Swamp Thing #9 coverIn ‘Swamp Thing’ #8, the Swamp Thing had battled his way across the Earthly home of The Rot in an attempt to find Abby Arcane. But, when he finally finds the girl, it seems as if he’s arrived too late. She has been transformed into a soldier of The Rot (that horrible thing on the cover to your left) and she rips into the Swamp Thing.

In the opening pages of this issue, Abby is tearing the Swamp Thing to shreds as he struggles to get her to realize who she really is and shake off the influence of The Rot. And that’s pretty much all I can say without spoiling the awesome revelations of this issue, so…

[Beware: There are spoilers from here on out.]

Swamp Thing uses some of his plant powers to sprout spores that Abby breathes in. The spores cause Abby to have visions of their past life together (making several references to Alan Moore’s run on ‘Saga of the Swamp Thing’). After the visions force Abby to realize her true self, she is able to shake off the influence of The Rot. The Rot’s lord, Sethe, doesn’t particularly care that this has happened and attempts to kill the Swamp Thing anyway. That’s when Abby reveals that, while she has shaken The Rot’s influence, she hasn’t shaken the powers that the force has given her. She uses these powers to obliterate Sethe, before returning to Swamp Thing in one of the most touching images in comic-dom this month.

After Sethe is destroyed, Abby and Swamp Thing head home leaving Abby’s young brother William to cry over the loss of Sethe. That’s when things take a turn for the worse that, while it’s not totally unpredictable, left my jaw on the floor. Even though I’ve warned you of spoilers, I can’t spoil the last panel for you. If you’re a fan of Swamp Thing at all, you’ll want to experience this one for yourself!

Spoilers are done… feel free to continue reading in safety.

In this issue, writer Scott Snyder brings the first major arc to a good stopping point, before preparing to pick things back up for the upcoming crossover with ‘Animal Man’. However, the final reveal in this issue leads me to believe that that battle may not be exactly what we were led to expect. Snyder has deftly woven the past mythology of the Swamp Thing into a new status quo that makes the character cool again for the first time in ages.

The art is split between Yanick Paquette and Marco Rudy but, unlike Travel Foreman and Steve Pugh sharing duties on ‘Animal Man’ the difference in styles with Paquette and Rudy isn’t jarring at all. Rudy continues to use the same organic page layouts that Paquette has made a trademark on this series since its inception and their styles are so similar that, unless you knew it, you might not even notice that the artist changed a third of the way into the book.

It’s not the best jump-on point for new readers since it’s wrapping up a massive, and possibly complicated, story arc. But, for fans of the character, this is going to be the issue that everyone is going to be talking about… at least until next issue when things are sure to turn more horrible than the terror that The Rot has been able to conjure so far.

Verdict: Buy

SWAMP THING #9
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art by YANICK PAQUETTE and MARCO RUDY
Cover by YANICK PAQUETTE and NATHAN FAIRBAIRN