Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Kelley Jones
Release Date: 3rd February, 2016
After a strong debut issue which did a tremendous job of establishing the tone for the upcoming series, Len Wein and Kelley Jones’ SWAMP THING surges into its second chapter here as we find our hero reeling after been quite literally ripped apart by the horrific ghoul he encountered last time out.
There’s no denying the fact that the artwork on this series is truly stunning, with Jones’ well-established mastery of horror shining through in every panel, not to mention his eye-catching design for ol’ Swampy himself, but there’s just something about Wein’s story that isn’t connecting with me thus far.
As a short, self-contained ‘Tales of Horror’ type affair, these two issues have been solid enough, if a little derivative, but as the opening salvo of a six-part miniseries, I don’t feel anywhere near as invested in the story as I probably should by this point. In fact, with the occasionally B-Movie level dialogue and somewhat clunky handling of the frequent exposition, the only thing really keeping me hooked at this point is the main character himself – and, of course, those fantastic visuals.
Speaking of the visuals; it may very well be the case that Swamp Thing is the character Kelley Jones was put on this planet to draw, and his hulking, monstrous “Avatar of the Green” is truly something to behold. Thankfully, he is given ample opportunity over the course of this issue to not only flex his creative muscle in terms of solid, hard-hitting action sequences, but also with his creepy depiction of Swamp Thing using his abilities to shrink, grow and contort at will. There’s definitely more than a faint similarity to John Carpenter’s The Thing as we watch Swampy break apart and reform again in a haunting stream of green, something which adds immeasurably to the old-school horror vibe of the series.
Overall then, while Swamp Thing fans will no doubt find plenty to like here, there’s no denying that – to this point, at least – the story itself isn’t quite delivering like it should. The final panel offers hope that things are fixing to become a hell of a lot more exciting as the series moves forwards, as well as asking all kinds of interesting questions that only Wein and Jones know the answers to. As a diehard Swamp Thing fan I’m thrilled just to have a title featuring my favourite character on the shelves right now, but as a comic book reviewer, it’s paining me ever so slightly that this book isn’t managing to set the world on fire like I know it could. I’m definitely hopeful for the remaining four issues though, and if nothing else, it’s looking more and more likely that this may end up being one of the most visually impressive Swamp Thing runs of all time.
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If you want to find out more about Swamp Thing, make sure to check out our interview with series artist Kelley Jones by CLICKING HERE.