Story: Mark Russell
Art: Marco Santucci
Colors: John Kalisz
Letterer: Comicraft’s Jimmy B
What They Say:
The Sunderland Corporation has a new plan to trap and exploit Swamp Thing. With enemies surrounding him, who can Swamp Thing trust?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Yes, I’m still frustrated over the cancellation of the Swamp Thing TV series. The character is one that I’ve enjoyed since I first started reading the Rick Veitch run after Alan Moore and have liked a lot of the various incarnations over the years. So getting something that’s a little disconnected from bigger stories and can do small tales as part of the DC Giants magazine that’s now being released in parts digitally definitely appealed to me. Mark Russell has been wowing me for a good bit now on a few other books so I was pleased to see him here. And Marco Santucci has been an absolute favorite of mine since his Injustice days where he turned in some gorgeous artwork. Getting his style with Swampy? Best of all worlds is what this book is.
While superhero comics often keep things largely revolving around morality plays and the themes thereof, some are better able to do it with introspection that may be heavyhanded but warranted. Swamp Thing definitely falls easily into that because of the nature of the character and the world he inhabits. Seeing him working his way across various seed facilities in Louisiana owned by Sunderland corporation and destroying them feels basic. But he’s discovered that the seeds are ones that have a short life and cause farmers to have to order more of them. The problem is that it kills what it cross-pollinates with and doesn’t leave good, fertile ground for anything else. It’s wholly destructive in the longterm and will make things harder if not impossible for humanity should it grab a real foothold. So, Swamp Thing travels and destroys as he can, though he avoids killing any of the guards and the like. They’re not the root of the problem but they are the branches of it.
The story gives us a good chance to see how Swamp Thing struggles with all of this, talking with some of those people that live in the swamp, like Fatima. We also see how Sunderland’s corporate side is trying to deal with him in looking for ways to kill him. One, however, things their best bet is to neutralize him and capture him, take some cuttings of sorts, and making self-replicating food from him through an assembly line from there. There is something to be said in a base kind of way about it because it’s at least something that feels like a fresh approach. I like the way that Russell puts it together in coming at a low point for Swampy and his being unaware of what’s really going on and how betrayal goes unnoticed but is still given its proper due by the end in this standalone tale.
There’s always an edge of tragedy to events in the world of Swamp Thing and this is no exception. I continue to really miss the days when standalone comics were a thing – and first issues told a single story from which everything else would leap from – so I continue to be excited about getting digital editions of these stories that were otherwise near-impossible for me to get a hold of. Russell and Santnucci put together a perfect classic tale of Swamp Thing and I really don’t think there’s much else to be said. It’s a great introduction to the basics of the character without being a retread of the origin story or anything. Definitely an easy recommendation to follow.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: DC Comics via Kindle and ComiXology
Release Date: April 26th, 2020