Friday, September 9, 2011

Swamp Thing #1


Scott Snyder has quickly become one of my favorite comic book writers. His work on Batman in Detective Comics made me love the gritty and film noir styled Batman adventures again. So when I heard that he was going to tackle Swamp Thing, a story I was only really familiar with via the films that were released decades ago, I was very intrigued. The story started off with Superman, which I thought was kind of weird, but then quickly included Batman and Aquaman as well. When we finally make it to Dr. Holland, who is working on a construction site, we find that he is no longer Swamp Thing and is trying to forget his life as the creature, which he can’t even entirely remember. Synder paints the portrait of a man trapped inside of a monstrous body in a carefully written dialogue between Holland and Superman.

The thing that I really enjoyed about both this book and the new Animal Man was the fact that the two are dealing with D-list characters who both have powers that are taken from the natural world. While Animal Man gets his power from “The Red,” Swamp Thing gains his from his connection to “The Green.” It’s been hinted that these two books, both a mixture of superhero and horror, are quickly going to crossover into a much bigger story. I honestly can’t wait for that, and you can bet I’ll be reading both until it happens and long after. Why? Because so far these off-kilter books have been the best of the new DC Universe. That’s right. Not Superman or Green Arrow, but Animal Man and Swamp Thing. In fact I’m very tempted to drive to the book store and order a copy of Alan Moore’s run on the character.

The artwork by Yanick Paquette captures the DC Universe as well as the horror atmosphere of the Swamp Thing saga. To see Superman talking to Holland on one page and then a giant creature making people snap their own next on another was a big contrast but very welcomed to shake up the mundanity of normal superhero stories. If I had to give anyone any advice about the New 52 from DC, it’s that you should try titles that you normally would stay away from. The creative teams on some of the stranger books are really incredible, and when it comes down to the reviews after this initial month I really hope that others feel the same way.

Snyder and Paquette deserve a 4.5 for their work on Swamp Thing #1. Not as a fan service to Snyder, but because they both earned it. Anyone who can take a character I had no interest in and then make me want to fill my bookshelf with their previous adventures deserves an Eisner Award on the spot. It just goes to show that there are no bad characters, only bad writers and artists. Thank you Snyder and Paquette for proving that ten times over.

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