Today, Patrick and Scott are discussing Swamp Thing 20 originally released May 1st, 2013.
Patrick: What’s your greatest fear? It’s something that could happen to you, right? Your worst fear isn’t that you’re living the life you’re living right now. But that’s the case for Alec Holland – everything he had to lose, he lost. Can you imagine what a bummer it’d be to realize your worst fear was that you’d live your life as you had? Christ, that’s depressing. It’s regret at its most primal level, and it’s exactly what we’re dealing with in Swamp Thing 20. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Justice League Dark 19, originally released April 24, 2013.
Taylor: There’s nothing like having a little time to yourself. This proves to be especially true after you’ve completed a large project or gone through an important life event that required a lot of your time or energy. Having just completed a stint as a student teacher, I understand how nice it is to regain a little bit of time for yourself. Suddenly, I have ample time to pursue my own interests, to take care of things I’ve been putting off for too long, and to generally dedicate myself to laziness and slobbery. Comic book writers and artists, along with the characters they give life to, similarly get to enjoy these moments of re-centering when they come to an end of a story arch. Without the obligations of having to progress a plot or defeat absolute evil, comic creators have the chance to spend a little more time on their characters and enjoy their company. Additionally, this is a chance for writers to reassess where they would like the focus of their series to fall and on whom. Justice League Dark, having wrapped up the Timothy Hunter arc, is enjoying one of these precious moments and in issue 19 it’s a pleasure to see what effect that has on the series.
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Swamp Thing 19 originally released April 3rd, 2013.
Drew: Taking over a title from a much-loved creative team must be an intimidating task — especially after an epic story arc like Rotworld. First issues necessarily inspire less awe than story conclusions, which means the most salient points of comparison can only be unflattering. Mercifully (or perhaps diabolically), Snyder and Paquette had a bit of a fire-sale with characters, effectively setting the series back to zero in terms of interpersonal relationships. Those changes hinted at a very different status quo for Swamp Thing moving forward, one that new creative team Charles Soule and Kano not only pick up on, but assert with a strong sense of purpose. Continue reading →
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 →
Scott: This comic is called Animal Man, but it’s hardly about Buddy Baker at this point. Sure, Animal Man and Swamp Thing are the focal points of the RotWorld crossover event, but their personal objectives and motivations are overshadowed by RotWorld itself. There are so many characters fighting against the rot that it’s tough to consider Animal Man the main character in this issue, and even more difficult to think of his personal motivation — to save Maxine — as the emotional center of the story. Throw in the fact that this issue truly is a crossover with Swamp Thing, and it’s harder yet to think of this as Animal Man’s story. Not that that’s a bad thing. Animal Man is part of an awesome team fighting against the Rot, and the collective inventiveness they display here makes Animal Man 17 a thoroughly fun and often jaw-droppingly cool experience.
“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 →
Drew: Last month, I couldn’t get over how openly writer Jeff Lemire was playing to our expectations in Animal Man. More specifically, he was setting up expectations with the express purpose of implying he was going to meet them at face value — all with an unblinking swagger that was kind of thrilling. Animal Man 14 finds him switching gears to the kinds of thwarted expectations we expect from (good) superhero comics, but that change actually makes the surprises even more surprising. Continue reading →