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Swamp Thing creator Len Wein delivers a strong third issue in a series that is getting better and makes a strong case for the adage, “what is old is new again.” ComiConverse contributor Sam McCoy has our review.
Swamp Thing is in the midst of a battle with a large boa constrictor until the snake is shot by Matt Cable. Matt and Swamp Thing catch up. When Matt asks about Abigail, Swamp Thing comments that they haven’t seen each other in a long time. Matt says that one of the reasons he has been gone for so long was that he was looking for a way to cure Swamp Thing and allow him to be Alec Holland once again.
Meanwhile, the autopsy of Lazlo (the creature featured in issues 1 and 2) is being conducted and as to be expected there are a few abnormalities. Sheriff Fox insists that Lazlo’s mouth be sewn shut for the autopsy.
Matt Cable takes Swamp Thing to meet Zatanna. Matt produces the “Hand of Fatima,” a mystical relic that he believes will turn Swamp Thing back into Alec Holland. Zatanna agrees to help the two as she feels it is the least she could do for Swamp Thing. Zatanna warns that there could be severe consequences to using a spell this powerful, but Swamp Thing wishes to proceed and attempt to revert back to being human.
Zatanna performs the spell’s ritual and it appears that Swamp Thing has been transformed back into Alec Holland. Alec looks on in horror as he sees that Matt Cable has now been transformed into a version of the Swamp Thing and revealed that this was part of his plan all along.
I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t fully sold on this new series after the first issue (you can read my review of issue one here). Thankfully issue 2 was a big step up in quality and issue 3 continues that trend.
One thing I do find very interesting is the choice to have another issue begin with Swamp Thing battling a creature of the Swamp. In the first issue it was an alligator, in this one, a boa constrictor. Especially considering the strength he showed in his battle against Lazlo in issue 2, it is strange to see him struggle against these lesser opponents. After Matt Cable shot the snake, Swamp Thing was upset as he had no interest in hurting the creature.
Matt Cable’s return was interesting since the character has not been seen since the days of Sandman, when he was brought back as a Raven. Len Wein wisely keeps Matt straddling the line between good and evil for a most of the issue, leaving his true motivations unknown.
Granted, having Matt in this story helps further confuse the continuity of not just this episode, but also Swamp Thing as a character in the DC universe. He’s always been a character where writers pick and choose what they like and want to use for their runs. In this case, Wein returns to how Swamp Thing was when he created the character. I think it works in this case, but some will not be fans as it is a departure from a lot of what Swamp Thing has been over the last 30 years.
Zatanna was a wise choice for her part in this book as the character has been connected to Swamp Thing in the past not only in Justice League Dark but also in a variety of Swamp Thing stories.
Kelley Jones delivers a solid issue here. Jones is meant to draw weird looking monsters with tons of shadows and does so masterfully. At times though, some of the human faces don’t match well from panel to panel, but Jones does get the atmosphere to make this story work.
A solid third issue is making this Swamp Thing book worth reading for fans of the character, especially those who enjoyed the man turned monster era when the character was created.
Sam McCoy is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @realcactussam
Len Wein and Kelley Jones deliver a strong gothic horror story with deep ties to the history of Swamp Thing and the DC Universe as a whole. The inclusion of Matt Cable and Zatanna makes this a must read for fans of the supernatural DCU.