7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2013
When I heard Scott Snyder took over writing Swamp Thing I was very excited. I really enjoyed Snyder's Batman work and I was hoping for a series approaching the intelligence and depth of Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, which remains my favorite series of all time. I purchased the first three trade paperbacks of Snyder's Swamp Thing. So far I've read about 2/3 through the second TPB and have been enormously dissapointed. I'll probably finish the TPBs I've purchased, but I won't be continuing the series.
This book is very graphic and violent, so I suppose its not aimed at children. However, it has no emotional or intellectual depth whatsoever, and is also utterly devoid of characterization. The book is completely plot-driven (although I'm not sure the plot even makes sense.) What it amounts to is nothing but an action-comic featuring green monsters punching and slaughtering red monsters, and vice-versa. Honestly, you can finish the whole thing in an hour and forget it within two.
The plot is ridiculously repetitive and banal. Within the first ten issues Swamp Thing's girlfriend is kidnapped twice by a "rot" creature and he has to save her. Snyder is obviously trying to relate this to Alan Moore's run because he is using all of the same characters, but he does a very poor job reconciling the two. I think Moore would cringe if he saw Swamp Thing flying into battle in wooden armor with vine wings against an undead horde.
The dialogue is also completely cliche and made me roll my eyes. I can't count how many times the following exchange or something like it was had:
Good Guy: "This ends here/now!"
Bad Guy: "No, this is only the beginning!"
The artwork was adequate, but tiring. There are plenty of cool drawings of grungy flesh monsters, but they are just repeated page after page through the entire series. After a while I got sick of looking at the same art and stopped really paying attention. I think the panels are also way too full. All the dark ink and background details seriously detract from what is going on with the main characters.
I really can't recommend this book. It is definitely the worst Scott Snyder title I have ever read. There is simply no intelligence in the writing and the quality only declines after the first volume.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2012
As a big Scott Snyder fan, I started collecting this from issue #1. I've never been disappointed in this title and would recommend it to anybody looking to get started in the New 52 or just interested in the character.
There's lots of great ideas here that stem (pun!) from the Alan Moore era, so fans of that series should be pretty happy with this, too.
This does seem to be a follow up to the events of Brightest Day, but it doesn't directly mention any of that. This series picks up with Alec Holland seemingly back from the dead and ready to move on with his life. He has memories of being Swamp Thing, but as it turns out "he" never really was, but he was supposed to be. That's all you need to know to get started.
The boldest thing about this story is that Alec doesn't become Swamp Thing until nearly the end of it. For a book titled "Swamp Thing" you might expect to actually see him at some point. Fortunately for us, we don't get that right away. It's fortunate because Snyder takes the time to develop his characters and make you care about them before they take on heavy responsibility. It's a brilliant take that lesser writers would struggle to pull off.
This is a horror-like story that has some pretty gruesome moments, so not exactly for the very young comic readers. It's not quite as hard as a Vertigo title, but it's not far off either.
The artwork and layouts are inventive and beautiful, too. As much symbolism as there is in the writing, there's just as much in the artwork. It's an all-around awesome piece that shouldn't be missed.
on July 16, 2013
Of all the New 52 titles in DC's company-wide reboot, none had me more excited or anxious for the first issue than SWAMP THING. It was one of my favorite of the Vertigo titles back in the 1990s and the one that crushed me the most when it was cancelled. I tried reading volume 3 of the series, but it focused on Swamp Thing and Abby's daughter Tefe, and I just couldn't get into it. During volume 4, I wasn't reading comics and didn't know the book existed, but I was here for the beginning of volume 5, the New 52 version, and I was not disappointed one bit.
As far as I can tell, all of the previous history of Swamp Thing is intact, only, after the events of the "Brightest Day" storyline, Alec Holland has been returned from the dead, in his human form (longtime fans know the original Swamp Thing was not really a transformed Holland, but rather a sort of plant-clone version; the real Holland had been killed), but with his memories of Swamp Thing intact in a weird, dreamy sort of way.
After finishing the work on his biorestorative formula, Holland left his lab, gave up science, and is now working as a construction worker in Louisiana.
He knows weird things have been happening lately, the mass death of birds in Metropolis, bats in Gotham City, fish in the ocean--but wants nothing to do with any of it. Alec Holland is a man not just running from his past, but sprinting at top-speed with blinders and earmuffs on. So when Superman tracks him down to see if he knows anything about what's going on, Holland tells him, "[Y]ou're right, I do feel lost at the moment. But the truth is, right now, I just don't want to be found." Supers leaves him to his solitude, but the Parliament of Trees isn't quite so easily swayed, and when Holland tries to dispose of the last of his biorestorative formula, an effort to put the past truly behind him once and for all, he's stopped by a familiar sight. While not the Swamp Thing that for so long believed itself to be Alec Holland, the figure before him says it used to be an airman named Rodgers, and that he was the earth elemental and Swamp Thing before Alec Holland. He tells Holland a story of how the Parliament of Trees selected Holland to be their representative, to protect the Green, when he was born, that they've always been connected to him, and that a terrible evil is coming, the Rot, and it threatens not only the Green, but the Red, as well, and if they're both defeated, it will mean the end of life on earth, both plant and animal.
Will he become Swamp Thing once more and take his place as the Parliament's champion?
