Swamp Thing #6. Len Wein- Writer, Kelley Jones- Illustrator, Michelle Madsen- Colorist.
While traditional super-heroes have appeared in his title over the years, make no mistake that Swamp Thing is a book rooted in the horror genre. It is no surprise, but rather a treat that this issue features appearances by The Spectre, The Phantom Stranger and Zatanna- all known for their supernatural associations. It should also be noted that while the status quo for Alec Holland returns by the end of the issue, it is welcomed and it is the journey to that point that is most important.
The “New 52” launched a Swamp Thing title that was one of the best offerings in DC’s re-launch. After the departure of Scott Snyder, Charles Soule kept up the quality. As this mini-series ends, it should be noted that Len Wein has done a marvelous job of marrying the original feel of the character from the ‘70’s with the continuity of the “New 52.” How Swamp Thing will be handled in the Rebirth era lies in the hands of the creators of The Hellblazer, as Swamp Thing is shown to be assisting John Constantine in the pages of DC Universe: Rebirth.
Kelley Jones’ work is always a treat on this character. Clearly influenced by Swamp Thing’s co-creator Berni Wrightson, Jones helps create the proper mood for the finale. Wein takes Alec Holland through an emotional journey and a spiritual arc in which Holland comes to grips perhaps finally with his fate. Zatanna, Spectre and Phantom Stranger all get their moments and are a reminder of the supernatural side of the DC Universe which is not too far from the horror anthology titles of DC’s past- House of Mystery and House of Secrets.
The inclusion of Etta Candy and Steve Trevor at A.R.G.U.S. is a nice reminder that the events transpiring in Houma, LA are not unnoticed by the rest of the DC Universe.
Wein was also able to provide a surprise in the revelation of the ultimate villain. Perhaps, we should’ve seen it coming. Finally, the last panel with the appearance of a notable character was extremely welcomed!
The final resolution was expected, but any other end to this tale would’ve been a game changer to the point of being heretical. It would be like Clark Kent no longer being Superman! This is a Swamp Thing series that delivered everything it should have given the parameters.
You can’t miss this issue if you’ve been following the previous 5. This series has been a wonderful take on Swamp Thing. It has combined the look and tone of the original series from the ‘70’s while maintaining the continuity of the “New 52.” The series ultimately shows Alec Holland coming to terms with his life as Swamp Thing and that he sees it as a responsibility as well as a burden he must carry, if for no other reason than it allows him to help others. Ultimately, this series serves as a nice introduction to the character for new readers while revisiting themes for the initiated. It stands as a reminder that the supernatural and horror genres are under represented at DC currently.