“SWAMP THING, VOL. 2: FAMILY TREE” (Comic Review)
SWAMP THING has had as many series as the average person has fingers. Currently on its fifth run, the newest addition to the growing mythos has a found a different DC home outside of the Vertigo imprint, this time under the current DC universe, “The New 52.” Thanks to the relaunch, the hulking figure is back in the spotlight, this time with a densely rich world for him to kick ass and take names in.
Filled with monsters, evil-doers, and some just plain bizarre looking creatures, Swamp Thing has his hands full defending The Green (the name for the all encompassing entity of nature). Though the work is currently on issue #17, DC Comics has recently released the second graphic novel FAMILY TREE, collecting issues #0, #8-11, and Swamp Thing Annual #1. With a gut-punching story and art to match, this collection is a no-brain addition to any fan of the esoteric and the arcane.
FAMILY TREE follows in the footsteps of issue #7, continuing Swamp Thing’s fight against a creature known only as The Rot. The previous issues had established Swamp Thing’s beginnings as Alec Holland, the second Swamp Thing, and his return from the dead during the DC universe-encompassing story arc, BRIGHTEST DAY. As he adjusts to his new life, Alec gets word that the dark entity, The Rot, has found its way to Earth and is determined to destroy all life on the planet. The second volume picks up with Alec confronting the dark creature, who is now surrounded by the twisted forms of hundreds of possessed humans. As they exchange blows, Alec’s long time lover, Abigail Arcane, finds herself caught in the middle and used as the medium for The Rot to harness his powers. As the comic progresses, we are treated not only to this strange world, but Abigail’s odd tie with The Green as well.
Of all that’s relaunched under The New 52, SWAMP THING has been one of the most anticipated and well-received of the lot. Not only have readers been excited to see their favorite horror creature back from comic grave, but now that he is part of the regular DC universe, there will be a lot more crossovers from other popular characters in his pages. In fact, he has already been visited by Superman, long-time friend John Constantine, and most recently, Animal Man, who is quickly becoming a staple in Swamp Thing’s comics as well starring in his own.
Wrtier Scott Snyder (BATMAN, AMERICAN VAMPIRE) is the latest to take over for the likes of Alan Moore, Len Wein, and Brian K. Vaughan. Though the role is a demanding one, he has managed to weave the creature a beautiful tale of love, horror, and death that would make his predecessors tear up in pride. Several artists keeps up the pace wonderfully from Marco Rudy and Yanick Parquette splitting duties on issue eight, to Becky Cloonan’s softer styled take on a town filled with rotten flowers. This new incantation of an old favorite is proving to be a successful one with the solid teams at the helm proving once again, why no one messes with the swamps.