Swamp Thing # 5. Len Wein- Writer, Kelley Jones- Illustrator, Michelle Madsen- Colorist.
Is it 1972? I’ll get back to that.
Just when it seemed like the series was about to be a bit clichéd and underwhelming with Matt Cable becoming the Swamp Thing, this issue has proven to be another surprise and extremely satisfying journey into the world of the Swamp Thing. I can’t imagine how it’s going to wrap up next issue….
With Alec trapped underground at the end of last issue, it certainly seemed dire. However, as Matt Cable was going crazy up above, the Parliament of Trees pushed Alec back to the surface with the mandate to fix what he screwed up. As he emerges, he is greeted by the Phantom Stranger. Holland is at a bit of a loss as to where to turn, but the Stranger takes him to Nanda Parbat. At this point, it becomes clear that whatever was expected is now unexpected. In this series, Wein has reintroduced us to not only Swamp Thing and Zatanna, but the Phantom Stranger and now…Deadman. It bears noting that the artwork of Kelly Jones makes these characters feel very familiar. It’s not only the mood and tone of the writing but Jones’ artwork which sells the book. With so much of the New 52, many characters didn’t feel familiar. Jones is able to make these characters feel familiar while at the same time allowing for Wein’s scrip to include enough elements that firmly encompass the characters full history.
The Sheriff of Houma, LA, is trying to do what she can to stop Cable from destroying her town. His plan is to threaten the worlds’ leaders into submission. The Sherrif realizes that the only response is going to be a nuclear attack- apparently the JLA and Titans are off world. (Convenient. I’m going to try and not be distracted from that last bit. Which Titans? Feels like the Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans. Can’t imagine he current version of the Titans being off world or even heavy enough hitters to deal with this threat.)
Back in Nanda Parbat Alec realizes that there’s someone else that he needs to help him- the Michael Fleisher/Jim Aparo Spectre. Gotta be 1972. The horror pervades….
Great job by Wein in making this a timeless Swamp Thing story. It would’ve been easy to make this series a simple continuation of what was seen in the New 52. Even more so, he’s managed to incorporate Swampy’s complete history even if subtilely. But the inclusion of the Fleisher/Aparo Spectre is a huge win. And you can tell by the punishment inflicted and the way in which the Spectre materialises out of Corrigan. Classic.
This book is particularly enjoyable as a nostalgia trip. I wonder if readers unfamiliar with the Swamp Thing’s history may not have the same reaction. But there’s just an excitement that comes to the fore when the Spectre appears that can’t be beat.
Wein and Jones continue to tell a surprising, horrific and entertaining story. Swamp Thing and DC Supernatural fans from any era will appreciate this book.