Review | Swamp Thing #1

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Yanick Paquette

We have a winner. The first three pages of Swamp Thing introduce readers to the wonder and potential of DC Comics—far better than the flagship titles have so far. Three Justice League biggies are shown encountering natural phenomena that've been creeping out humanity for past couple years: Birds are falling in droves from the Metropolis sky; dead bats are dropping like rotten fruit from the Batcave ceiling; Aquaman drifts in a school of tuna corpses. It's all captured in stunning detail in a spread by Yanick Paquette. The Canadian penciller and inker could do a wordless comic of wild animals and architecture and I'd pick it up. These are some of the best beasts I've seen outside of Recardo Delgado's Age of Reptiles. The bold ink borders and square jaws jump off the page. Over this, fresh of a fantastic run on Detective Comics, Scott Snyder drops a great monologue about growing up in a flower shop. It's wonderful.

Paquette continues to dazzle throughout with two-page spreads that grow increasingly beautiful and macabre. Paleontologists twist their necks past the snapping point under the sway of a dark zombie god. Orchids and vines twist across the page. On a title like Swamp Thing, the art should be like this, realistic enough for a field guide. Snyder's really flying here, and he has done his botany homework. Learn the holistic properties of cabbage, see flies crawl through ears into people's brains. And the hero doesn't show up until the last page. There are a couple deep references for superfans, too. Alec Holland's safe combination is 1971, the year Swamp Thing made his first appearance. A construction vehicle is branded WeinDigger, a nod to Swamp Thing co-creator Len Wein. But the real gee-whiz comes from the pens, not the winks.

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