Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Kelley Jones
Release Date: 11th May, 2016
The penultimate issue of Len Wein and Kelley Jones’ Swamp Thing miniseries serves as a perfect microcosm of everything that’s great – and, at the same time, everything that’s not so great – about the series so far.
Firstly, let’s deal with the great: Kelley Jones’ artwork remains some of the most striking on the shelves today, and his heavily-shaded, snarling “Cable-Thing” is truly a thing of twisted beauty – not to mention his wonderfully hallucinogenic Parliament of Trees. Len Wein’s narration is also fantastic, harking back to a more eloquent style of sequential storytelling that makes me all tingly inside. The overall ‘feel’ of the book also deserves some major credit for turning back the hands of time and giving us the kind of classic old-timey horror tale that Swampy works so incredibly well with.
Now to the not so great: The guest appearances, while originally providing a nice aside, are now starting to feel more than a little forced, adding little to the ongoing story while reeking of editorial meddling. Yeah, it’s kinda cool to see Kelley Jones’ take on Deadman, but what did he really add to the issue? Also, as good Wein’s narration undoubtedly is, his dialogue jars fairly uncomfortably at times, with certain phrases and references (Scooby Doo? Really?) feeling distinctly out of place, snapping the reader out of their immersion in horror aesthetic and mood like a glass of cold water to the face.
The issue itself sees Alex Holland – now no longer Swamp Thing – venturing to Nanda Parbat to try and find a way to put a stop to Matt Cable, now fully in control of the Green and threatening the destruction of the world unless he’s allowed to project it. Yeah, it’s a weird premise for a super-villain, but watching his fantastically straight-faced bad guy ultimatum being beamed live around the globe is bound to raise a smile, if only for its unashamedly old-school approach.
Overall then, DC’s latest Swamp Thing series continues to be something of a mixed bag. Yes, it’s an absolutely gorgeous-looking book, but it’s also one with its fair share of flaws; flaws which are sadly stopping me short of calling it an essential read. If you’re a Swamp Thing fan then you’re clearly already picking this one up, and rightfully so, but for the casual reader this may be a little harder for you to fully appreciate.
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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