Review: Future State: Swamp Thing #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Ram V
Art: Mike Perkins
Colors: June Chung
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Swamp Thing and his plant children reach the human outpost in the north where Jason Woodrue is planning the destruction of the Green and Swamp Thing must choose between it and humanity.
Just like the first issue, Future State: Swamp Thing #2 continues to evoke Planet of the Apes. This means in one sense that the reader is waiting for the twist at the end. While there’s not exactly a “shovel to the face” scene with the destroyed Statue of Liberty rising up from the beach, this issue has its own finale that is just as emotional even if it’s a different kind of emotion. Ram V does effectively tease the reader along the way.
It starts with learning that Jason Woodrue, the erstwhile Floronic Man is behind the plot to use Obsidian to blot out the sun and prevent any plant growth on the Earth. He’s turned his back on the green, and why? It’s most likely because the Green rejected him as their avatar. And, it’s Swamp Thing and his “children” he intends to destroy first as they approach his hideout at the former S.T.A.R. Labs.
The running motif of Swampy describing how he created his children comes to a standout moment when he has to address the idea of “soul.” Artificial bones, flesh and systems are one thing to reproduce in plant matter, but where does the soul come from. As he ponders it and comes face to face with the reality of Woodrue’s scheme he takes action. And, it is absolutely heart wrenching when he dismantles his children. The scene is so strong, it nearly brought a tear to my eye.
Having learned what Woodrue plans and seeing the humans that still live sees the hope in them and explains that with the soul there is hope and that’s why the Avatar of the Green is always a human. And, in that moment, we have Swamp Thing sacrifice himself as he plants his feet and roots down and stretches up to grow above the darkness that Woodrue’s plan has wrought to reach the sunlight that will maintain the Green and provide a connection to the people in the world that is yet to come.
While the exploration of the soul is the emotional climax of this tale, and the destruction of his children the bitter sacrifice he has to make, we also learn that Swamp Thing himself was somehow responsible for the destruction that preceded world. Perhaps, we’ll see something of this mystery in the forthcoming ongoing series by the same creative team.
If there’s a negative to this issue, it is minor and it is simply that Swamp Thing’s children never learn that he himself was once human. This would’ve added a bit more drama to the already tense relationship between Swampy and them.
As “Future State” is a finite thing, these two issues featuring Swamp Thing do a marvelous job of telling a complete story that is both intellectually engaging and emotionally moving. It’s a true achievement that V and Perkins can explore, even is just briefly the notion of “soul” and what it means to people and how it separates humans from other organisms on the planet. Like and great work of literature it inspires the reader to think by making him or her to also FEEL. Despite the inherent sadness surrounding the incidentals, this is a beautiful story .