Swamp Thing: Scott Snyder, Kano, Matthew Wilson, Travis Lanham, Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn
Kano drew this issue?! He does a great job for having just one eye! Wakka wakka.
No but seriously this is a gorgeous issue. I love Kano’s style, and it really fits the mood of the book, and the artists that have come before. Or…if this is issue #0, then that means IT was first, and then the other artists came AFTER…and thus, their styles are based on HIS…and….
When the issue started, I thought it was a rip-off. I thought I was going to sit through yet another past story of some past Swamp Thing, just like the Animal Man Annual. I almost threw this book across the room in disgust (okay, not really). To be fair, the Animal Man Annual is mentioned in an editor note, and it IS the same Swamp Thing from Manitoba, Canada, we met before. Thankfully, that bit ended quick, and we move on to present day. Well, six years ago present day.
Anton Arcane (that bastard’s just showing up everywhere!) has been hunting and brutally killing the prior avatars of the Red and Green…and now has his sights set on Alec Holland, slated to become the greatest Swamp Thing to ever live. The Warrior King of the Green.
Wait, can I just say that this was probably the most disturbing issue of Swamp Thing yet? Snyder’s really pulling out the stops to make this as terrifying as possible. Anton looks incredibly scary. In fact, after this issue, I am truly horrified by the character. I mean…he might be the scariest villain I’ve ever seen in comics.
The page layouts of his are really cool, with loose stitching showing meat underneath, mimicking the stitches on his body. Kano also remembered the cut across Anton’s eye, which I loved in Swamp Thing #10. Then there’s his insatiable desire to rip and kill things. To cause pain. That, plus his immense strength and Rot abilities, make him more than formidable. More like unstoppable. Then there’s that image of him as a brain-hand…with the baby…and dear god I have to look away.
The only thing that took me a moment to figure out was the whole thing where Anton caused the fire in the bio-restorative formula (which is Swamp Thing canon, even preboot) and made it so the Parliament of Trees couldn’t access Alec anymore, making it so they couldn’t have their Swamp Thing. But then they could…. And he’s resurrected.
I guess I was thinking too linear at that point, because I didn’t put it together that Alec’s resurrection is happening years later, right at the end of “Brightest Day.” So if this part was confusing to you, don’t worry. It lost me for a moment too. But there you go! Alec’s origin is all wrapped up nice and pretty! And Snyder was able to work his new recreation of Anton Arcane into it! Nice job.
Swamp Thing #0, the verdict: So aside from being one of the creepiest things I’ve ever read, it’s a good story that encompasses a number of different elements and times. We’re treated to GREAT art that really sings out in this ish, and compliments the styles of Paquette and Rudy. I like this version of the origin story, though the one downfall is it doesn’t show us how Alec still remembers facets of his time as Swamp Thing before, before his “Brightest Day” rebirth. Perhaps that’s still to come.
(Photo Source: IGN)