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Swamp Thing: New Roots #9 Review

4 min read
Tom Mandrake is the big star here along with Hi-Fi as far as I’m concerned

The ties that bind us are deeper than we know.

Creative Staff:
Story: Andrew Constant, Phil Hester
Art: Tom Mandrake
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Comicraft’s Jimmy B / Dave Sharpe

What They Say:
Story 1 – Swamp Thing refuses to let an unjust death go unpunished. Story 2 – When Swamp Things tries to protect a young family besieged by monsters from the bayou, he uncovers secrets he never imagined. He should know better than anyone that monsters aren’t always what they seem…

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This installment sticks to the two stories format that works well with Swamp Thing as its very nature is something that can be done like this easily with mysteries and folklore. Phil Hester and Tom Mandrake worked on both stories in the previous issue and they work together again here for the second. What’s nice is that while Andrew Constant does the first story he also has Tom Mandrake handling the artwork so there’s a really nice bit of consistency across it. Mandrake’s a great artist that’s been around for what feels like my entire time as a comics reader so getting him doing some tales like this just makes for a lot of enjoyment as his style – combined with Hi-Fi’s coloring – makes for a proper Swamp Thing story.

The opening tale is definitely a strong one as we get to see a friendship in the swamp between Swamp Thing and an elderly woman that has gone on for years. She came there a long time ago, escaping a bad marriage, and made for a small little home on the swamp and lived happily with Swampy being a friend that visited her. Her life ended due to a lie by her former husband that caused his son born to someone else come to hunt her. And now Swamp Thing is hunting him to repay her kindness and to let her deal with him as she wants. It’s done with a strong narrative style that Mandrake really brings to life wonderfully, giving it the kind of feel that if it was one old newsprint would be right out of the 70s in beautiful fashion.

The second tale works well visually but I’m left more uncertain by the story from Hester. When a bunch of strange creatures attack a family near the edge of the swamp, he leaps in to fight back but eventually succumbs to them, only to be thrown into a well where he’s given immense power to fight a higher being and separate open the dimension. The narration talks through one who has been around since age immemorial and was waiting for a creature like Swamp Thing to be able to use the gift it left to fight against this threat. It makes sense in a big picture kind of thing but it felt like it missed a key part of resonance to engage with, that made it so you really did feel like you knew what was going on. I ended up enjoying the visuals more than anything else as a kind of all-action installment that we don’t see often for Swamp Thing.

In Summary:
While a bit of a mixed bag on the story side, the opening piece is a really strong one that more than makes up for the second. Which isn’t bad but rather just focused on a grand idea and full of action, which is part of the Swamp Thing mythos but one that’s hard to do in just a few pages. Tom Mandrake is the big star here along with Hi-Fi as far as I’m concerned as this is once again a great looking book with both of its tales that delivers a solid classic Swamp Thing in all the right ways. I’m thoroughly enjoying these little tales that remind me why the character and the swamp itself is as appealing as it is.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 12+
Released By: DC Comics via Kindle and ComiXology
Release Date: June 14th, 2020
MSRP: $0.99

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