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Mother Nature's Warrior King,
This review is from: Swamp Thing Vol. 1: Raise Them Bones (The New 52) (Paperback)
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.