By Len Wein, Kelley Jones and Michelle Madsen
Swamp Thing was one of the more surprising books that came out of the new 52 re-launch. It was a well written story by Scott Snyder that tied closely to Animal Man and was an exciting book. It was somewhat of a shock when it was canceled by DC as it had its legion of fans and that didn’t sit well with them. Here we are again. We have a new Swamp Thing title, even if it is only a mini-series, and his co-creator Len Wein is writing it. If ever there was someone who could satisfy fans with a new story, surely it’s Len Wein.
What works for this book is that Wein is taking Swamp Thing back to some of his horror roots and, let’s face it, a tale where he fights a zombie is very cool. Wein allows Swamp Thing to showcase some powers that are rarely used or simply forgotten by other writers like how he has Swampy appear out of a plant when he visits Shade. Wein also uses an unconventional way to deal with the zombie; it’s not something you see in movies or shows and does not result in shooting him in the brain. There is a very real horror element to this book and it should please longtime fans and new ones alike.
The pencils and inks this issue are handled by Kelley Jones with colors by Michelle Madsen. Everything about this art screams classic comic book style. Kelley Jones has an exaggerated way of drawing characters and it works sometimes while other times it can be a bit much. Sometimes a regular character like Darcy Fox looks incredibly disproportionate; she has a huge body but a small head for instance. This can be distracting, but it’s not earth shattering. For the most part, the monsters look great. Jones gets really detailed in his close-up’s with Swamp Thing, his sunken eye balls are also colored and inked well in these panels. Jones has several creepy panels in this issue, but the creepiest may be when Lazlo Wormwood’s parents resurrect him from the dead. The panel has Lazlo facing the reader as his zombified corpse rises. His eyes are dead and staring right at the reader. The colors by Michelle Madsen also help sell this. She uses some shades of orange to show the candles illuminating the corpse, and the inks help set an even darker panel. There were some snags with over exaggeration in a few panels, but overall the art gives the story a classic feel that helps.
Swamp Thing is back and has been great so far. If there is anyone who knows how to get the character back to his horror roots, it’s Len Wein. The art is creepy and effective, but does have some spots where things are too big. Overall, this is a book that should satisfy anyone who reads it.