has with Superman. Even in this dialog-heavy environment, Holland slips in an interesting side-story about his botany professor Dr. Riis, and the truth regarding the deadliness of plants. It’s a prime example of smart comic book writing that alligns with the overall character arc. Holland is mortified by the specters of his past and it is made manifest in his speech and on his tried face. (On the topic of faces: Paquette’s rendering of Superman is just awful. He draws Aquaman and Batman quite well in their brief cameos. Not sure what happened there.)

Paquette was largely an unknown to me before this issue and his art mostly impressed me. I mean, just look at that cover! His best work comes at the end of the issue, where a tangled mass of moss, roots, thorns, flowers, and blubs fill up Holland’s bedroom. He doesn’t waste space and colorist Nathan Fairbairn (Batman, Inc., X-Factor) makes those backgrounds pop.

After a lot of pleading, DC Universe fans finally have Swampy back. His replanting is quite something to behold. Forget all that Brightest Day nonsense. This is where everyone should start. Moore’s Swamp Thing left a lasting impact on mainstream comicdom, because it was a EC-esque horror comic that approached the genre from a literary point of view. It would be entirely unfair to compare Snyder with Moore, but similar ecological and spiritual concerns are sprinkled throughout. Following tradition doesn’t have to be an act of kowtowing to your elders. Snyder retains a sense of self here. It’s just less poetic. He’s got his horror-fantasy tropes down, though. (www.dccomics.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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Greg
September 11th 2011
9:27pm

Alan Moore’s run is even better than people think. If you check out the online annotations at http://tinyurl.com/readswampthing you’ll discover all kinds of hidden references and stuff you probably didn’t catch on the first read.

Kyle Lemmon
September 12th 2011
4:17am

Whoa! Thanks for the link, Greg.

Owen
September 12th 2011
4:20pm

This issue for me was such a throwback to the original godly run by Alan Moore - even he would approve of this new series.

Ingryd
June 12th 2012
2:48am

For the t shirt coordinators   How do I go about gtteing my daughter’s t shirt?  Sarah Stout did not pick up her shirt when they were distributed at practice.  We will be at practice this week.  Please advise.Thank you!Mary Jane Nowak