Story: Mark Russell
Art: Marco Santucci
Colors: John Kalisz
Letterer: Comicraft’s Jimmy B
What They Say:
Swamp Thing foiled Sunderland’s plan to create sentient, self-harvesting crops, but now Sunderland is aiming even higher. It could mean the end of the world as we know it…and the beginning of a brand-new one.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The beauty of these stories coming from the DC Giants have been two-fold. They’re standalone pieces that make for simple one-off reading and/or they’re working just enough continuity over a few installments without working on greater shared continuity that basically lets them be interesting what-if kind of stories, writ a little smaller. Mark Russell has worked with the familiar concept of Swamp Thing over these issues but he’s also built it toward a strong ending that I’d love to see really done as a high-end Black Label book that really digs into it, Vertigo-style. Marco Santucci delivers some great material here and I’d love to see him have a lot more pages to work with in order to explore the designs of these plant cities and how it would all work. He’s been great on this run and ends on a high note.
With Swamp Thing providing the final message to the world previously, he’s made it clear that he will be left alone but he will also be providing a place for those willing to live with nature rather than constantly attacking it. Seeing the utopian-ish plant cities he creates and the way things change over the course of a year is engaging even if it’s just too perfect. But we do get small hurdles along the way as well, which he does work with Flora on resolving. The two make a solid pair and watching a newly shared evolution for mankind in this form is definitely interesting. It’s not life as it was before but every new day is life not as it was before as things are always changing. It’s engaging to watch and I’d love to see the real work that went into it, even in novel form. It’s a fun concept and Russell and Santucci pull it off.
Surprising nobody, Sunderland doesn’t take all of this sitting down and ends up encouraged by the cult that tried to win over Swamp Thing to run for president. Once they lost any potential hold on their “god,” they went for someone else they could manipulate. And it didn’t take long once he was made the president to track down Swampy’s location and launch the nuclear weapons on him. It’s an amusing arc to follow because there are obvious parallels and manipulations going on here but you also have in Sunderland someone who is just enjoying the office of the presidency and has almost kind of forgotten about Swamp Thing. But when missiles fly and the commander-in-chief is put to a secure bunker with the cult for twenty years in order to let the radiation ease, watching that return to the surface is the chef’s kiss perfection you want.
While a kind of standard story in a way, it’s the story that I think needs a good bit of expansion and reworking that would make for a great Black Label OGN property if it could be bumped to the next level and really go for old-school Vertigo style dialogue and artwork with the team we have here. It’s got great bones and is a really enjoyable story that gives me what I want to see in comics, actual changes and results from actions made that lead to different settings and nature of the world. Swamp Thing has always been a great character under many writers and artists and the team here handled their time with him very well. It’s a satisfying ride even if I yammer on about wanting to see them expand it in a more adult-oriented way. I’m envious of those who read something like this for the first time, a fresh experience, and their minds get a little bit blown by it like I was when I first started reading comics as a kid. That’s the promise of stories like these.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: DC Comics via Kindle and ComiXology
Release Date: May 24th, 2020