This “before New 52” prequel story takes a look back at the origins of the Swamp Thing, both the previous incarnation and the recent rebirth of Alec Holland. Since the launch of the New 52, the ‘Swamp Thing’ and ‘Animal Man’ titles have been intertwined and this issue is no different. However, in an odd move by DC, this story almost completely mirrors the story of ‘Animal Man’ #0.
As the story opens, a young girl in Canada is trying to save her family from a harsh winter. To that end, she is trying to track down a man only whispered of in legends, a man who can bring the spring with a touch. She searches for the Swamp Thing.
After nearly dying in the cold, the girl comes across the Swamp Thing and asks him to help her. The creature takes her to his hut in the woods and explains to her why he cannot do this thing. Instead of being distraught at his answer, the girl only smiles and things turn very dire for the Swamp Thing.
Now we cut to the origin of the next Swamp Thing with Alec Holland developing his serum to revitalize plant life and feed starving people. The story goes through the familiar origin with Holland’s lab being destroyed and his falling into the swamp only to be reborn as the Swamp Thing. Like the previous version, this new creature is not Holland but is a plant with human memories. This isn’t the avatar that the Parliament of Trees had hoped for so they bide their time with the idea that Holland can somehow return. With the events of ‘Blackest Night/Brightest Day’ (which aren’t really detailed here), their patience is rewarded and their greatest avatar is reborn.
Like ‘Animal Man’ #0, also out this week, Scott Snyder takes us on a retelling of our hero’s origins, but switches it up to include the New 52 mythology and Anton Arcane. As such, this issue can probably be skipped with no real loss going into the coming “Rotworld” story arc. However, there are several scenes in this issue that elevate it into some very creepy horror territory and make this one a bit more recommended than its sister issue in ‘Animal Man’.
Also, the artwork here from Kano is excellent. His pencil lines are sharp and detailed and he manages to mimic the layout style set forth by Yanick Paquette early in this series. That styles makes ‘Swamp Thing’ one of the more unique books artistically and raises it above a lot of the other titles on the market.
So, while this issue is not a 100% necessary read, it is a very good read and worth a look.
SWAMP THING #0
Story by Scott Snyder
Art by Kano
Cover by Yanick Paquette