Saturday, September 24, 2011

DCnU - Swamp Thing #1 from DC's New 52

Swamp Thing written by Scott Snyder and with art by Yanick Paquette.

Okay, so I have never been a fan of Swamp Thing. I've never disliked the character, but he has never been one that I have bought a lot of comics of. I have some friends who have absolutely loved his previous incarnations, though.

In fact, you'll see as a trend through these reviews that I didn't typically follow too many of the more mystical comics. Hopefully, this relaunch helps me get over some of the reasons for that.

Swamp Thing is a good start in the right direction.

Swamp Thing #1 was a solid book. It introduces you to a pretty complicated character in the form of Swamp Thing, by introducing you to the man who was bonded with the plant elemental, Alec Holland.

Most of this comic is exposition. Typically, I am not a fan of comics that are mostly exposition. Scott Snyder's writing is good enough that you barely notice. He manages to give you insight into Alec Holland, make you wonder about what is going to come next for him, and solidly ground this series in the DC Universe by having Superman show up.

We see Alec Holland's connection to plant life - to The Green as it was frequently referred before the relaunch - that predates his time as Swamp Thing. Snyder either has done his research or has some botany in his background, whether as a hobbyist, or what have you.

All of this, plus introducing a weird undead-thing that kills by sending flies into your ear which then snap your neck around 180 degrees. Yeah, you read that right.

Paquette's art is really good in this issue as well. It clearly conveys the story (a theme which I have hit on the importance of a few times in these reviews) while still being able to portray the "weirdness" of some parts of this comic.
Like a director of a movie who wants to make you feel a little uncomfortable, Paquette varies up how he uses the medium to communicate ideas clearly. When there are people interacting, you get a nice, squarely broken up page. As soon as the forces of nature, or of the undead killer fly thing, get involved things change. The borders between panel go from square to something less... rigid. I particularly love the page where he makes the transition partway through, moving from paleontologists having a conversation to the undead thing coming, and the panels change accordingly. It's an effective technique, and a great touch.

Overall, I recommend this book pretty highly. If you are looking for standard super-hero fare, this won't be your cup of tea, but the story promises to be interesting, well-written and well-drawn. I'm definitely along for the ride on this one.

Oh, and the Lady in Red? She shows up behind the truck while Holland is talking to his co-worker.

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