COMIC REVIEW: Swamp Thing #3 – Trading Places | FanboysInc

COMIC REVIEW: Swamp Thing #3 – Trading Places

By Buddy Beaudoin

COMIC REVIEW: Swamp Thing #3 - Trading Places

Writer: Len Wein

Artists: Kelley Jones, Michelle Madsen, Rob Leigh


DC Comics

Now that Swamp Thing has taken out The Zombie, Lazlo Worwood, Len Wein and the team make short work of bringing as many Swamp Thing relics as they can to the six-part series. For a third issue, this thing is packed with fan loving content – not the least of which is art so reminiscent of the original series it will make your head spin.

COMIC REVIEW: Swamp Thing #3 - Trading Places

Swamp Thing #3 – Page 6

At the end of issue two, Matt Cable was teased as the promised focus character for issue three. Since Matt was there at the start of Alec’s dive into the Green, the way that Wein writes him into this miniseries is perfectly fitting. Since Matt left Alec’s side, in almost every form of Swamp Thing retelling, he’s been obsessed with learning as much as he can about curing the condition that he feels responsible for – after swearing to protect the Hollands and failing, leading to the events that birthed Alec as the Avatar of Earth. The same is true of Matt in this most current Swamp Thing saga. After getting bored at the FBI, he quits to travel the world in search of something that can cure Alec. His quest, leads him to the only place it really could – Nanda Parbat. It’s there that he finds the hand of Fatima – a mystical object held deep in Nanda Parbat’s inner sanctums.

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While this is all fine and good, neither Matt nor Alec know how to use the hand to cure Alec of his condition. All we’re told is that Matt can wish on it and it will somehow make Alec human again. So, they bring the hand to Zatanna, of course. While all of the art in this issue, and the series, is so good, the Zatanna pages really bring the original feel of the Swamp Thing into the modern era. It’s all so dreadfully macabre in the way that really only Swamp Thing is. The color work takes the cake, adding in all that dredge and filth to the book. After warning Alec that there would be grave consequences, Zatanna whispers a spell of the Old Gods. One by one, the hand’s fingers fold until it has made a fist. At the end of all of the shouting and morphing, Alec Holland is again human. The catch, however, and the consequences Zatanna warned him about, is that Matt Cable now finds himself as the Earth’s Avatar – a fate he seems to have known would befall him.

COMIC REVIEW: Swamp Thing #3 - Trading Places

Swamp Thing #3 – Page 10

While the story that’s here is enjoyable and wonderfully reminiscent of the Len Wein Swamp Thing of old, there’s some stuff that it seems that they missed. While this may be a small plot hole, when Matt is reunited with Alec, he tells him that he has to wish on the hand in order for the spell to work. But, when Zatanna whispers the spell, Matt is in no way involved. Maybe that wish is more implied, but it would have been nice to see Matt have more of an active role in making the spell work. There’s also a scene in the beginning of the book which seems to not be needed. Sheriff Fox and her deputy are in the police department with the corpse of The Zombie, and they have a brief conversation about how sometimes people use Voodoo in Louisiana. While the artwork is really nice and some of the most iconic in terms of bringing Swamp Thing back to its roots, there’s not much of a need for this scene. It could be that Wein is setting up foreshadowing to be resolved closer to the end of the series, but in this issue, it just seems misplaced.

COMIC REVIEW: Swamp Thing #3 - Trading Places

Swamp Thing #3 – Page 13

Lastly, in the first two issues, we have seen the Mysterious Stranger. His cryptic scenes in those issues made inspired the feeling that something was building on the outside of all of these story lines, but he’s absent in this issue. With only three more issues left in the short series, it’s unfortunate to not have that element included here.

COMIC REVIEW: Swamp Thing #3 - Trading Places

Swamp Thing #3 – Page 19

The “Best There Is:” Len Wein and crew have worked really hard to make this series feel at home in Swamp Thing’s lineage, and it shows. Every turn of a page is an opportunity to feel nostalgic about Alec Holland’s beginnings. While the first two issues were great, this is the best of the series so far in terms of fan service and bringing the story back to its origins.

The “Not Very Nice: There are some detracting pieces of the story that were either missed, or not followed up on that leave this issue feeling incomplete. While it’s unclear if they’re to service the endgame of the six issue series, the absence of that pursuance is felt, even if only in minor doses.

FBI Score: 8 out of 10, The Swamp Thing series with Len Wein back at the helm brings back all of those iconic images and gross feelings that make Swamp Thing fans rejoice. While Alec’s story is always full of monsters and macabre, it’s always been one of the most human tales in the DC Universe, and it’s nice to have Wein back in that action.


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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