Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Marco Rudy
Colourist: Val Staples
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Previously, in Swamp Thing: In the world’s moment of direst need, Alec Holland chose to shed his human body and become the Swamp Thing once again. Aiding his lover, Abigail Arcane, against the forces of the Rot, he was severely weakened, though victorious. He and Abby retreated to Abby’s old home in the midst of the swamps in order to recuperate from their battle with the Rot.
The Rot wasn’t finished, however. Reviving Anton Arcane, Abby’s twisted uncle, they launched another attack on our heroes. Arcane demolished Alec’s defenceless body, and now has Abby dead to rights, trapped in her house surrounded by his monstrous Un-Men.
Anton Arcane is a creepy S.O.B, that’s for certain. This issue isn’t narrated from his perspective like the previous one, but we do get a glimpse into his twisted mind as he does battle with Abby and eventually Alec, who is saved in a way that should have been obvious, but passed me by when I was contemplating how he’d escape. Arcane’s motivation seems to be purely to make life a living hell for everyone and everything around him, and with the Rot at his back, it looks like he will manage to do just that.
With Arcane leading the charge, Abby and Alec get put on the back-burner until the latter half of the issue in which they mount retaliation against the slimy zombie. Snyder continues to remind us that this Swamp Thing isn’t like the ones that came before – from his speech pattern to his mannerisms, this is the Swamp Thing of the New 52, and as such is great fun to see in action since we can’t be sure exactly what he’ll do next. From his Sonic the Hedgehog battle tactics to his trash talking, and his new weakness that wasn’t present before, watching this new iteration of Swamp Thing is fun, and brutal.
Then there’s Abby. She spends most of the issue as the damsel in distress, despite putting up a good fight against Arcane early on. She is every bit the female lead that the book is missing, and stands up next to Swamp Thing nicely as a secondary protagonist. The final few pages of the issue really show that you do not mess with Abby, and with good reason, as she takes the fight to Arcane without even looking at her Rot-related powers for help.
Stepping into the art shoes again this issue is Marco Rudy, who brings his A-Game once again by showcasing the disgusting side of Anton Arcane very nicely. Whereas Francesco Francavilla gave the impression that Arcane was rotting, Rudy really gets across the fact that he is rotten. The multiple mouths that he has and the sleazy grin he gets as his victory nears are enough to make you gag, helped along by Val Staples’ gruesome colour choices. The ferocity of the battle scenes is also well realized with some clever uses of speed lines, and the final page is rendered in a way that will evoke both the power and vulnerability of the family that appear on it.
Swamp Thing’s battle against the Rot is only just beginning, and everything that has gone before is the calm before the storm. With the stage now set for the crossover between Animal Man and Swamp Thing, I cannot wait to see what’s going to happen next in both of these titles. As I’m sure my fellow comic contributor Ryley-stbatman is saying in his reviews for Animal Man, these two titles deserve to be read together, and definitely deserve to be read!
GO Rating: 4/5