‘Swamp Thing’ #4 ended with ex-Swamp Thing Alec Holland and Abby Arcane headed into drylands of Texas in search of Abby’s younger brother William. William is a sickly boy who has a severe allergy to chlorophyll. William recently became attached to an elemental force of death known as The Rot. The Rot has given William the power to manipulate dead tissue. The boy has been travelling across the state under the influence of The Rot while taking out a lot of pent up frustration of his own. If Alec and Abby can’t catch up to William in time, The Rot may become too powerful to stop and will plunge the world into a rotted and decayed doom.
This issue opens with an aside that shows that The Rot hasn’t placed all of its chips on young William Arcane. A researcher, possessed by The Rot, travels to Brazilian rain forest where he puts more nefarious plans into action. Back in Texas, Alec and Abby take a pit stop to stock up on supplies. Before they even have a chance to continue on their way, William attacks. The boy has found a slaughterhouse and has turned all of the dead animals into a rampaging army of death! Now Alec and Abby are in a struggle for their lives and Alec reaches out to The Green for help.
Scott Snyder is likely my favorite writer of DC’s New 52. Snyder’s work on ‘Batman’ is wonderful, but it’s in ‘Swamp Thing’, where Snyder gets back into his own personal element of horror that he really shines. His adaptation of Alec Holland as a man who is coming to grips with a horrible past that he doesn’t want to go back to, yet must, is heartbreaking. And the relationship between him and Abby (who was in love with the Swamp Thing in the past) makes for some great dramatic moments and struggles.
The art, from Yanick Paquette, continues to amaze. The lines are thick and crunchy, yet still have that ethereal feel that is so essential to Swamp Thing. And Paquette’s page layouts and design are simply beautiful. Even when there is a page of simple dialogue, the pages just ooze the organic nature of The Green in the way that the panel borders crack and vine their way back and forth across the page.
‘Swamp Thing’ is one of the best titles in all of the New 52 and this first story arc is one that fans will be talking about after many of the others in the superhero titles have come and gone.
SWAMP THING #5
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art by YANICK PAQUETTE
Cover by YANICK PAQUETTE and NATHAN FAIRBAIRN