Review – Swamp Thing #4 (DC Comics)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Kelley Jones
Release Date: 6th April, 2016

After a fairly slow start which did little more than establish the overall tone of the series to come, the last two issues of DC’s latest Swamp Thing mini-series have been far more entertaining.

Following on from the shocking revelation at the end of the previous chapter – a chapter which saw Alex Holland finally ‘cured’ of the Swamp Thing affliction, only for his apparent benefactor Matt Cable to become the beast himself – this latest chapter starts off fairly positively.  We have Holland coming to terms with the change,  craving pancakes and doing his best to mentor Cable in all the subtle nuances that the Green has to offer. However, about midway through the issue, something happens which changes things in about as decisive and shocking a manner as you could possibly hope for.  Seriously, your jaw will be on the floor.

It doesn’t hurt that Kelley Jones’ distinctive style is absolutely tailor made for moments like this.  While I’m not going to spoil the actual sequence, suffice to say that the creeping horror of Jones’ pencils really help to underscore and shocking brutality of what we’re witnessing.  The rest of the issue ain’t bad looking either, with Jones’ heavily-shaded approach giving the book a murky, shadowy aesthetic that really helps to underscore the impact of Wein’s story.  He also does a good job of portraying the emotion of the now-human Holland, a fortunate detail given the fact that this emotion is likely to become the driving force for the remainder of the series.

Unfortunately, the pacing remains the biggest flaw in this series so far.  After a couple of slow, meandering issues, everything suddenly springs to life here in a fairly rushed fashion, with the result being that the ‘twist’ doesn’t have anything like the impact it probably should, and while the dialogue and verbose narration are manage to feel both nostalgic and modern, there’s no getting over the feeling that with just a few little tweaks, we’d be looking at a far more gripping, far more engaging story.

Ultimately then, while it’s truly fantastic to see Swamp Thing returning to his ‘old-school’ horror roots, a few significant niggles are preventing this story from becoming something truly special.  Thankfully however, even during those moments where the story or pacing are somewhat lacking, we still have the absolutely stunning artwork of Kelley Jones to feast our eyes upon.  And that’s not too shabby, as consolation prizes go.

Rating: 4/5.

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.

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The writer of this piece was: 576682_510764502303144_947146289_nCraig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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