Swamp Mark noted
“i don’t think you’ve said a word about the new Swampy series. which is a shame because Wein and Jones are knocking it out of the park!”
I thought I mentioned it at some point…probably it was on the Twitterers, where I said, after reading the first issue, that it didn’t really do anything for me until the antagonist shows up in the back half of the issue. The series as a whole so far, now that we’re at the half-way point, is…well, it’s okay, I think.
I have no beef with the art. If we can’t have Bernie Wrightson back, Kelley Jones is just dandy, giving us weird, goopy, and creepy illustrations as is befitting a Swamp Thing title. Jones, of course, has drawn Swamp Thing many times over the years, and he’s always welcome.
Swampy’s other creator, Len Wein, is back on writing chores, however, and…well, I don’t know. It’s fine, but…okay, this is mostly on me, I suppose, in that the original ’70s Swamp Thing comics still have a strong appeal, so expecting this new series to compete with my own nostalgic feelings for the older work is very unfair. You Can’t Go Home Again, is what I believe I’d said on Twitter, and that’s probably more aimed at me than it is at Wein. The tone of the scripting just doesn’t feel the same…and why should it, I guess. There is this thing with Swampy’s dialogue that seems out of character, with his talking about kicking something’s ass here, and this bit of business there:
I just paged through the most recent issue, #3, again since it happened to be sitting here, and like that first issue, the story didn’t really grab my attention until the latter part of the comic, which leaves on a cliffhanger that genuinely left me looking forward to its resolution.
But even that brought up an issue with me, which is one that’s probably out of Wein’s hands, and that’s the New 52 continuity. Again, this is an issue that bugs me, The Guy Who’s Read Swamp Thing Comics for Nearly Four Decades, and may not be a problem for someone coming to the character fresh, but there’s the big disconnect between what has come before, and the New 52 version of events. Given that we were reintroduced to the “plant that thought it was Alec Holland” version of Swamp Thing post-New 52, I was able to imagine that the adventures we read of that version of Swampy still existed, more or less, even with the changes to Arcane. But, with the return of a certain old supporting character in this issue, unless there’s a lot of weird backstory to be revealed, one of the classic Alan Moore stories from early in his run now appears to Never Have Happened. (It also futzes up a small bit of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, for that matter.)
I can sort of understand the decision…why remain committed to a piece of continuity from decades ago when you’re trying to do new comics for hopefully new readers who may, at best, only know the most basic information about the character’s concept? Not to mention the fact that, referring to those old events involving said supporting character, none of them were experienced by this version of Swamp Thing anyway, if you follow me. It’s not like the Alec Holland-version of Swamp Thing is suddenly going to shout “B-b-but you’re DEAD!” when as far as he knew, that character was just fine and dandy when he last saw him.
Ignore all that if there’s a big reveal in the next issue that this was all a trick and it isn’t really that supporting character but some old enemy in disguise or something.
Anyway, wrapping up…I like the series. The art’s great, and the writing’s tone is taking me a while to warm up to but it’s fine. The continuity issues are a thing, which undermines the proceedings a bit, but that’s because I’m old and read all that stuff so it’s still in my mind when I read this new stuff. But to paraphrase those brilliant philosophers, “it’s just a comic book, I should really just relax.”
EVEN SHORTER CONCLUSION: Mike, you got a new and reasonably good Swamp Thing comic written by its creator and drawn by a great artist — shut up, already.