‘Swamp Thing’ #2 opens mere moments after the shocking finale in which Alec Holland comes face to face with his alter ego in ‘Swamp Thing’ #1. The creature reveals the truth of its nature and informs Holland that he is the only man alive who can save Earth from a coming ancient threat. The beast that rose in a tornado of dust and body parts last issue is not Anton Arcane as I had predicted but rather a force called Sethe that has battled The Green (the elemental life force that powers the Swamp Thing) for ages. Its goal is the destruction of all life on Earth. As the demonic entity collects an army of literally twisted undead, Holland begins to face up to the fact that the world may actually need a Swamp Thing. When the demon’s army finally catches up with Holland, he is aided by a very unexpected visitor.
[Warning: It gets very spoilery in the murky depths below, so skip the next paragraph if you don’t want this ruined for you.]
Writer Scott Snyder does something this issue that I would normally rail against with all my comic geek strength… he alters the mythology of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing! But Snyder takes the reader on this twist with such skill that I can’t help but applaud. Sure… Moore did a similar twist in his own stories when he revealed that the Swamp Thing was not actually Alec Holland but rather an elemental spirit that had somehow absorbed Holland’s essence as he lay dying in the swamp. Snyder takes that logic a step further and reveals that Holland was supposed to have been merged with The Green and become the Swamp Thing but that his body died before the process could be completed. That is what led to the elemental version of the Swamp Thing that existed in Moore’s classic tales. Now, with the demonic Sethe threatening the world, The Green needs a new champion and it is Holland’s destiny to merge with The Green and become the Swamp Thing again. The catch is, to do this, Holland’s physical body must die! It’s a wonderfully strange and fitting addition to the Swamp Thing mythos and I absolutely love the idea!
[END OF SPOILERS… READ ON!]
As an added bonus, Snyder manages to sneak in some references to classic Swamp Thing stories, most obviously the addition of one of Moore’s characters who was one of the previous champions of The Green, but also take note of the name of a diner that appears later on in the story.
The artwork from Yanick Paquette is simply beautiful! I have absolutely loved the first two ‘Swamp Thing’ covers. The mixture of the swamp creature with some extremely detailed borders makes for some very eye-catching artwork. Within the pages, Yanick proves himself a perfect fit for the Swamp Thing. He uses many of the twisting, plantlike panels that classic Swamp Thing artists Bissette and Totleben used in ‘Saga of the Swamp Thing’.
Only two issues in and ‘Swamp Thing’ has again reclaimed his rightful place as one of the DC Universe’s most creative and amazing heroes and made this series one of my favorites of the New 52.
Final verdict: BUY
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art and cover by YANICK PAQUETTE