Things come to a head in Scott Snyder, Yanick Paquette, and Marco Rudy’s “Swamp Thing” #9, as Alec continues to embrace his role as Swamp Thing and battles Abby, recently overcome by the rot, as much to save her as to save the world. Snyder’s “Swamp Thing” has been incredibly enjoyable, even for someone pretty unfamiliar with “Swamp Thing” (as I am) and how this story is beginning to cross over with “Animal Man,” one of the other great books from DC right now, is quite well done.
Snyder has done an excellent job of building the relationship of Alec and Abby and playing both on the hints of what came before and that connection the two feel, but also in building something new. In this issue we have Swamp Thing up against seemingly impossible odds as Abby has been turned (in a bit of a surprise) to “The Queen of The Rot.” I feared as we headed into this showdown that Snyder was going to rely on the time honored “we built the stakes up but now I am just going to show the good guy winning through the power of words,” but I should have remembered that Snyder is too smart a writer for that, so we end up with a nice plot twist that still feels authentic to what we have seen thus far in the book. It’s a good move and saves the book from becoming cliche or mediocre, turning it instead toward rewarding and surprising.
Marco Rudy is a good choice to share art duties with Yanick Paquette, as Rudy either shares the same style as Paquette, or does a good job of mimicking it, but it’s still disorienting for such a major point in the book to have shared art duties. It feels like a time when one artist should be in control and as a result the book suffers a bit visually for it, even though it’s still a good-looking book on the whole. Paquette’s visuals have been a great fit for this book with his almost organic and flexible layouts and aggressively bold illustration work. Unfortunately, Rudy does not fare as well with the organic layouts and the story becomes a bit more confusing. Even with these flaws though, it’s still one of the better-drawn books I’m reading. It helps that both Nathan Fairbairn and Val Staples are exceptional colorists who bring just the right amount of lightness and darkness to this horror book, which could easily trend too dark, but doesn’t.
Thanks to the talent on both “Swamp Thing” and “Animal Man” I find myself not only enjoying these books immensely, but also actually looking forward to their crossover — which is no small feat!