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Swamp Thing vol 1: Raise Them Bones s/c

Swamp Thing vol 1: Raise Them Bones s/c back

Scott Snyder & Yanick Paquette, Marco Rudy


Page 45 Review by Stephen

The natural balance is all out of kilter. Weather systems run riot. Pigeons by day and bats by night fall lifeless from the skies; in the ocean the fish are dying. Out in the dessert where plant life is scarce, something is stirring and making a home for itself. Something that feeds on death and disease and decay. Slowly, The Rot is spreading…

Six weeks ago Alec Holland woke up in a swamp. A botanist whose life's work was a bio-restorative formula capable growing vegetation in the most infertile regions of a planet, he died in an explosion many years ago, and in his stead the Swamp Thing roamed the glades. It had memories of being human, but it wasn’t. A champion of The Green, that Swamp Thing was a pure earth elemental.

Now the roles are reversed, for Alec Holland has memories of being that muck monster he never was, and intense, romantic feelings for a woman with white hair he’s never met. Begged by The Green to resume his prior calling, he flatly refuses until The Rot comes calling in all its hideous, unstoppable horror, preying on the decay and disease in us all. The only reason he escapes with his life is a woman on a motorbike with a shotgun. A woman with white hair: Abigail Arcane.

Oh, this is good. It’s grim and a bit wordy but good. Alan Moore and then Rick Veitch are tough acts to follow and no one has succeeded until now. Nancy A. Collins’ stab wasn’t bad. But where this succeeds against all expectations is in starting from scratch whilst simultaneously building on what went before. There’s a very good reason The Green now needs someone partially human – and it’s all to do with the desert. Similarly Abby and half-brother William’s involvement is far from random given uncle Anton Arcane’s prior role in The Rot. Does it tie in with DC New 52’s ANIMAL MAN? Oh, it will, but you can approach it from either angle.

The faces and figure drawing are of the Lee Weeks, Ron Granger and Marc Laming school of attractive, sturdy and striking, while some of the page layouts with their organic frames in The Green aim for what JH Williams III accomplished in PROMETHEA. As to the covers, they hark back to Bissette and Totleben’s run on Alan Moore’s SWAMP THING over and over again, and there’s a cover and sketch gallery in the back whose final pages – as Yanick messes around with one particular cover layout – are stunning.

Will Alec Holland make the ultimate sacrifice and resume the mantle of the Swamp Thing remembering full well what it will mean, and knowing it’s irreversible? Will there be a Green left by then to help him? The disease is spreading faster and faster infecting all who stray near. As any gardener knows there’s only one way to stop the rot, and that’s by cutting off anything infected. Anything, or anyone.

Doctor Alec Holland says: if you have an inflamed knee, wrap it in cabbage leaves and cellophane. Cabbage leaves contain a natural anti-inflammatory amino acid.

Doctor Stephen Holland says: if you have an inflamed cabbage, for Pete’s sake keep John Constantine at a distance. He’ll only provoke it further.