No, Holland says.
Very well, Rodgers replies. He won't both Holland again, except to give him a warning, to stay away from the woman with white hair.
Naturally, when Alec is later attacked by emissaries of the Red, it's a woman with short white hair--Abby Arcane, the woman who, in another life, was the wife of the Swamp Thing--who saves his life.
She enlists Holland's help, and Holland agrees (I believe in part because she's asking for Alec Holland's help, not Swamp Thing's), to get to the hospital where Abby's younger brother is, hopefully in time to rescue him before the Rot takes him over completely. As it happens, the Arcanes have long been guardians of the Rot, and Abby had her brother William (he's got a genetic disorder that makes chlorophyll deadly to him, so he's sealed up in a germ-free enclosure) are being sought by the Rot to be their champions, to spread their decay over all of the earth. Abby has been able to hold the call at bay, but she fears her little brother won't be so lucky.
In fact, he's not. But he doesn't seem to mind. When William gives in to the Rot, he does so with great joy and abandon, which only makes it that much easier for the death to spread.
When I stopped collecting New 52 titles altogether, this was one of the very few I considered keeping up with anyway. However, I know myself too well, and I knew if I kept up with Swamp Thing, eventually I'd have to keep up with Animal Man, and if I do that, how long before I convince myself Flash and Green Lantern and Justice League and Legion of Super-Heroes are all worthy, as well? Not long, believe me. So I had to make a clean break. But, man, it was rough giving up this title. And with a first arc like "Raise Them Bones", who could blame me?
Writer Scott Snyder has really dug deep to make this the best story he possibly could. He's hitting all the marks by keeping the history of the character intact, but finding a way to start over from scratch for new readers, too, resulting in a book that is easy to pick up for both long-time fans and the layman, as well. He weaves the story of the Swamp Thing's history into the plot so well, you don't know you're getting an info dump until much later.
I also love the homage's Snyder and artist Yanick Paquette have paid to the character's history, with the Wrightson Diner and Totleben's Motel (Bernie Wrightson and Len Wein created the character while John Totleben inked the book when Alan Moore was the writer) and Dr. Durock (Dick Durock was the name of the actor who played Swamp Thing in the movies and the TV series). Things like show a real reverence and a respect for the character that just makes me love their story even more.
Paquette's panel layout brings to mind the insane things Stephen R. Bissette did during his run with Alan Moore, but he's taking the details one step further by creating some truly horrendous monsters, stuff that wasn't even dreamed of in the 1980s.
It's books like "Raise Them Bones" that show how far comic books have come and how much more their potential is, to the point you truly lose yourself in the experience. This book is right up there with Animal Man's "The Hunt", but I think this one edges out the former by a slim margin just on the scale of the story. I know the big bad in Animal Man was also the Rot (which was probably an amazing crossover event I definitely have to read), but the history behind this story, the character development and the sense of, not just immediate doom I felt reading Animal Man, this isn't the "they're coming to get Buddy and his family" sense of foreboding, this is the entire world that's at stake, and Snyder and his team really drove that point home and made me believe it.
This isn't a super hero comic, this isn't a funny book, Swamp Thing, and "Raise Them Bones", is the kind of work that helps establish the medium as honest to God literature.
on February 3, 2013
Scott Snyder can pretty much do no wrong in the world of comic books at the moment. His work on the new Batman series is brilliant, but the first volume of Swamp Thing is probably even better. If you have not read this yet, then stop reading and go out and buy this.
As someone with only a limited knowledge of comic book heroes, I don't often stray outside the mainstream and I never thought I would like Swamp Thing. After reading Animal Man and absolutely loving it, I decided to give this a go and I am really glad I did. In addition to a top story, Swamp Thing has probably the best artwork I have seen in the New 52.
The series actually starts off a little slow. Alec Holland is working on a construction site and has no powers of note. He does however have memories of dying and briefly becoming the Swamp Thing. The first issue was uninspiring although the guest appearance from Superman did get my attention.
Keep reading as Swamp Thing quickly improves. This story is running parallel to the first volume of Animal Man and has a similar theme and art style. Once again the Rot is the enemy, and Alec must work with Abigail, a woman he remembers from his past as Swamp Thing, to help stop the Rot from doing something bad.
That hints at one of my minor critiques of the story. Whereas in Animal Man the threat was always pretty clear, here there is no mention of how the world would suffer. It tends to just focus on a battle between the Green and the Rot. No huge problem, but I did have a feeling that world affairs were ignored for nearly all of this series. For example, you never felt like anyone would notice what was going on with dead animals rising from the grave. It felt a little more detached from the real world than I would have liked.
Alec Holland is a tremendous character and you really feel the emotional pull that he is under throughout this story. I don't want to go into too many details, but suffice to say that he is a reluctant hero and his unwillingness to follow the path laid out for him may have disastrous consequences.
The artwork deserves a review of its own really. It is quite simply breathtaking and my words can't do it justice. The style may perhaps not be to everyone's taste, but if you liked what was on display in Animal Man then you will love this.
Swamp Thing stands by itself as a phenomenon story with great artwork, however the common story with Animal Man just adds to the intrigue. I can't wait to see where these stories go and I plan to read them simultaneously.
Don't be put off by the slightly nontraditional hero of this comic. Take a risk and I think you will be well rewarded.