Review: The Swamp Thing #16
[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
Trinity and Levi must try and sway the Parliament of Gears into making its own way…for the good of humanity….
For almost the entire career of the character, Swamp Thing stories have made the reader think. The conclusion of this run in The Swamp Thing #16 is no different. It goes hand in hand with the character from it’s earliest days, as the strip asks essential who is the real monster? From Alex Olsen to Alec Holland to Levi Kamei, this theme has been nearly omnipresent. It allows writers to reflect the world through the eyes of a character who appears to be a literal monster. However, the reader knows that the Swamp Thing, though monstrous in appearance is not the monster as judged by the content of his character. The real monsters are Damian Ridge, the Sunderland Corporation etc….
In the series, Ram V takes a look at not so much the man vs plant dichotomy that has been a theme of Swamp Thing series, but rather nature vs machine. And, in turn, what happens when man creates something artificial that takes over- machines and the surprisingly very human and empathetic Trinity. It should be no surprise that Trinity is depicted as an attractive naked woman. That’s what keeps us coming back to nuclear power, right? On the outside it seems like the perfect solution to energy needs and even the Atomic Bomb was the weapon the Allies needed to end World War II. Underneath, it’s not so simple. Nuclear power brings waste and numerous unintended consequences. And, that’s what this series tries to wrap up in The Swamp Thing #16.
V makes the reader thing about not only man’s relationship with nature, but the unintended consequences that occur as man attempts to improve his life through invention and innovation. Machines are not simply evil. As Trinity explains as “she” tries to look at things from her new perspective, it’s about how it all works together. Trinity doesn’t see man as evil either. She experiences the kindness of a Joe Average who pays for his kindness with his life because of unintended consequences. It’s this experience that allows her to be open to Levi’s plea for mankind. Trinity is willing to give man the chance.
So many unanswered questions! Is this the end of Levi Kamei as the Swamp Thing? Will Alec Holland return? Is Levi the Swamp Thing in the Future State issues of Swamp Thing? Is this all a holdover from 5G?
Clearly, the biggest negative is that this is the last issue Swamp Thing from this creative team. This talented group will go on to produce more comics, but will they ever come back for another run on Swampy?
With The Swamp Thing #16, this run of everyone’s favorite “muck-encrusted mockery of a man,” culminates in it’s 18th issue (counting Future State) with a deeply thought provoking finale to a deeply thought provoking series. That’s nothing new with Swamp Thing as the character seems to attract these types of stories that get the reason to examine his/her own existence on the planet and how one interacts with it. Furthermore, the art is just as beautiful and as thought provoking as the story. Perkins and Spicer are a magnificent team that truly immerse the reader in the Swamp Thing’s world. This is a series that goes right next to the best stories of the character, including Alan Moore and creators Len Wein and Berni Wrightson.