Review: Swamp Thing #2 by Scott Snyder & Yanick Paquette

I was going through the list of comic books from the DCnU that I read, basically trying to figure out which ones I wanted to read next month. And I came across Swamp Thing. For me it was a really tough decision.

Please don’t misunderstand. Swamp Thing #1 was one of the best comics that I read from the DC Relaunch. DC has always handled horror comics extremely well, and this comic is no exception. The only thing is, that horror comics (even ones that have more superhero action) work much better in collected story arc form (i.e., trade paperbacks). On average, I usually save about $5.00 when I wait for the trade version, and with a title like Swamp Thing, you don’t need to worry about internet buzz spoiling the details.

Plus, I’m all about the shelf porn!

But, when it came down to it, this week was a little lax with other titles I wanted to read or review, so the $2.99 was easily spent. I guess the kid has to eat no frills Cheerios this week.

Swamp Thing #2: When it Comes A’Knockin’
Writer: Scott Snyder | Artist: Yanick Paquette

Okay, in issue #1, there are animals dying all over the world, and something is converting humans to mindless zombies who have their heads twisted so they are looking backwards (which makes no logical sense, but it looks good… so you allow the artistic license).

Superman confronts the recently restored Alec Holland (read Brightest Day, or go check out the Wikipedia page for Swamp Thing), and asks him about it. Afterwards, Alec is confronted by the Swamp Thing, who wants to talk to him about something. .

So, the stage is set…

Synopsis

  • The original Swamp Thing tells Alec about his life as a World War 2 pilot who merged with The Green, as he always knew he would, when his plane crashed during World War 2.
  • The Swamp Thing has travelled to see Alec to tell him about a threat that is to bring pestilence to The Green and potentially The Red as well.
  • After hearing about the threat, Alec asks to be left alone, and the Swamp Thing respects his wishes and fades into the green.
  • The enemy creates more of the backwards headed zombies to attack Alec Holland, who escapes with the help of a new human ally.

Questions and Answers

  1. The Swamp Thing is a knight of the Green. But at the core, Swamp Thing must be of The Red (human most likely) that merges with the Green, so it can go where The Green cannot.
  2. The current Swamp Thing was a man, Calabrath Rogers, who was a World War 2 pilot who crashed and merged with the Green.
  3. The Parliament of the Trees had been watching Alec Holland because of his potential. The explosion that killed him initially prevented him from becoming Swamp Thing. They created a copy of Alec to become Swamp Thing, because of that potential.
  4. According to the Swamp Thing, Alec Holland has the potential to become a unique Swamp Thing. Wonder if this would come with a new look as well?
  5. Apparently Alec Holland was tested for the position of Swamp Thing at some point in time.
  6. Alec Holland’s family has had some sort of connection to The Green for quite some time.
  7. (More questions and answers in the Analysis and Spoilers section.

Analysis

Calbraith Rodgers was an actual person. A pilot who was one of the first to fly from the east coast to the west coast. His plane crashed in the sea when he flew into a flock of birds. HISTORY!

Awesome visual of the British World War 2 plane (a Spitfire?) crashing to the ground while a child plays with a German (I think) bi-wing plane.

Creepy shot of the plants entering Calbaith’s orifaces.

Did Yanick Paquette have a sleepover at DH William’s house, because these pages all have that over all flow and look to them. Extremely well done.

I didn’t like how the Swamp Thing knows that his name comes from human description of him, but then he continues to use it like it’s a title that is bestowed upon any one who takes on the mantle. If it’s a human name, then he should not refer to the creature that Alec would become (or anyone else) as Swamp Thing.

Not sure if I agree with making “The Enemy that Swamp Thing was born to defend The Green against” should be the first threat that Alec Holland has to battle. Maybe it will be an ongoing threat, but if not, what do you do for a second story arc. How do you temporarily stop an anti-lifeform who spreads pestilence to destroy The Green?

Were all the writers, artists, and editors of the Relaunched DC Universe required to read HP Lovecraft? Or at least check out the visual interpretations of his work?

Analysis and Spoilers

(Skip if you want, I won’t be offended)

See, you can create an obvious tease, and the payoff will still work, if you do it correctly!

Okay, we knew she was going to show up at some point in time. The second that Alec Holland couldn’t remember her name in issue #1, you knew that Abby was going to show up in this story (or at least I did). So when I saw the woman in full motorcycle gear, hiding her face, I knew it was most likely going to be Abby (or possibly Tefe, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish). So when the reveal occurs, and a woman with white hair is standing there on the bike, it’s confirmation.

But then, she says her name is Abigail Arcane. I was really floored, and scrambling, wondering who this girl was. Swamp Thing is a character with whom I’m familiar, but I didn’t know that Abby was originally Abigail Arcane. Plus, I read it late at night, so that may have had something to do with it.

Anyway, I am left wondering whether Abby changed her name back to Abigail Arcane. Is it because she doesn’t remember being Swamp Thing’s wife? Is it because she does remember and wants to forget all about it? Is this a reset character who doesn’t have any real connection to Alec in the first place. Lots of fun questions.

Verdict

This was really good. I would even say it was better than the first issue. It is still getting caught up in setting the stage and teasing the mysteries. You have to go through the motions, but I’m looking forward to completing the basics of the story, and really get going with the plot.

9 (Wanting More)

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