Yanick Paquette’s Swamp Thing looks badass. Despite a life dedicated to writing, that is the only description I have been able to muster for the art in this book. And it’s quite possibly the most fitting if I may excuse my own lackluster writing abilities for a moment.
Part of the fun of Snyder and Paquette’s Swamp Thing, thus far, has been to see just how much more badass this character can get in their hands. From Alec Holland’s reluctance to accept his role as the avatar of the Green to the revelation that the Swamp Thing sure can fly and shape shift, the constant evolution of the character has provided a constant source of entertainment among the dread and drudgery of the rising rotting enemy. And part of the success of the recent “Rotworld” arc has come from weakening this ever-evolving badass.
Much like Animal Man, Swamp Thing’s “Rotworld” story divides itself into the future and past, putting Holland’s lover, Abigail Arcane, in the past and Holland in the future. Abigail functions similarly to how Maxine functions in the Animal Man story arc. She is someone for whom the hero can strive to save, and someone Snyder can use to show us how the world turned into the Rotworld.
It’s the classic hero story, and Snyder and Paquette handle it as well as anyone can. We have a protagonist out of his element, an antagonist who has the hero’s love interest captive, and a setting that is constantly working against our hero. Really, we have a Super Mario game, and what’s more riveting than that?
The art here is fantastic. We have the luscious green panels before Holland embarks to take on Anton Arcane. Those early pages teem with life, just pouring out of the panels and out of Swamp Thing himself, and all that life vanishes as Holland pushes further into the Rot. Those greens and yellows become browns and blacks. The panels become looser and their borders seem to be disintegrating. And of course, we have a badass-looking Swamp Thing (who looks sort of like a cross between a Wookie and an Ent from Lord of the Rings … which is the nerdiest analogy I’ve made in the past hour).
What else does a good comic book need?
~ The Black Ness Monster ~