COMIC REVIEW: Swamp Thing #1 – Unfortunate Son | FanboysInc

COMIC REVIEW: Swamp Thing #1 – Unfortunate Son

By Buddy Beaudoin

COMIC REVIEW: Swamp Thing #1 - Unfortunate Son

Writer: Len Wein

Artists: Kelley Jones, Michelle Madsen, Rob Leigh


DC Comics

In the early 70’s, Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson created a character that would become an iconic piece of DC History. Since inception, Swamp Thing has been worked on by a varied cast of talent including Alan Moore, Nestor Redondo, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Brian K. Vaughan, Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Andy Diggle just to name a few. Today, the Avatar of Earth returns under the pen of the series originator, Len Wein, in a six-part mini-series already full of Swamp Thing alum.

COMIC REVIEW: Swamp Thing #1 - Unfortunate Son

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Wein is joined by artists Kelley Jones and Michelle Madsen, and the resulting book looks pretty great. In many instances, the art is a little more cartoon-ish than one would have in mind when thinking of the franchise, but it’s a good fit for the story. In some scenes, the art is still downright dark, and is the embodiment of what Swamp Thing fans know and love. This is a good play by DC. Swamp Thing has always been a dark, complex, and terrifying story. By breaking away from those things slightly, they may be opening the door for new and younger readers in an industry that constantly needs new and younger readers.

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The narrative has the same effect. Since the Alan Moore days, Swamp Thing has been a story that is intricate and intelligent. As the main character, Alec Holland, is a scientist, the story has always been fairly rooted in science, or at the very least science fiction. The New 52 creative team picked up that gauntlet well, focusing mainly on the darker themes of the series’ past and delivering an art style that could make you feel downright grossed out. What is present here, under Wein, is a return to innocence in the character. We are reintroduced to Swamp Thing, as Holland has already been transformed. There’s a brief origin story in the opening pages to catch everyone up to speed, and then the story takes off full throttle. We are given characters such as The Phantom Stranger and The Zombie right away, and it makes the series feel like a pure labor of love.

COMIC REVIEW: Swamp Thing #1 - Unfortunate Son

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A notable change in the art is that Swamp Thing is more emotive than fans may recall him ever being. His eyes open wider. His mouth seems capable of portraying actual emotions. He’s not stiff and lifeless. It’s a welcomed change, and it will be interesting to see how it works in with the following five parts of the series.

COMIC REVIEW: Swamp Thing #1 - Unfortunate Son

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The issue ends in a crescendo, with Swamp Thing being torn asunder by The Zombie and left for dead in a series of wonderful looking fight scenes that are dubbed over in classic Swamp Thing narration. As a first issue, it’s a great start. It’s a welcome breath of fresh air to a series that has been historically difficult to keep up and running. Whether this series reinvigorates the currently canceled franchise or not, it sure is nice seeing Len Wein return to the marsh.

COMIC REVIEW: Swamp Thing #1 - Unfortunate Son

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The “Best There Is:” Len Wein returns to Swamp Thing after 40 years to deliver a fan service story that may open the doors to a new generation. The art direction is great, and is beautifully paired with the narrative. The cast of characters is promising, and make the read thoroughly enjoyable.

The “Not Very Nice:” While it’s great that Swamp Thing may get a younger audience or a growing readership, some of the pages feel dumbed down. There’s not much said about Alec Holland as a human being, and a lot of the science elements fundamental to the series in the past are absent.

FBI Score: 8 out of 10. Len Wein’s new Swamp Thing is a fun bit of storytelling. It’s purely entertaining and purely enjoyable. The art department does a wonderful job of switching gears on the franchise and planting some new roots for a new narrative. Swamp Thing #1 is an exciting start to the six-part series!

Buddy Beaudoin

Buddy Beaudoin is a writer and independent comic creator from Upstate, NY. He's a fan of tea, spacey music, and a nice pair of slacks. He LOVES comics. Batman, Swamp Thing, and Jonah Hex are some favorites, but he's also a pretty big fan of the indies. Should you ever need him, walk outside and yell his name loudly...

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