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Swamp Thing continues to impress, but may be on weak branches. After a promising first issue this second issue lays out the score and reveals some surprising things about our hero. With great artwork and a fascinatingly entertaining story, Swamp Thing has the potential of becoming one of the best series of the New 52, but still has some issues to work out in order to get there.
In this issue, Alec Holland comes face to face with the Swamp Thing, a former fighter pilot during the second world war. The monster tells him of a great evil coming to kill him and shape the world into its own creation with the help of some mind control.
The introduction of this age old Swamp Thing by writer Scott Snyder is quick and to the point with some great narration describing the “Green.” This narration has the classic Swamp Thing vibe and is a great way to start the issue. While the actual background of the pilot fails to truly create interest, since it is touched upon so briefly, the narration and the rest of this character’s dialogue make him fascinating and sympathetic. You really feel for him by the end of the issue after hearing everything he has to say, which creates a difficult hurdle that Alec must overcome for new readers. By the end, the reader forms a connection with the pilot turned by the “Green” and Alec is not an amazing presence when compared by new readers.
Older readers can really sympathize with Alec after all he has been through, but so far all newer readers have seen in this series of Alec Holland is his refusal to the call. He needs to move up to the bat soon or readers may leave. Even the ending, which has a huge impact on old readers (though it was a bit obvious), may be lost on new readers. They may understand when thinking back to the previous events, but they will not understand how preposterous it is and why it makes older readers like me extremely anxious for the next issue.
Another set of problem that hamper the story are pacing issues. The first issue felt long, but worth it. This issue feels rushed, with the ending coming too soon and the old Swamp Thing leaving too quickly. The potential of this character and the ending would have been better if it had been stretched out more, possibly going into another issue.
While the horrific moments are still great, they never reach the same level of creepy as the first issue. The artwork also fails to match the predecessor, but it is still done well, which is saying a lot for how creepy the first issue managed to get. I found the explanation of the new evil force to be fascinating, but the violence that has more creepy moments than bloody ones is where a lot of the enjoyment for this issue comes from.
The only thing greater than the story is the artwork from Yanick Paquette. Throughout the issue, the nature vibe of Swamp Thing is expressed creatively. The layout of the panels on the pages are wonderful, with panels looking like they are strewn together by the roots of a tree. My only complaint is, ironically, how Swamp Thing looks. He has weird sticks marring his image that seem to come and go throughout the panels and detract from the character’s presence.
The artistic flare of this issue is at times better than the first and the creepy moments are truly creepy, but the pacing is not as solid as in the first and new readers will have a hard time enjoying Alec or the ending. All that being said, the story is still quickly shaping up to be an interesting one, and will hopefully become the epic tale Swamp Thing deserves.