Review: The Swamp Thing #5
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Ram V
Art: John McCrea
Colors: Mike Spicer
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Levi Kamei is joined by John Constantine to investigate a situation to which the Green has drawn him- an unexploded World War II bomb under London.
One would expect to miss Mike Perkins more. However, John McCrea does a wonderful job of storytelling in The Swamp Thing #5 even if he’s stylistically very different from Perkins. There’s just as much emotion and atmosphere in this issue as one would expect from Perkins. It’s sometimes difficult to maintain the tone of a series when an artist changes. One would expect a planned 10-issue series to be completed by a single artist or artist team. For whatever reason, Perkins is not here this issue, but McCrea fills in this issue leaving no reservations. Mike Spicer, who’s been doing an amazing job on the colors for the series keeps a consistent look with his color choices. The art has been perfect for this series and this issue is no different.
There’s been discussion about whether Swamp Thing brings out the best in writers or Swamp Thing gets assigned the best writers. Either way, there’s no denying that Ram V is quickly entering hallowed territory with The Swamp Thing. So often, it’s character that is the most important aspect of storytelling. In The Swamp Thing #5, V seemingly abandons the direction this series has been headed as we’ve explored the Green with Levi and tried to gain some understanding of his journey with him. Or, has he? As Levi meets John Constantine for the first time, it’s Levi’s first step into the magical realm that has been part of the Swamp Thing comics since Constantine was first introduced back in Saga of the Swamp Thing #37. It’s really just Levi getting his introduction to this aspect of this new life as Avatar of the Green.
What really sets The Swamp Thing #5 and in turn the whole series, is V’s ability to create a story that has resonance on another level. Through the character of the Swamp Thing we learn to understand what it is to be human, but it is John Constantine that utters the words this issue that have that impact, “…refugees in the Red.” And, then the narration that brings the Green, magic and human memory together interweaving to suggest a new fabric.
The whole idea of the magic lines of the city intertwining with the human memories of the past is simply brilliant and evocative. It takes some of the basic ideas of the responsibilities of being the Avatar of the Green and pushes them to a new and exciting place.
Keep looking, there are none here….
Since the end of Future State, DC seems to be publishing generally high quality books all around. It’s been since Rebirth that it’s been this way. The Swamp Thing is not only one of the best, it may very well be the best! It’s easy to see with an issue like The Swamp Thing #5. There’s just no drop off issue to issue as the series has a deep thoughtfulness that resonates well beyond a comic book story. It’s a hallmark of the character and these creators are doing a spectacular job of following in some big footsteps.