Review: The Swamp Thing #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Ram V
Art: Mike Perkins
Colors: Mike Spicer
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Levi learns a bit more about his transformation as he gains Jennifer’s trust and the connections to the Swamp Thing’s legacy are revealed!
Sometimes an interesting plot can carry a story. Sometimes the conflict, but never can a story be truly great if there is not strong character development. The Swamp Thing #2 continues what was begun in issue #1 as Ram V, Mike Perkins, Mike Spicer and Aditya Bidikar create another incredible issue that maintains this strong focus on character. Furthermore, it’s the character that drives the story. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a mystery to be solved: How did Levi become the new avatar of the Green? Yet, it’s all executed from the perspective of character first. And, second. And, third. It even extends to the the way the legacy of the Swamp Thing is brought into the story.
V slowly allows Levi to tell Jennifer his story. Since he doesn’t seem to completely understand what’s happened to him this allows the mystery to unfold slowly and give Levi space to talk about his feelings and what his experiences feel like. V is putting the reader right in Levi’s head as he comes to grips with what is happening as well as beg these questions of the reader: What does existence feel like? What’s it like to be born? What’s it like to have knowledge of one’s birth? What is the point of life itself? What is one’s role in the world? Finally, using the Banyan tree is a clever way of connecting Levi’s culture to the way he will approach his role. Loved that!
V contrasts Levi with the Pale Wanderer brilliantly. Obviously, his experiences are vastly different from Levi’s and this contrast plays into the above questions. The description of the Wanderer comes right from the Swamp Thing’s roots in the horror genre. By the end of The Swamp Thing #2, V allows the reader to get a glimpse of how Levi’s story will connect to Alec Holland’s legacy as the the avatar of the Green when we see a couple of files on a desk with the words, “Sunderland Corporation” and “Holland Phenomenon.” What’s the story here? And, what exactly happened to Levi in the Indian jungle?
The Mikes on art are truly stunning. Perkins is just doing beautiful work in this book and it’s a wonder to behold (but when doesn’t he?). There isn’t a panel that isn’t lush and evocative. Spicer’s choices of colors range from beautiful to moody, and in both cases there isn’t a misstep. My favorite has to be the purples in the dark scenes whether in a bar or office. The purple pops and puts the reader in the situation perfectly. It’s hard to overstate how perfectly Perkins and Spicer work together for a unified and gorgeous visual experience.
The only negative is that this series looks to be limited to 10 issues! READERS! Let’s see if we can’t get DC to rethink this and make it an ongoing.
Make no doubt about it, The Swamp Thing #2 is proof that this is one of DC’s best books in the “Infinite Frontier” era. The creative team is doing it the old fashioned way, they aren’t trying to re-invent or destroy the wheel- they are letting character drive the story, pepper in a couple solid mysteries and wrap it up in magnificent art and colors. You won’t be disappointed!