Review: The Swamp Thing #8
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Ram V
Art: Mike Perkins
Colors: Mike Spicer
Letters: Aditya Bikikar
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Levi Kamei must face the Parasite and the Peacemaker to reveal a truth to each of them. He learns his own truth through the memory of the Green.
Levi finally learns something concrete about his origins in The Swamp Thing #8. It’s nice that it’s a very different origin from any of the previous avatars of the Green that we’ve seen before. There’s no fiery tragedy resulting in a dip in swamp, but rather something entirely different. An anointing. Something that borders on a religious ritual than anything else. It really fits the nature of the role of Avatar of the Green. Since Alan Moore rewrote the rules for Swamp Thing beginning in Saga of the Swamp Thing #20, he introduced a spiritual element to the character. Though there is tragedy in Levi’s origin, it’s really a different kind of story. It’s an excellent change up for the Swamp Thing concept, while still maintaining the things we associate with the character.
There’s no way one can’t be impressed by the artwork by Mike Perkins and the colors by Mike Spicer. It’s just beautiful stuff. Perkins has a sensual quality to his work. You can almost feel the tortured soul in Peacemaker and you definitely can perceive the sensitivity in Asa. Even Rudy Jones, the Parasite gets his moment which is communicated visually as well as in Ram V’s script. Spicer’s colors set an overall tone for the issue, almost pulling you in and making you feel at home even if it’s anything but. The pinks purples in the sky are especially relaxing and comforting. It lulls you into the safety of the Green.
Perkins has a unique way of depicting the fight between the Parasite and the Swamp Thing. Instead of a long drawn out over multiple pages, he places the two in combat over a background of a double page spread of them in closeups in comic book panels, all in a single panel. It’s an inventive bit of storytelling that doesn’t turn the issue into an extended fight, but at the same time communicates to the reader that it was not a one-and-done altercation.
With only two issues left, it feels as if the pacing may be off and we’re going to be rushed to the finish line in issue #10. Like last issue, the Pale Wanderer is still missed. And while the revelation about Levi’s brother is an interesting and exciting development, it seems there can’t be enough time left for both of these plot elements to get satisfying resolutions in only two more issues. I’ve been clamoring for this to be an ongoing, so that would be great if one of them flow directly into an issue #11 or even a new #1 (I prefer an issue #11 or even better a legacy numbered issue).
Still, if that were to happen the whole interlude over the past couple issues with the Suicide Squad comes across as a pointless diversion. Yes, we got to see Levi do some interesting things, but the series would’ve benefitted from more time developing either Levi’s brother or the Pale Wanderer further.
The Swamp Thing #8 brings us closer to the conclusion of this limited series. We get some revelations that push the story further about Levi’s origins and his brother, Jacob. The religious allusions work extremely well in making Levi a different kind of Swamp Thing. Perkins and Spicer continue to deliver one of the most beautiful books out there. Still hoping this turns into an ongoing, it’s definitely deserving of an ongoing.