“Oh, look, he’s going on about Swamp Thing again.”

§ May 2nd, 2011 § Filed under swamp thing § 15 Comments

(SPOILERS AHOY for Brightest Day #24 in today’s post, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

So in reading about Swamp Thing’s return in Brightest Day #24, you know what bugged me the most? Yeah, that’s right, Swampy’s word balloons:

This is definitely me wearing my fanboy hat, but I much prefer the ol’ jagged-edge orange balloons:

I suppose the green ‘n’ brown colors are more earthy in tone, and at least they’ve kept the ellipses-laden pauses, but it’s gonna a bit before I’m used to it. And on the other hand, they’ve brought Swamp Thing back, so maybe I shouldn’t complain.

It is fun seeing Swamp Thing fully back in the regular superheroic DC Universe again, and I have to admit I had bit of a stupid grin on my face reading the panel where Firestorm, Aquaman et al are (re-)introducing themselves to him. And hey, I just realized, in this issue we finally got our Swamp Thing/Hawkman confrontation promised at the end of Swamp Thing #24 (1976). (As opposed to Swamp Thing just fighting some random Thanagarians, of course.)

Another nice fanboy element for me was seeing the resurrection of Alec Holland in that full-page image, but it does lead into the question of just what is going on with Swamp Thing, here. Okay, I originally had written out a blow-by-blow description of what happened in Brightest Day #24, but let’s keep it simple. It looks like we’ve gone from Swamp Thing being based on a template provided by the deceased Holland’s memories (as retconned by Alan Moore in Saga of the Swamp Thing #21) and have since switched to the revived Alec Holland being absorbed by The Green and actually becoming Swamp Thing (which is basically how it is described in the text itself). Or The Green just up and killed Holland and “reinfected” itself with his memories like last time, which, frankly, seems a bit harsh.

And did I say “simple?” Er, sorry about that.

Regardless, it’s emphasized several times that the White Lantern-revived Alec Holland only has memories up ’til his original murder way back in Swamp Thing #1, so is this revived Swamp Thing basically starting from scratch, with no recollection of all the hoohar that followed his original transformation? Or is there some kind of “back-up” memory in The Green that was fed into Swamp Thing following his revival, which seems likely since he’s whipping out a lot of his Plant Elemental superpowers schtick in this issue. And are we back to the original premise of Alec Holland being a man trapped in a monster’s body, and not just a plant thinking it’s Alec Holland? Are these the kind of things a grown man like me should be obsessing over?

I suspect these are the questions to be answered in the forthcoming Search for Swamp Thing series, which reminds me…there was apparently some consternation regarding what Swamp Thing was getting up to at the end of the issue. In particular, considering what he says here regarding folks who are harming the environment:

…which he seems to do in some executive boardroom, where Swamp Thing appears to be straight-up killing people:

…which alarmed some readers, I noticed, but given the context of its presentation, it’s pretty clear this is just a set-up for future events (i.e. the previously-mentioned Search for Swamp Thing), like the issue’s multiple epilogues preceding this one for other characters in the series. Clearly something is wrong, and even Special Other Guest Star Who We Thought Would Only Appear in The Vertigo Imprint but Here He Is in The DC Universe John Constantine seems to think this wasn’t actually the handiwork of our pal Swamp Thing:

Have I mentioned there were SPOILERS in this post?

There were also some noting that this Constantine looks a lot younger and and lot more…um, thumbed than his Vertigo counterpart, not reflecting his more recent adventures. And you know, that’s okay. If Marvel Comics can have their MAX imprint Punisher and their Marvel Universe Punisher, and never the twain shall meet, then I think we can have Vertigo Constantine (and Swampy) and DCU Constantine (and also Swampy) with their own distinct continuities. Or distinct when convenient, of course.

But all in all, I finally got what I was asking for…a return of Swamp Thing to the regular DC Universe. Hopefully this won’t end up being a case of “being careful what you wish for,” but we’ll see how it goes.

15 Responses to ““Oh, look, he’s going on about Swamp Thing again.””

  • Casie says:

    Yay! Can’t wait to read! He looks good, but I agree about the lettering, it’s a bit distracting. That white on green seems to give him a new voice. Oh well, it’s Swamp Thing, and that rules!

  • Rich Handley says:

    I just don’t like this development. It’s completely discontinuous with what came before. Swamp Thing isn’t the protector of the planet Earth–he IS the planet Earth. What’s more, at the end of the Millar run, his soul was reincarnated into the body of a newborn infant, the next step in human evolution. Brightest Day makes the same big mistake that Andy Diggle’s series did–namely, it ignores Millar’s phenomenal storyline. For me, that’s just wrong. Wouldn’t the kid with Alec’s souls suddenly drop dead?

