[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art: Greg Capullo & Jonathan Glapion
Colors: FCO Plascencia
Letters: Travis Lanham
Swamp Thing’s Halloween Horror Giant #1 kicks off with a brand new tale by Brian Azzarello and Greg Capullo called “Hollow.” It’s Halloween night and some masked trick or treaters appear to have left the neighborhood behind for an excursion into the woods. They are interrupted in their endeavor by a hooded lass with a cryptic speech pattern that sets everything askew. Not completely telegraphing it, but it’s clear that not everything is as innocent as it seems. The girl begins to tell a tale of real evil in the world and how she encountered it and how Swamp Thing intervened to save her, and stop an incursion of evil. It happens again, here on Halloween night, as Swamp Thing appears from under piles of fall leaves to once again beat back an invasion attempt with this young girl at his side.
There’s a savagery conveyed in Capullo’s depiction of Swamp Thing, that feels unique and suited to the end of this tale. This accentuates the horror aspects of the character nicely. While this is apparently a one-off, Azzarello and Capullo create a scenario that leaves the door open for a continuation. Most significantly, the girl, Hollow presumably, is quite mysterious and intriguing and ripe for exploration in future tales. Despite being only 12 pages long, Azzarello works in a basic synopsis for Swamp Thing’s origin that provides just enough context for the reader. Additionally, there’s a nice twist in the narrative that is well disguised until the reveal.
The rest of the 100 pages are filled out with a number of Halloween themed reprints. The Blue Devil and Enchantress, Zatanna, Scarecrow and Superman tales are culled from fairly recent DC Halloween Specials. The Aquaman team up with Etrigan the Demon is taken from the most recent incarnation of The Brave and the Bold. The last tale in the issue is Swamp Thing’s first appearance from House of Secrets #92, the classic short story that started it all by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson. The highlight of the issue is the Batman classic by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, “Night of the Reaper” from Batman #237. Though reprinted elsewhere, it’s a real treat to see these last two stories available to the average reader in an affordable format. Both are easily worth the cost of the comic.
It’s just a whole lot of fun cover to cover!
It’s hard to find a negative here, even the short lead story leaves the reader wanting more. However, it would be a shame if the ideas in this narrative go nowhere after this issue.
As Halloween specials go, this has got to be one of DC’s best. While it contains the usual Halloween themed tales, it also goes above and beyond with a couple classic reprints that should make any reader smile. The new Swamp Thing story sets the stage for a potential new status quo for the character that deserves further attention. All in all, it is a lot of spooky fun well worth the $4.99 price tag.