Young William Arcane is a boy who is so allergic to chlorophyll (the stuff that makes plants green) that contact with it could kill him in a matter of minutes. Because of that, William has lived his entire life trapped in a medical bubble. At the facility where William lived, he was the victim of cruel jokes and bullies. Being in his bubble, William had no way to fight back. Then came The Rot. The Rot offered William a chance to leave his bubble and, more importantly, take back all the things that the world had denied him.
This issue begins with William, who escaped from the medical home at the end of ‘Swamp Thing’ #3, appearing at a local greasy spoon restaurant a few miles from the home. When the waiter at the diner gets a little too curious about the blood on William’s clothes, things turn horribly awry as William exhibits a new power given to him by The Rot.
Hot on William’s trail are ex-Swamp Thing Alec Holland and Abby (William’s sister and Alec’s ex-lover) who are trying to track down William before he gets in too deep with The Rot to come back. The couple come upon the aftermath of William’s altercation at the restaurant so they know which direction he’s headed. The question is… will they be able to catch up with him before it is too late?
When Alec and Abby stop to catch a quick bit of sleep before continuing their chase, Alec dreams. In his dream, Alec visits The Green (the energy that connects all plant life on Earth). In The Green, the Parliament of Trees tries to convince Alec that he must become the Swamp Thing again to do battle against the Rot as the emissary of The Green.
When the sun rises, Alec and Abby are on their way deeper into the dusty plains and away from most of the plant life that offers protection through The Green. Their only hope is that, with the absence of plant life in the desert, that there is also a lack of dead things for William to manipulate.
‘Swamp Thing’ has always been one of my favorite DC characters and this book is a true return to form for the leafy semi-superhero. Scott Snyder knows horror and, even better, knows how to straddle that thin line between the world of the comic book superhero and that of straight up terror. Now that it’s been confirmed that ‘Swamp Thing’ with his powers from The Green is indeed tied to ‘Animal Man’ and his Red powers, these two titles are rapidly becoming my favorites among DC’s New 52 titles… even edging out the Weird Western goodness that is ‘All-Star Western’.
If you’re not reading ‘Swamp Thing’ aready, I suggest you do. It’s on pace to be a classic DC tale and one that you’ll kick yourself for when you have to read it in trade paperback in a few years. Get on at the ground floor and go grab your copy now!
SWAMP THING #4
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art by VICTOR IBANEZ
Cover by YANICK PAQUETTE