Friday, 9 March 2012

Swamp Thing #7 review

At last. After half a year's worth of Swamp Thing without Swamp Thing, the star of the show steps into the spotlight. It's not a matter of Alec Holland embracing his destiny, so much as making his own future. Here's Alec in a choose-your-own-adventure, with stunning board game layouts from artist Yanick Paquette. The trippy compositions look like the scariest game of Snakes and Ladders ever as Alec and the Parliament of Trees discuss death, and Abby Arcane becomes death. Alec's good looks contrast with the twisted agents of the Rot and the warped beasts who would worship Abby. And as Alec comes to a new understanding of his supposed brethren, the Parliament begins to look as nightmarish as everything else around him.

Almost as scary as the corrupted creations of darkness is the notion that Alec will become the monster that for so long believed it was him. A creature whose memories have been driving him half-mad. But the fact that he's dying helps Alec make his decision. We watch his body transform outwardly, inwardly, on a genetic level, in another memorable vignette from Paquette and colourist Nathan Fairbairn.

And then I cheer, as Alec, for love of Abby, embraces change, becomes a new, more centred Swamp Thing - the green knight needed to take on first the Rot, then the Red. Abby, meanwhile, thinks only of Alec as she morphs into ... what?

Writer Scott Snyder took a risk by making us wait for Swamp Thing's comeback - I dropped several New 52 titles after a single issue - but I'm glad he did. He's let us get to know the man before he becomes the monster, and now we're assured that man and monster are truly one at last. Swamp Thing is made of grass and branches and mulch but he has a heart, a soul. Real humanity rather than a fading copy.

And I'm more excited than ever to see where this book goes next. Hopefully the Rot and Red storylines will be over by the end of the first year and new horrors will emerge. And maybe even a few delights. So long as Snyder and Paquette are guiding Alec and friends, I'll be there.

15 comments:

  1. I loved this issue, just loved it! Scott Snyder has proven to be one of best writers around for me. I never read a bad story by him and I'm excited to see where he will take Alec/Swamp Thing soon. The buildup took a while, but I feel it was all worth it and had more impact when Alec became Swampy after we gotten to see his struggle against destiny.

    The only concern I have with this title and Animal Man as well is where they will go after The Rot storyline wraps up. What will be planned and what old and new foes will appear.

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    1. My only concern is that we'll start seeing those bloomin' owls everywhere!

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    2. But I love the owls!

      However, you know what I want to see? Poison Ivy! Where is she in all this Rot craziness? I know issue 10 of Birds of Prey has her going to the amazon to recover from something and that's where the Parliment of Trees are (or use to be?). I love to see her have a guest appearance in this series because I think she would work in here somehow!

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    3. That's be interesting. I'm trying to recall, did Alec Holland study with Pamela Isley, Jason Woodrue and co as of the Black Orchid mini series?

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  2. This issue saved the book for me. I had been enjoying it, but the pacing was just starting to rub me the wrong way. Then this issue hits and all is good again. Horrific story and moving plot! Excellent!

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    1. Phew! I'm off to see if you've covered it at Comic Per Day Reviews...

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  3. Never having read a Swamp Thing book I took a chance on this one because of Scott Snyder, I am so glad I did.

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    1. Great stuff. Stick some of the Moore/Totleben/Bissette trades on your Christmas list, I reckon you'll enjoy them.

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  4. i'm a long time Swamp Thing fan and i actually really liked the first issue but picking up a Swamp Thing title with out there really being a Swamp Thing really wore on my patience. i quit picking it up after #4, but maybe i'll check out #7. i however think it was a mistake for the Swamp Thing come back to take so long.

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    1. Let us know if you do try the issue, David. Maybe next issue would be a good hopping back on time.

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  5. Gave up after the 3rd issue. Snyder's writing does nothing for me I'm afraid.

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    1. I blow hot and cold - the owl stuff is going on a bit long. Loved his Detective Comics run.

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  6. I only have a subscription to this title, so I'll be getting #7 in two weeks. Ugh! But this review is definitely making me itch for it to arrive in my mail box!

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  7. This title is losing me, here we are a half a year in and the book finally lives up to its title by, well, introducing the title character. The comic seems to have become "decompressed," aimed at a future TPB, it advances the story so slowly each issue. This was an entire issue in which the only thing that happens is Alec Holland finally becomes Swamp Thing...It took me about five minutes to read this comic I paid three dollars for, there was so little there...Snyder creates an awesome mood, but I'm looking for more substance from him soon.

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