Story: Mark Russell
Art: Marco Santucci
Colors: John Kalisz
Letterer: Comicraft’s Jimmy B
What They Say:
At Sunderland’s request, the U.S. military is testing ways to annihilate the monstrous threat known as the Swamp Thing. From swamp to city they’ll hunt him, and while their target tries to keep the innocent from becoming collateral damage, the same can’t be said of his pursuers…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
One of the things about Swamp Thing that I’ve enjoyed for a lot of years was that the character did exist largely outside of the usual shared aspect of the DC world. There were times when he was brought in, and we had longer runs where he wasn’t part of the separate/Vertigo world, and the character rarely felt like he worked well when running around with capes or even the Justice League Dark side for me. But there are fun things you can do to place him within this world and with certain characters so that it does work, but from a distance. Mark Russell, I think, gets that kind of feeling here in that we’re placed within the shared – as it should be since this is from the DC Giants books designed to hook people – but it sticks to it in a careful way. And in its creativity, it allows Marco Santucci to really go all out here with some really engaging stuff that feels like he’s at storyboarding a film that I want to see.
With things ramping up against Swampy and Sunderland looking to really deal with the growing problem, the first half or so of the book focuses on how the military has been drawn in to hunt him down. It starts in the swamps with drones, helicopters, men on the ground, and other things as they pursue him over a day or two. But it also progresses from there as they realize just how capable Swamp Thing is in moving his position and disappearing into nature – enough so that he sneaks off to New Orleans in order to deal with a more complicated battleground for the military. This moves through the streets at first in a good way before it shifts focus to him taking over a park, essentially, and drawing in the military and putting him in the position of being on the offense.
It’s done with a narration throughout it and is thoroughly engaging as we see him evading and pushing back against them. But I love the twist that we get in that this is all simulation, something that the military does for as many high-level powered people as there are out there. You can imagine Swampy basically being off their radar until Sunderland made them aware of him in hopes of his using them to take down the creature causing him so many problems. But the reality is that they know the high cost of it as they’ve gamed out other encounters with well-known heroes and villains alike because they’re planners when you get down to it. It’s a good movement of the story from the first to the second with a little obfuscation at first but you kind of knew when they threw a nuclear missile at Swampy.
Though you could call this a bit of a gimmick issue with how its storyline works with its twist, it’s one that fits in really well with the whole how reality would work thing to it. Its focus on Swamp Thing for the bulk of it as he deals with evading the military and turning the tables on them is great and getting to see how Sunderland navigates the government as a big businessman is definitely amusing to watch as well. But it also speaks to the bigger picture of these kinds of creatures and beings in the world that I like seeing explored. Russell handles the narration well so it’s engaging enough when one might just tune it out and the whole thing lets Santucci just go all out with some great layouts showing a range of action scenes and ways that Swamp would deal with such events. It’s a good story with great visuals that delights this long time Swampy fan.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: DC Comics via Kindle and ComiXology
Release Date: May 17th, 2020