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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Since I can remember, I've read some of Alan Moore's run on the character Swamp Thing, but not enough to really know the inner workings of Alec Holland/Swamp Thing. So for the New DC 52, Swamp Thing was on my list of titles I wanted to try out and further expand upon. But I mostly gave it a shot because Scott Snyder's name was on it, what with him being the hot writer that he is lately. Added to the list, was Yanick Paquette doing art duties. So I decided to start fresh with this new take on an old horror legend with little expectations. And behold: this is one of the best comics out of the New 52.

SWAMP THING VOL 1: RAISE THEM BONES collects issues #1-7 and begins with a dark omen happened. Superman goes around the world to question botanist Alec Holland, back from the dead (thanks to Brightest Day Aftermath The Search For Swamp Thing #3 Ardian Syaf Cover). Superman questions Alec on the omen, but Alec only wants to live life and be left alone, but he keeps having memories of his time as Swamp Thing and nothing else. Alec then gets visited by the previous Swamp Thing and informs Alec of the dark omen: The Rot is coming. An evil, decaying element of death that will find its human host and make hell on the world. "The Green", which the earth element Swamp Thing represents, wants Alec to be the new Swamp Thing and fight against The Rot. But Alec doesn't want to be Swamp Thing. But the charms of a woman (I won't spoil who it is), who knows Alec wants to help him fight off The Rot, might just change his mind.

This is the setup of Scott Snyder's run and as much I as put that without spoiling anything more, there's a whole lot more to see and believe. Snyder cleverly adjusts and points out the entire Swamp Thing mythos and clarifies it for old readers and new readers. So all of Alec's past continuity is still here for old fans, and its new readers can pick this up and enjoy without having read any prior back story.

The book feels like Apocalyptic/zombie film, where the good guys are trying to find the source of evil, evading rotting deformed people and animals (even though it's much more then that). It's graphic, so be prepared for that. There's a great sense of pacing and tension that goes along beautifully, but it's the ever increasing tension and build up to Alec's possible destiny that makes the road enthralling to read. The portrayal of Holland as an every man is handled delightfully, since Alec wants to live and be a good person, but The Green, The Rot, and this "woman" are trying to convince others wise (what with the planet on the line and all!). The antagonist is creepy and feels like a Children of the Corn-vibe about him. Not to mention knowing the mystique of the back story surrounding the ancient history of the wars between the Green, The Rot, and The Red. And the relationship Alec has with the "woman" holds something that will change Alec forever. Snyder writes all of these plot details and elements with ease and you'll want more, especially a cliffhanger of an ending having you in awe.

Although Snyder's script is written wonderfully, Yanick Paquette's gorgeous art makes Alec's quest a joy to watch unfold. Just look at the cover and picture just about every page drawn just like that. Everything from the splash pages to the border panels making outlines in forms of trees, leaves, and ripped flesh are a sight to be hold. Yanick's eye for detail and storyboards is so detailed, if you look at certain panels, when The Rot takes shape and form, the outlines become ripped bloody flesh. And when The Green take over the panels, there's a lovely psychedelic blend of greens that take over. Little details like these go a long way. And the other backup artist, Marco Rudy, who doesn't quite live up to Yanick's art, but it holds up just fine aesthetically and for the narrative.

SWAMP THING VOL 1: RAISE THEM BONES is truly one of the best comics among the New 52, up there with Snyder's own Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls (The New 52) and Swamp Things sister comic, Animal Man Vol. 1: The Hunt (The New 52). It's just a great book for new and old readers of Swamp Thing. Although both Animal Man and Swamp Thing aren't necessarily needed to read one or the other, they'll both start converging together in Animal Man Vol. 2: Animal Vs. Man (The New 52) (The New 52: Animal Man) and Swamp Thing Vol. 2: Family Tree (The New 52) (The New 52: Swamp Thing) as preludes to the big crossover event, ROTWORLD. So besides both books being phenomenal on their own, they'll both be needed for the big lead up when The Green and The Red team up to fight back The Rot. Stay green, folks.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2012
Scott Snyder's reboot of Swamp Thing is amazing. It is a great horror comic written by a great horror comic book writer (check out Severed & his Batman books for proof). I am a fan of the Alan Moore Swamp Thing, so Snyder had some big shoes to fill, and he did a hell of a job. And I can't forget the spectacular artwork by Yanick Paquette. This book is one of the best of DC's New 52. In fact, it is possibly the best of the New 52, with other front runners including Scott Snyder's other New 52 book; Batman: Court of the Owls. For people who don't already know, Scott Snyder is one of the best writers of comic books today, and this book is nothing short of amazing. I only have one complaint...Why no Hardcover? Even without a hardcover edition, I still rate this book a 5 out of 5....Highly Recommended!!
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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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I am a hard-core DC fan who was furious at the announcement of the New 52. I mean, Green Lantern had just redefined everything across the board. Quite a few of my favourite characters were changed in one detail or another. I'm still trying to read everything and figure out if I like all the changes.

