Okay, folks, this is a weird one.
Granted, Swamp Thing has been riding the weird rails since Scott Snyder took over post reboot, but this one is a little further off. I’ll also warn that this isn’t the strongest issue of Swamp Thing, it’s a bit scattered. Before anybody screams “AH HA” and starts telling me that I’m losing faith in Scott Snyder, that’s not the case. I’m quite sure Mr. Snyder will resolve the problems I have with Swamp Thing #5, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point them out.
The beginning starts my list of concerns because it just lands on us. A scientist is led deep into the jungles of Brazil. Upon arriving in the most dangerous area, the professor opens his shirt and a horde of killer flies burst from his chest. Okay, it’s weird, but it’s interesting. So, what’s the deal? Well, Snyder doesn’t tell us, he just bounces back to Alec Holland and Abby who are still in pursuit of her brother William, an avatar of The Rot bent on destroying the world. It’s kind of hard to get into the building relationship between Alec and Abby because you’re preoccupied trying to work out who exactly the professor was and why he needed to slap down a Brazilian tribe.
I was also a little miffed at how fast the relationship between Abby and Alec is building. At first, she seemed irate with him, or at least coolly disassociated, but by the end of issue #5 they’re sharing this deep moment and a kiss. I get that their attraction is almost biblical based on their past and that it happens after Alec Holland puts his ability to control the green to good use battling William, but it still seems a little rushed. The conflict between William, Abby and Alec rubbed me the wrong way because it just happens, seemingly out of nowhere. Even the end, where the issue cuts back to the professor, seems a little less spectacular than I’ve come to expect from Snyder. Like I said, the issue isn’t bad, it just feels rushed.
One of the shining moments of Swamp Thing #5 is Alec Holland’s use of the green. Swamp Thing, especially once Alan Moore took over, was always a very esoteric creature. He was magnanimous, a god who battled evil on an ethereal plain. You never really saw Swamp Thing get his bad ass on and, while this is just Alec Holland with glowing green eyes and an attitude, it’s still cool to see him kick some ass. As for the shaky rest of the issue, I’m fairly certain that this is part of Snyder’s bigger plan. The few times I’ve taken issue with his work it’s always worked out, even if the single issue remains less than astounding.
The art from Yanick Paquette is the shining star of this issue. Every single panel is gorgeous, a combination of comic book and fine art. Paquette crams as much as he can into everything he pencils, from the characters we’re focused on to the details behind them. The battle between William and Abby and Alec is completely told through Paquette’s art and it’s breathtaking. You can smell the death and rot following William around and when Alec reaches out to the green you can feel the power. When other senses are touched in a two dimensional, mostly visual medium, that’s great art. I also need to give a nod to colorist Nathan Fairbairn; he really brings out the best in Paquette’s work. Swamp Thing #5 isn’t my favorite issue, but that’s put against Scott Snyder’s other work. Against the rest of comic books, it’s still pretty awesome.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 8/10 (Story: 3. Art: 5)