Thursday, November 3, 2011

Swamp Thing #2

Cover by Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn

Swamp Thing #2 (October 5, 2011)
Writer: Scott Snyder
Penciller: Yanick Paquette
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer: John J. Hill

Thus far, in my admittedly limited exploration of the New 52, my favorite find has definitely been Swamp Thing. I was not expecting it but the latest issue has thoroughly impressed me and made me a genuine fan. I plan on picking up on some of the older Alan Moore Swamp Things soon but right now, I’m really happy with Snyder’s rendition of this character.

For one thing, this issue is very mythic. And if there is one thing I love, it’s myths (mostly Greek and Norse but I’m not one to discriminate). I adore how Snyder managed to bring these very vast, mythic ideas into this comic and make Swamp Thing so much more than simply a dude who turned into a swampy, toxic monster thing. That’s what he used to be right? Toxic? Comic books have taught me to assume that all once-human-now-monster creatures are created because of a toxic spill or radiation.

Snyder is borrowing heavily from ancient understandings of the natural world to portray as dynamic, dangerous and very much alive. The entire premise of Swamp Thing #2 reminded me of Vladimir Propp’s Morphology of the Folktale (which, if you’re a type A, tightly regimented English student like I am, is one of the greatest things ever). There’s the dispatcher, the magical helper, the hero, and, based on the cliffhanger ending, possibly a donor/false hero. I’m not sure yet.

This folktale atmosphere of the issue was also emphasized by how wordy it was. Though the conclusion had another grim, suspenseful action sequence, the first half of the issue was comprised entirely of backstory and exposition to Alec Holland, which I totally loved. I have to admit, when I first opened this comic, the sheer amount of dialogue was somewhat daunting and unexpected. For someone who can read a 1,000-page novel in a little over a week, I am surprisingly thrown by wordy comic books. I don’t know why. It’s an embarrassing weakness.

Once I got started with Swamp Thing #2, however, I instantly fell in love with the eerie, frankly scary atmosphere and universe Snyder had created. I’m so interested in seeing where this comic goes and if Alec Holland agrees to assist the Green.

The art by Paquette is particularly beautiful and helps establish the mythic, ethereal feel of Snyder’s story. Fairbairn’s coloring is also lush and really exquisite. Out of the New 52 I’ve read so far, the art of Swamp Thing is definitely my favorite and simply the most beautiful.


  1. Wordy comics are a common pet peeve among readers, as they should be. Due to the juxtaposition of image and text, events in a comic are presented with a temporal relevance, most recognizably in "white space." When a particular panel has too much dialogue it muddles the flow because the time it would take to speak seems to conflict with the swift pace of the action. Dialogue boxes are a good way to cheat this problem.

    I got that feeling from this comic too, but I have a feeling they just needed to get a lot of exposition out of the way.

  2. @Sergio J. A. Ragno III What an articulate response. My reaction was simply "TOO MANY WORDS ARRGGGGHHH" ala the Hulk. ...I've never read a Hulk comic, I just realized. Weird.

  3. @Kerry

    Thanks, but my partial artistic knowledge doesn’t hold a candle to the way you can deconstruct these stories. Also, I have it on good authority that another perfectly awesome dude has also never read any Hulk, despite his alleged incredibleness.