But Swamp Thing did NOT let me down!

Still real (really really) creepy and a little hard to wrap your head around at times, the essence of being a peripheral character gave the story a perfect audience vehicle. Anyone who isn't a regular reader can pick this up and from word go, they get to see the state of things. And for the fans, we get to see our favourite warrior of the Green take centre stage as the one hero (reluctant as ever) who can save the whole of the world.

Swamp Thing has always been a hard character to write because he is so very different from the bulk of mainstream comic characters. But Scott Snyder has made the character even more accessible than Alan Moore, who redefined and recharged the presentation of this staple character back in the 80's. The final panel in the story shows the fans that though it is the Swamp Thing we know and love, there are going to be a lot of changes that make sense and that we should enjoy.

Any fan of comics, not just DC, should pick this TPB up. It is an amazing intro to the most unique super hero ever.

And now I feel the need to go and watch Swamp Thing's movie.

Read the book. I'd bet we're both in line for the release of the next chapter.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 27, 2014
I am a big Swamp Thing fan going back to 1984 when Alan Moore took over the series. I was so enthralled with the character that I went back and read the original 1972 series by Len Wein and the legendary artist Bernie Wrightson. Wein has nowhere near the skills of Moore but the series was fun and creative and had a style all its own. Of all the New 52 titles Scott Snyder’s Swamp Thing seems to be the most consistently highly rated but I just have never loved Snyder’s work as much as the reviews do. IGN gave issues one, two and five scores of 9.5 and issue seven a perfect 10; so is it really one of the great series of our age as the scores seem to imply?

I remain confused as to what the New 52 is. Is it a complete reboot? Is it a rearrangement thanks to the events of Flashpoint? Do all the comics exist in the same universe? Issue 1 opens with Alec Holland as a human but with memories of being Swamp Thing as if these events occurred in a parallel universe. Abigail Arcane is now a bad ass biker chick with short hair and a shotgun yet she somehow realizes that she also existed as the classic long haired Abby. Say what you will about empowering women and whatnot I really don’t like the new Abigail. The old Abby may have been a damsel in distress but at least she felt real and what normal human wouldn’t be somewhat helpless in the world of Swamp Thing.

When Alan Moore left the series I quickly gave up on it but I had already become a little bored of the esoteric writing particularly the Parliament of Trees, a plot device which was carried on by future writers. Snyder really focusses on my least favorite parts of the Swamp Thing universe such as the tension of the Green and the Red. He also doesn’t pace himself and starts right off with an existential threat, an enemy “the Swamp Thing was born to defend the Green Against” My other problem with Snyder is his continual cribbing of ideas from others. He has flies invading people’s bodies and South American zombie’s with their heads twisted backwards which are both pulled directly from Alan Moore stories. Even Abby’s brother William Arcane feels eerily similar to Matt Cable when Cable acquired the ability to alter reality. The issues I have with Snyder’s writing are not just limited to Swamp Thing but include everything I’ve read by him including Batgirl, Batman and even American Vampire. Alan Moore’s writing was groundbreaking and took the character in amazing new directions. The first seven issues here feel like Snyder is a kid in high school looking over Alan Moore’s shoulder.

