Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Dead Don't Sleep in Swamp Thing #1

DC Comics launches a new limited six-part series for the iconic Swamp Thing. The first 20-page chapter in the new tale sees a return to the horror and mystery roots of the character. Co-creator Len Wein pens the chilling yarn with Artist Kelley Jones channeling the great Bernie Wrightson to give the issue a classic touch while maintaining his own style.

In issue #1, Swamp Thing receives an ominous warning. He finds himself under attack from the forces of dark magic. These are more than just your average monsters—and there’s something much worse looming on the horizon for Alec Holland!

All the supernatural and occult elements we love about the original Wrightson / Wein Swamp Thing stories of the 1970s fills the pages of issue #1. Not to overuse a dangerous term thrown around these days, but I would almost call this a reboot of the series. It takes a few pages to give us the background on how the heroic creature was formed and then jumps into a new yarn spun by one of the men who knows the character best.

Kelley Jones’s artwork is heavily influenced by Bernie Wrightson’s illustrations and detail given to the original Swamp Thing books. There are classic monster movie moments which visually come to life on the page. The moments aren’t gory, but slimy and startling.

The only real complaint I have about Swamp Thing #1 is how decomposed the antagonist of the book becomes in a short amount of time. I know that in a supernatural tale, there can be many explanations as to why a dead person would take on the form of a long-dead zombie so quickly. However, for some reason it just doesn’t sit well with me and seems a bit too convenient. I will say that the design of the monster isn’t part of the problem and is well-executed, though.

Swamp Thing #1 is rated T for Teen. The book contains violence and gore, profanity, and frightening and intense scenes. Bloody body parts are seen strewn throughout a lab in a couple of panels. A few other spots show Swamp Thing getting torn in two and characters having their necks snapped.

The first issue of the new Swamp Thing limited series is a promising start for our plant-based hero. It has action, drama, supernatural charisma, and a sense of something sinister unfolding. You know there’s more to the story than meets the eye, and Len Wein gives us just enough to whet our appetites and bring on a craving for the next chapter.

Swamp Thing is available now in print and digital editions.

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