Swamp Thing #6: Hell in a Handbasket

Scott Snyder brings down the hammer hard on Alec Holland and Abby Arcane.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Swamp Thing #6

After a misfire with issue #5, Swamp Thing #6 gets us right back on track. In fact, Swamp Thing 6 is so powerful, I’m beginning to think issue 5 was purposefully lackluster so the kick to the nuggets that is issue 6 would be that much more ridiculous. Shit has gone bad. Real bad. Fuck you, world, here comes some evil, dark, demon rotting blood shit, bat shit bad.  This is one of those issues where you scratch your head and really wonder how exactly our hero is going to get out of this. Sure, we all know good will prevail, but damned if I can figure out how.

Alec Holland has screwed the pooch. Well, actually, he’s screwed the Parliament of Trees. The collective of the spirit of the swamp, which chose Holland to be the Swamp Thing, begged Holland for help and he kindly refused. Now, the Green is dying, as the Rot grows stronger. In the jungles of Brazil, the Rot is burning the Green and creating demented creatures to serve it. Worst of all, Abby, the woman sworn to fight the Rot and her younger brother, the herald of evil, has been swallowed by the rot and cocooned. Apparently, the true heir to the throne is not Abby’s brother but Abby, the Black Queen. Holland has screwed the Parliament, the world, and now his new lady friend. Nice going, Alec.

Writer Scott Snyder unleashes hell in a handbasket with Swamp Thing #6. The entire issue is about the collapse of everything holding Alec Holland together and his realization hat his own ego has led to a dramatic failure. I find it fascinating that so much of Snyder’s work is about personal failure due to ego. The Commissioner Gordon story in Detective Comics (pre-reboot), his current works with Batman against the Court Of The Owl and now Swamp Thing. It’s as if Snyder’s creating an epic theme tying these stories together – one that shines a light on the tragedy of the human ego and how badly those failures can effect everyone around you. It’s deep, heady and effective stuff, further proof Snyder deserves every single accolade he’s received.

As I said, wrapping this all up is going to be a real head-trip. I know Animal Man will crossover into Swamp Thing, but how that will effect the current bad times is anybody’s guess. Outside of the great story and character development, there’s a constant unknown factor with Swamp Thing. This isn’t a major hero for DC so Snyder has more freedom to muddy the waters with adult themes and darker tones. Swamp Thing might not get out of this, and if he does it’ll be at great cost to his psyche. It’s rare when a comic series keeps you guessing but Swamp Thing has, even with the last issue's hiccups, still stood above most anything else out there right now.

Marco Rudy’s art is the uppercut knock-out shot of the entire exercise. First, let me talk about layout. Not since Batwoman have I seen layouts this spectacular. Each page contains a really special statement to what comic books could and should look like. Epic double page spreads, panels that begin one place and end inside a second panel. Moving panel edges, combinations of various scenes, its all so gorgeous that it lifts Snyder’s story into something else. Rudy also has a keen sense of macabre and that which is really unnerving. In short, the guy can draw fucked up and creepy better than most. Swamp Thing #6 is a keeper.


CRAVEONLINE RATING 9.5/10 (4.75 Story, 4.75 Art)