Pride. The fall. Redemption.
The deeper you read into writer Scott Snyder’s work, the more these three elements come to light. He’s connecting what he does through thematic elements, something very few comic book authors would dare to attempt. You can see these very human ideals in Batman’s current Court Of Owls predicament as well as American Vampire’s constant look at humanity through the eyes of the apex predator. However it’s really Swamp Thing where Snyder takes pride, the fall from it and the redemption man can have to new depths. Issue #7 has been a long time coming, but believe me it’s worth it.
Our world is dying. Dying at the hands of an evil force called The Rot. Alec Holland, once the great Swamp Thing, has failed the green. Abigail Arcane, once Alec’s ally, has been revealed as the queen of The Rot. She rests in a vile cocoon waiting to emerge as the evil birthmother of death. Holland stands before the Parliament Of Trees, protected from the hell outside only to prolong his mental anguish as he watches his failures destroy the world. There is no hope; Alec’s pride has led to his epic downfall.
Redemption. It comes for Alec, but of his own accord. No longer is he forced to play God, nor is he pushed into a place where there is no other choice. The Council Of Trees has given up, accepted the coming of The Rot. So what brings about this redemption? Man’s undeniable spirit to overcome and, of course, love. Using his last hold on mortal science, Alec unleashes the Swap Thing and decides to bring war to The Rot. It’s his decision this time and that choice is where his redemption comes into play. Scott Snyder isn’t fucking around, he sees comic books as literature and writes them that way.
Swamp Thing #7 has some action but it’s more of a cerebral book. While vile acts of degradation and horror happen around Alec Holland, the crux of the book is about him facing his destiny. The Council Of Trees have begged, threatened and promised to try and get Holland to become the Swamp Thing. His refusal has led to the spread of the Rot and even to the loss of Abigail. Still, no matter how dire the situation, Holland must choose to be the Swamp Thing. He can’t be forced. Like all of us, he must make the choice of what his future will be. What kind of man is Alec Holland and how will he find redemption? That’s what Swamp Thing #7 is about.
Scott Snyder is a born storyteller. He has this ease with storylines, dialog and subtext that’s so natural it looks easy. As chaos ensues around Alec Holland, the story doesn’t deviate from his dialog with the Council Of Trees or how these circumstances will bring about his redemption. It’s so easy to get lost in the violence or to make the dialog sound like a bad self-help program, but Snyder never succumbs to that. Across the board, Swamp Thing #7 is the best issue of the series so far and the final panel will leave you burning for issue 8.
Yanick Paquette absolutely unleashes here. The art is glorious. Paquette throws the gauntlet down with what’s possible regarding panel layout and fills in those panels with wonderful, beautiful and graphically horrific things. Every single stroke of the pen is brilliant. Every vile creature of The Rot is disturbing and the visuals of the Parliament Of Trees burning really impactful. It’s as if Paquette knew this was a game changer and decided to unleash his own vision of hell. Swamp Thing #7 is a stunning piece of comic book literature that should be the new bar by which al other books are measured.