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Swamp Thing #1 – Review

The unfortunate thing about Swamp Thing #1 is that it has automatically been compared to the wonderful Swamp Thing run written by Alan Moore. This is a shame since, while in comparison to the original series this issue may fail to match the story, characters or even artwork of the original, this issue has elements from the original that are fun and incorporated well and is a good, enjoyable entry in the Swamp Thing saga. Mass numbers of animals have been dying out all over the world:   Every bird in Superman's home of metropolis, every bird in Gotham (or at least Batman's batcave) and every fish under Aquaman's watch in the sea. Alec Holland, now separated from the Green that turned him into the creature known as Swamp Thing, is haunted by the memories of his past life and has taken a leave from his career as a botanist to start a new and normal life as a construction worker...  until Superman drops by, and then another familiar face that will change Holland's life. DC Comics The New 52! - Swamp Thing #1 (2011) written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Yanick PaqueteAt first, Alec's change from botanist to construction worker is jarring and confusing if you have not been reading the Swamp Thing stories recently, but writer Scott Snyder (American Vampire) manages to stop all the confusion – if at a bit of a too slowly placed dialogue and inner monologue driven story. This odd change manages to make sense, though this doesn't seem like it's going to matter much longer judging from the ending. An ending that, while extremely confusing, makes me anxious to read the next issue where I know it will make sense, judging what Snyder has already managed to untangle in this issue alone. While Snyder gives us the "new" Swamp Thing, he gives enough mentions to the pre re-launch Swamp Thing that are very enjoyable for the Swamp Thing fan, but are going to be lost on newcomers. Not that this issue isn't a good start for newcomers. You don't need to know anything in other issues to understand the basic story here, but it is definitely a series the more hard core or even casual readers of Swamp Thing are going to enjoy much more. Snyder also does a good job at what I remember the original for and is a necessity for Swamp Thing – incorporating science and nature into the comic without making us bored. Alec is full of his botanist know-how that shows how much of an intellectual character he is. Is all the biological babble necessary? No – and it can make the story feel like it's being dragged out slightly - but it is mostly enjoyable babble that keeps the tone of the original alive. The eerie tone is also thrown in and is the best part of this issue. Swamp Thing #1 (2011) panel with a monster's bones and a scientistThe eerie part involving a fly and some scientists (which you need to see in order to understand how creepy a scene it is) is written solidly, but the art is what makes it really stand out. Up until this point, all of Yanick Paquette's art for the characters felt average, with his background scenery usually being much prettier and luscious to look at. But when the creepy crawlers came out, Paquette's artwork made the scene eerie because he did not resort to making it into a bloodbath. There is no blood, but the panels are covered in a nice, almost shining red coat reminiscent of the fluid which increased the intensity of the scene which would not have had the same impact without it. This issue is a good start for the Swamp Thing series that will be criticized heavily when compared to the original Swamp Thing, which was a much more enjoyable series. But this series does introduce some new elements and when resorting to more original material and elements the series is known for, incorporates everything together well. The environmental talk is interesting, if only sometimes necessary, and the creepy moments are great. The pacing is slow and Holland is slightly undermined by the appearance of Superman who is surprisingly more pre-launch Superman than the Superman of the new Action Comics #1. Still, fans will enjoy it if they keep their expectations from getting as high as the Moore run. Superman fans will also be happy to see their pre-launch hero. The only people left slightly out in the cold are newcomers. This series can be understood, but is not the usual comic series. There is almost no action expect for one creepy scene, and all emotions you have for Alec need to come from previous issues to make his character's development now have more meaning for you. Despite the flaws, it is a solid issue that definitely raises my expectations for the second.


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About / Bio
An all-around nerdette, I’m a comic book connoisseur, horror aficionado, video game addict, anime enthusiast and an aspiring novelist/comic book writer. I am the head of the comic book department and the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Fuse. I also write and edit articles for Comic Frontline. I am also an intern at Action Lab Entertainment, a comic book publisher at which I edit comic book scripts, help work on images in solicitations and help with other comic book related project. My own personal website is comicmaven.com.

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