Shelby: I’m going to be honest with you all: I’m at a loss, here. I’m not sure where to begin. Swamp Thing has been one of my favorite titles since I picked it up around issue 6. Scott Snyder’s Alec Holland is a conflicted man, trying to find his place in the world, but ultimately following his heart. Yanick Paquette’s art is horrifyingly beautiful, so beautiful I was inspired to permanently ink it into my skin. Add a couple star-crossed lovers, disgusting zombie creatures, and the destruction of the DC universe, and you’ve got something pretty special on your hands. This issue marks the end of Rotworld, the end of Snyder and Paquette’s work on the title, and the fates of Abby and Alec; it’s no wonder I’m feeling a little bittersweet about this write-up. Continue reading →
“It’s horrible when you sense the “to be continued” coming. You know, you’re watching the show, you’re into the story. You know, there’s like 5 minutes left and you realize “Hey! They can’t make it! Timmy’s still stuck in the cave. There’s no way they wrap this up in 5 minutes!” I mean, the whole reason you watch a TV show is because it ends. If I want a long, boring story with no point to it, I have my life.”
- Jerry Seinfeld
Drew: Comics are a serialized medium. Spirited debates can be had about the relative virtues of straight serialization or a more episodic approach, but most readers understand that a given story may not wrap up in a single issue. The surprise “to be continued” described in the epigraph doesn’t happen as often in comics, where issues are clearly billed as the conclusion, but I found myself reminded of that experience as I neared the end of Swamp Thing 17, realizing that the “Finale” billed on the cover might not be so final, after all. Continue reading →
Shelby: Enough “Poor Alec.” Last month, we talked about Alec’s lonely road and his single shining star, Abby. Well, that’s all over! He’s got the resources of Batman in the hands of Barbara Gordon, one of the smartest people in the DCU. He can feel his lady love leading him on, and now that he’s got the backup he needs, he’s going to put an end to this Rot shit once and for all! It’s Swamp Thing’s rallying call! He’s gonna kick some ass in the greenest way imagined! No more pity, it’s time for action! Just as we start to get really pumped, though, Scott Snyder reminds us that it might actually be too late after all.
Patrick: Naturally, I copied the our previous post about Swamp Thing to get this article started. I noticed that Capristo started the piece: “Poor Alec.” And thus I lost my opening line for this write-up. Looking back on our Swamp Thing Alternating Currents, it is remarkable how much we pity Alec. No matter what he does, he can’t be granted a minute’s peace. And while his counterpart, Animal Man, seems to be amassing allies left and right in the Rotworld, Swamp Thing’s road is a perpetually lonely one. It makes Alec’s quest for his singular companion that much more compelling. They are two against the Rotworld, and the pair’s separation lends as much uneasy tension to this issue as the undead tentacle-monster. Oh, did I not mention: there’s an undead tentacle-monster.
Michael: Poor Alec. First he and Buddy lose an entire year of fighting — and hence, the fight itself — but Alec must forge ahead, beset by mistrust from allies, misinformation, and an intuition that fails him more often than not. He doesn’t quite grasp his powers, he can’t be sure what the Parliament of Trees really knows, and a justifiably cocky Arcane has fortified himself. The only consistent truth for Alec is Abigail’s essential good and his powerful sense that she’s still alive — and even that is in jeopardy. Continue reading →
The Retcon Punchers spend an awful lot of time looking for ways to celebrate our nerdy obsessions. This means a lot of time sunk into scouring Etsy, Deviant Art, Think Geek or whatever. Sometimes we see things so great we just have to share them… and then clutch them fiercely to our collective chest. Throw it in The Vault.
Who Would Love This: Tattooed hipster nerds
Like Patrick’s birthday swag Vault post, this one is a little different. If you didn’t know, that’s me showing off my tattoo from Swamp Thing 9, inspired by Yanick Paquette’s orchid theme for Abby Arcane. As I started getting more and more into comics this last year, I knew my next tattoo would have to be comic-book themed somehow, but I didn’t want to get just a Wonder Woman logo or something like that; it needed to be more unique. Then I read Swamp Thing 9, and I was moved: not only by the beauty of Paquette’s work, but by the beauty of Scott Snyder’s story as well. It was the first time I realized just what comic books can be, and I knew exactly what tattoo I wanted.
Scott: This Rotworld stuff can be pretty depressing. I can only take so much of hearing about how everyone everywhere is dead and there’s nothing anyone can do to make things better. So it’s nice that Swamp Thing Annual #1 was able to take a step back and tell a story that, while still wholly depressing in its own right, feels like a breather from the current state of Rotworld despair. Continue reading →
Shelby: Zero month gave us a little reprise from the events of Rotworld. Sure, we learned more about Anton Arcane’s horrifying history, making him that much more of a serious threat. But it was easy to forget that the last time we saw Alec, he was in a completely dead world, one which he assumed was an alternate version of the reality he knew. I’ll be honest, I assumed it was an alternate reality as well; the single panel reveal at the end of 12 didn’t really sink in. But now, we are fully immersed in Rotworld, and let me tell you: things are way worse than we thought.
Drew: One of my biggest pet peeves in comics is the assumption that “bigger is better” when it comes to threats the hero is facing. I understand the sentiment — if saving one person is good, saving one million must be a million times as cool — but in practice, it often turns the risks into abstract hypotheticals. Such abstractions lose the human connection that is so easily established by a single person in danger. In comics, a single loved-one in danger is just as cliched as when it’s the whole city, but when handled well — as in Animal Man 12 — the payoff is much greater. Continue reading →
Shelby: I love seeing heroes working together. I don’t mean like in Justice League, on an established team (also, they aren’t really working together anyway); I’m talking about the almighty Crossover Event. Swamp Thing and Animal Man’s Rotworld isn’t a traditional comic crossover, with multiple books dealing with the same issue and borrowing characters. Snyder and Lemire have instead told the opposite sides of the same story, and now those two halves have finally come together so seamlessly I had to check the cover multiple times to remember which title I was reading.