By Jeff Parker, Paul Pelletier, Alvaro Martinez, Sean Parsons, Raul Fernandez & Rain Beredo
The two part crossover of King of the Sea versus Champion of the Green begins in the pages of Aquaman #31. Arthur and Ya’Wara are on the hunt in Louisiana to get some answers from Swamp Thing concerning a plant life cloud attacking the Apo Reef. In the long standing tradition of miscommunication in superhero team ups, Arthur, Ya’Wara and Swamp Thing trade some punches in the beautifully rendered swamp lands. While in Atlantis, Mera is on a quest of her own to find the person responsible for the attempt on her life.
Jeff Parker flexes the powers of both Swamp Thing and Aquaman in a couple of fascinating ways. Parker is inventive on how both characters use their powers and the swamp to their advantage. The unique way the characters attack and counterattack make for an interesting read. There seems to be less character development spent on Aquaman this issue than previous issues. The pages that feature Arthur focus mainly on his tracking and battling Swamp Thing. Not all of Aquaman #31 takes place in the swamp, and Parker continues to develop the plot involving Mera’s assassination attempt. As Mera is guided through some of the lesser known parts of Atlantis, Parker uses this as an opportunity to expand the lore and citizenship of Atlantis which could be instrumental in the plot for future issues. This issue had a good balance between being a crossover and laying foundations for future plots of the Aquaman title.
The swamp scenes are beautifully rendered on the page by Paul Pelletier. The foliage both in the swamp and on Swamp Thing create a thick and humid atmosphere. Pelletier gives Swamp Thing a majestic, otherworldly powerful appearance. There is a wonderful page and half spread illustrating the dangers of not only the swamp but it’s inhabitants as well. Alvaro Martinez pencils the Atlantis portion of the issue. Martinez fills the panels with detailed backgrounds as Mera and company explore the ocean depths. These pages have a good fluid feel that places the reader’s imagination in the underwater city. Rain Beredo, who provides color throughout the entire issue, is very versatile. The swamp scenes are rendered in a yellow brown hue while the Atlantis pages are soaked with nice hints of blue.
This issue shows the feuding characters using their powers in unique and fun ways. Parker’s use of Swamp Thing is true to the character. The art team nails the two main settings in the book making this an eye catching read. The central point of the miscommunication is a little thin, however, to it’s credit the crossover does continue into Swamp Thing 32.