If you’ve been part of the vocal minority whining about the slow burn on the relaunch of “Swamp Thing,” take note that this is the put-up or shut-up issue of the book. What does that mean to you? Quite simply, the creative team delivers a message with this issue: shut the hell up.
Scott Snyder has been carefully crafting the world around the recently-returned Alec Holland with building materials reclaimed from previous iterations of the character including the uneasy horror from the classic, original volume of “Swamp Thing,” pieces from the critically-acclaimed Alan Moore run and aspects from everywhere in between with a whole host of new characters and concepts. The end result is a story pitting the Green and their governing body, the Parliament of the Trees against the Rot and their hideous leader, Seethe.
Stuck in the middle of the scrum are Alec Holland and Abigail Arcane, summoned by the Green and the Rot, respectively. Each undergoes a transformation in “Swamp Thing” #7 in order to champion the cause of their masters. Holland’s transformation is the central event of this issue as the Green struggles to save him from the onslaught of the Rot’s pawns. Holland chooses to embrace the destiny he has fought against since the beginning of the New 52. Snyder’s dialog between Holland and the Parliament nicely compliments (but stays away from oppressively narrating) the stunning artwork from Yanick Paquette.
Paquette’s handle on this book is uncanny. The title has enjoyed some wonderful fill-in artists, each of whom are more than worthy to carry “Swamp Thing,” but it becomes more of an immersive, borderline psychedelic experience with Paquette drawing the scenery. Paquette’s panels grow out from the story, quite often literally. The issue looks alive and seemingly begs to be watered and placed in the sun so it can continue to grow. Amazingly, Paquette manages to make some of the images even more stunning by separating them from the undergrowth of the pages. One such image — a striking close-up on the nose to forehead section of the new champion of the Green — is simply jaw dropping in the vast amounts of raw detail.
This is the issue fans of DC’s muck monster have been waiting for: the rise of the Swamp Thing. Firmly planted in the rich soil Scott Snyder has tilled for this series, the Green has their champion, but he is not entirely theirs alone. Stretching his branches, the Swamp Thing prepares to engage the greatest foe the world has ever known as he declares war upon the Rot. This war is clearly going to be fought on the terms determined by the Swamp Thing. Presuming the war itself lives up to the expectations set forth in this issue, what comes next is going to be striking. This book is a perfect mix of horror, action and magnificent big screen visual spectacles that updates a classic DC brand.