Review: Swamp Thing #4 by Scott Snyder & Marco Rudy

Swamp Thing #4

Written by: Scott Snyder
Pencilled by: Marco Rudy
Inked by: Michael Lacombe, Sean Parsons, & Marco Rudy
Colored by: David Baron
Lettering by: Travis Lanham

Published by: DC
Cover Price: $2.99

Note : This review is for the digital version of the comic available from DC Comics on Comixology

I can’t be the only one who saw the cover of this issue and thought “Are you my mommy?” right? Granted, that could be because I love Doctor Who, and always have Doctor Who on the brain, but it still was amusing to me.

Summary (contains spoilers): Just like the last issue, this comic starts with someone dealing with a plant related illness. We learn about a dinner worker who caught arthritis from coming in contact with a plant years ago. The man’s complaining about his condition is interrupted when a boy walks in wearing a gas mask and asking for a milk shake. The boy is William from the last issue, who we learned has a deadly allergy to all kinds of chlorophyll (which is why he is wearing the gas mask)and has a deep connection to the Rot. The man gets his order wrong, and William causes the Rot to devour everyone in the dinner.

A few hours later, Alec Holland arrives with William’s sister, Abigail, who also has a connection to the Rot. Alec is tied closely to the Green, who is trying to recruit him as its next Avatar. Alec is lying outside on the grass talking about his partial memories from when Swamp Thing was mimicking his body. He drifts off to sleep and dreams of the Green and the Rot. He learns of the Green and the Red’s war with the Rot over the years, and we get to see Swamp Thing versions of dinosaurs and other creatures. This is a really cool page:

The Green wants Alec to become the Avatar of their Chief, a role Alec is very hesitant to take on. The Green tells Alec that he is needed to fight a great threat from the Rot, which is looking to spread death and destruction all across the world. He assumes they mean Willian, but they quickly reveal that they are talking about Abigail. Alec has no interest in letting them decide his fate, but feels a connection to Abigail from time she spent with Swamp Thing.

Alec and Abigail both wake up, and the ground beneath her is rotted, while the ground beneath him has been taken over by the green. Symbolic much?

Alec insists on going with Abigail, who tries to warn him to stay away from places with dead things…the issue ends with them heading towards a slaughterhouse in the desert that William has turned all the creatures into his own little army. Slaughterhouse. Desert. That dead enough for you?

Review: Scott Snyder is really one of the stars of DC Relaunch. As I’ve said a few times, I had pretty much given up on Batman (the character), but Snyder’s work on Batman (the series) has gone a long way towards making me a fan again.
Swamp Thing is a character I’ve never really read much of. I vaguely remember the TV series, but never watched it much. The solicits for this series sounded interesting, so I checked out the first issue. Which I liked, though wasn’t especially blown away by. But each issue of Swamp Thing has been a huge improvement. When I read issue 3 last week, I was glad that I was a month behind so I could immediately pick up issue 4. The introduction of William, the evil bubble boy, really was a turning point for this book. Swamp Thing is now a comic I buy the week it comes out. It is worth the extra buck!

Most of this issue is just exposition helping us understand the roles of all the characters, but Snyder does it with such a deft touch that I didn’t mind at all. The first three issues left the reader feeling disoriented a lot of the time, and this issue was exactly the right way to make the reader feel like they had a better handle on how all the pieces fit together.

I really loved Yavick Paquette’s art on the first three issues, and Marco Rudy filled in perfectly here. I especially loved the cool angles he chose, like when we see William trying to order a milkshake:

This shot is a bit disconcerting, because it seems like it should be so normal. Kid looking up to order a milkshake. But the presence of that gas mask makes it something so sinister and strange that it makes the reader feel uncomfortable. This was used to great effect in the Doctor Who video I posted above as well. Like Animal Man, Swamp Thing has done a great job of keeping the reader off balance at all times. You never know what kind of horror is going to be thrown at you next, but you really can’t wait to find out.

I also loved all the views of what the Green, Red, Rot conflict has looked like in the past. Swamp Thing Dinosaurs in particular was a terrific surprise and really helped show the scale of everything that is going on.

The Dark line of books is really one of the best things to come from DC Relaunch, and Swamp Thing is definitely earning its keep. If you’re like me, and want to read something different, Swamp Thing and Animal Man really are the best place to look right now. Highly recommended.

Final Score: 9.0 Swamp Thing has gotten better with each issue. The story is the perfect companion piece for Animal Man, and I can’t wait to see how these stories end up tying together.

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