Yanick Paquette is a serviceable artist but he just doesn’t compare to the otherworldly creepiness and attention to detail of John Totleben and Stephen Bissette nor the brilliant gothic visuals of Bernie Wrightson. Paquette shows flashes of brilliance but overall the art just isn’t that memorable. To me a score of 9.5 or 10 tells me a comic is legendary and neither the writing nor the art scream legendary to me. In many ways I have to blame the reviewers for my reaction. Snyder consistently gets such spectacular reviews that I continue I be disappointed. I have never read anything by Snyder that I consider BAD but the reviews are so off the charts that I can’t help but scratch my head in bewilderment. I used to see this with Grant Morrison where everything he touched was declared gold but as time went on the luster seem to lose its shine and the reviews started dipping. I would also say that Morrison earned some credibility due to some marvelous writing whereas I’ve never read anything by Snyder that compares to Morrison when Morrison is at his best. The first seven issues average 9.2 on IGN and the next 7 average 8.6 so there is a dip. Comic Book Resources, likewise, seemed slobbery with praise. If the reviews were more in the 7.5 and 8.0 range I would be more appropriately set up although then I probably wouldn’t have bought this collection.
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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.
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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.
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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.

9/10
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on October 10, 2012
Swamp Thing is overall a really good read for horror comic enthusiasts and fans of Swamp Thing. As far as giving a starting point for the series it does that and more, but this isn't really a typical starting point.Swamp Thing isn't an origin as everything before is cannon with the Alan Moore and classic Len Wein series. And so is Brightest Day. The goods news is that you don't need to read those because everything gets explained and even if you've never heard of Swamp Thing you can jump in without fear of ripping your hair out and shouting, "Who are these people?"

The character interaction is nice though at first there barely is any interaction between anyone that lasts, but we do get interesting characters like a new inheritor of the Arcane legacy (die-hard Swamp Thing fans will know what I'm talking about) and the relationship between Abigail and Allec Holland (the protagonist and formerly deceased). Note, though the title is Swamp Thing this is instead focusing on Allec Holland accepting his role and all of this will be explained very clearly so you wont get lost. You may even want to dive back into the old volumes.

Another good thing is that this is definately much a dark comic and it's also not good for kids or those with weak stomachs to read this as the very first comic ends with people snapping their own necks. Graphically. This is not only a terrifying comic but a gory one. Since this is Halloween though, this is the perfect comic for a horror read. The atmosphere is palpable without the need of cliché settings or dialogue. Everything is terrifying and disturbing so horror fans jump on this comic right now before it's too far gone.

The only fault I can give this comic is that everything seems to have an easy solution or really doesn't feel like it lasts long as it should but then again this is still build up to an even bigger event. Definately still worth your dollar, I'd easily recommend you picking up Swamp Thing, just as long as you can handle gore and disturbing imagery.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 15, 2012
Of all the "New 52" titles announced, "Swamp Thing" was the one I was looking forward to the most so having finished the first book I'm glad it's as good as I'd hoped. Despite a somewhat convoluted explanation of how Alec Holland was and wasn't Swamp Thing, things get moving pretty quickly as a deathly primeval force called "The Rot" threatens all plant-life on Earth. "The Green" and the Parliament of Trees reach out to Alec to become their champion, Swamp Thing, and help defeat the enemy. But Alec is finished with all things botanical... until Abby Arcane appears and suddenly the two are on the run from Abby's evil half-brother William and the Black King Sethe.

Scott Snyder does a great job of setting up the series with a fantastic first book introducing the main characters well and explaining the strange but wonderful world of Swamp Thing to a new audience. The whole "Green" and "Rot" worlds are kind of abstract but interesting nonetheless and it seems like Swamp Thing has a formidable villain to battle against - always a big plus. I also like how we see little of Swamp Thing until the very end where the story builds to a thunderous climax as Alec Holland once more becomes the Monster. Reaching the end made me want to read the next book immediately.

Scott Snyder's on a roll with 2 outstanding Batman books ("Black Mirror" and "Court of Owls") under his belt and now Swamp Thing - he's shaping up to becoming one of the best comics writers of today. The artwork is gorgeous as well with the panels connected with green roots, seeming to grow across the page organically. The excellent Yanick Paquette supplies most of the artwork and his strong artistic vision really drives the book, elevating Snyder's story to a new level. His Swamp Thing depiction is also fantastic, particularly the final few pages.

Even if you've not read Swamp Thing before, this book is worth picking up to discover one of the DC Universe's most interesting and underrated characters given a new lease of life by one of the finest comics writers around at the moment. For those who remember Alan Moore's legendary run on the character, I think Snyder will match Moore's storylines if not surpass them if this solid first book is any indication. "Swamp Thing: Raise Them Bones" is one of the highlights of the "New 52" line-up and definitely worth reading.
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