  • Rich Handley says:

    Sorry, that should have said “soul,” not “souls”… though, really, it’s starting to look like Alec had more than one, so maybe my typo was a better word choice.

  • Congratulations on the revival of your fan-boy dream, Mike.

    I can totally understand where you’re coming from on this.

    When Man-Thing was/is being brought back into the lime-light at Marvel, I had/am having the same reaction (mixtures of excitement and wariness).

    Hopefully DC won’t drop the ball.


  • A.L. Baroza says:

    It does seem to be a reset of the character–at least in the DC universe proper. A retcon of the retcon, as it were. Or, as Graeme McMillan succinctly put it, “fuck you, Alan Moore”.

    I guess this new Swampy doesn’t have any memories of sexytime with Abby Arcane. I do wonder, since we now have two Constantines, whether we’ll have a Vertigo Swamp Thing as well, because I’d like to still imagine Swampy and Abby hanging out in the bayou and getting high on yams.

  • Mr Lawless says:

    At least Constantine doesn’t look like Keanu Reeves.

  • Was a loooong-time fan/reader of Hellblazer (since his first appearance in Swampy, and have all his own title’s issues up until 2006 or 2007 – when I finally stopped), and just couldn’t bring myself to watch Keeanu eff up the character for me.

    Someone gave me the DVD and I still haven’t watched it.

    Maybe one night if I can get myself drunk enough.

    Gonna take LOTS of Bourbon for that.

  • Ed says:

    So, if DC’s line is that there can be alternate versions of these characters for Vertigo and DCU, why kill the China Mieville Vertigo Swamp Thing series? Just the timing?

  • Mikester says:

    Ed – Yeah, probably. I’m guessing the business decision was made that, instead of doing yet another Vertigo series, DC should concentrate on pushing a more reader-accessible (and marketable) version of the character. And while there probably could be two different versions of the character on the stands, like Marvel is doing with the Punisher, trying to relaunch a Vertigo series at the same time they’re bringing Swampy back into the superhero line would likely undermine the success and promotion for either.

    I have no idea, really.

  • Sleestak says:

    Back in the day Swampy just straight up whacked all those guys who helped Luthor firebomb him into space, right?

  • Mikester says:

    Sleestak – Yup, that’s exactly what he did. Then we got to see them all in Hell!

  • Sprout says:

    “the original premise of Alec Holland being a man trapped in a monster’s body, and not just a plant thinking it’s Alec Holland”

    This distinction made in Moore’s big revamp bothers me the more I think about it. Unless we metaphysically fetishize the “original” body – recall the big deal of ST burying Holland’s bones – that means that ST really IS Holland regardless of where Holland’s physical remains are. After all, ST has Holland’s memories, sentiments, yearnings, attachments, and character. So what does it matter if his body is not Holland’s? Our own bodies are replaced cell by cell, molecule by molecule during our own lifetimes, several times. Does this mean we are not ourselves? I am an every-changing locus of experience, exchanging materials with my environment, not a permanent physical body mystically charged with some essence of “me-ness”

    True, after his realization, ST gradually become more remote and inhuman. But that original realization, while traumatic, didn’t mean that ST never was Holland. It just meant that the locus of Holland’s experience had shifted from one particular set of materials (which were being gradually sloughed and replaced anyway) with another.

  • Jeff R. says:

    Alec Holland had a soul that met Swampy and, later, Abby during their visits to Heaven, so apparently _that_ is where the locus of me-ness for Alec resides. And apparently never did get around to reincarnating to follow Linda’s soul for another round. (Linda Holland’s reincarnee should be an adult at this point, which would be a very interesting thread for the Search team to pick up…)

  • White Lantern Alec Holland says:

    For the first time in close to FIVE ENTIRE YEARS— DC is actually earning my money by publishing new Swamp Thing stories–as opposed to having nothing but old back issues from Marvel, DC and other publishers shipped to me online– so I’m not questioning it.


    So far, so good…

  • Robb S. says:

    So true on the lettering. I’m a graphic designer and sometimes the typography in comics is shameful.
    The whole point of the orange bubbles was that they were a nice compliment to the (usually) green heavy layouts. This issue of Brightest Day was no exceptions; Lots of green and the bubbles get lost.

    But as many said above; Small price to pay for the return of the greatest hero ever! Long Live The Green.