Today, Shelby and Scott are discussing Swamp Thing 27, originally released January 8th, 2014.
Shelby: In Robert Jordan’s series Wheel of Time, children often play a game called Snakes and Foxes. The player has to get their game piece from the center of the board to the edge, and back to the center without getting “killed” by a snake or a fox. They are represented by separate pieces that the player has to roll for and move at the same time he moves his own. It’s only played by children because once they get to a certain age, they realize the game is structured such that the only way to win is to cheat; if you follow the rules of the game, there’s no way to defeat the snakes and the foxes. In Swamp Thing 27, Alec finds himself in a similar pickle; he played the Parliament’s game by their rules, and he lost. Instead of quitting the game because it’s pointless, though, he decides it’s time to cheat.
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Swamp Thing 26, originally released December 4th, 2013.
Drew: I always get awkward when meeting new people: between my own anxiety over making a good impression and trying to size them up myself, genuine interactions often get squeezed out. These problems are only exacerbated when it comes to meeting new coworkers, where there are actual stakes that you get along, and the specter of “professionalism” adds pressure to the situation. I should mention here that I have a great relationship with my coworkers, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel super awkward on my first day, and probably postured more than necessary to make them like me. Jason Woodrue faces similar awkwardness as the new Avatar of the Green, and works way too hard to impress his new bosses. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Mikyzptlk are discussing Swamp Thing 25, originally released November 6th, 2013.
Scott: Realistically, there are only so many emotional peaks and valleys you can hit in a single, 20-page comic book. A hero can only claim victory and suffer defeat so many times over the course of one battle. Right? Apparently Charles Soule never got the memo. Swamp Thing 25 is a true roller coaster ride, a microcosm of what the series has been like under Soule’s watch. He’s adept at painting himself into a corner with dramatic twists and turns, and then walking right through the wet paint like a total badass. Frankly, he has no time to wait around. If this issue proves anything, it’s that Soule is a man with a plan, and that plan involves shaking things up for good. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Mikyzptlk are discussing Swamp Thing Annual 2, originally released October 30th, 2013.
Scott: One of my favorite pop culture cliches is the hero preparing for the ‘big fight”. You’ve seen the Rocky-inspired montages, with the running up the stairs and the drinking raw eggs and “Eye of the Tiger” blaring. It works every time. In Swamp Thing Annual 2, we get Charles Soule’s version of the pre-fight montage. It fits right into the ongoing storyline, which I love. It’s basically just the next two issues in one, which should come as great news to anyone who was dreading the thought of waiting another month to find out what’s going on with Alec’s impending duel with Seeder. Soule doesn’t exactly have Alec donning a headband and heading to a meat locker, instead focusing on Alec’s mental preparation. With the help of a few wise advisors- one of whom you might be shocked to see- Alec’s pre-fight journey may not have you pumping your fists, but it’s still pretty darn uplifting. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Mikyzptlk are discussing Swamp Thing 24, originally released October 2nd, 2013.
Scott: Taking over a title from Scott Snyder can’t be easy, at least not as easy as Charles Soule is making it look. Soule has filled in admirably as the new writer of Swamp Thing, and the title is as much of a must-read now as it ever was under Snyder. Much of the allure has been generated by the mysterious villain Seeder, whose identity is finally revealed in Swamp Thing 24. Regardless of how you feel about the reveal, there’s no denying that it involves a remarkable callback to Snyder’s run- it’s a moment for which neither writer can take full credit. Could the reason the transition from Snyder to Soule has gone so smoothly be because they were planning this moment together, all along? Either way, the attention to detail ought to be enough to blow you away. Continue reading →
Scott: Some villainous behavior is justifiable — if you get all sides of the story, you can at least understand why someone would commit such seemingly evil acts. This is a big part of Villains Month, understanding why villains act the way they act. In fact, many of these issues have taken advantage of a little trick: when you tell a story from a character’s perspective, that character immediately becomes more sympathetic to the reader, even if that character is not such a great person. But there are some villains whose actions cannot be justified, who have an inherent evil to their ways that a normal person just can’t understand. Anton Arcane is one of these villains. Continue reading →
In September, DC’s entire line is going to be highjacked by the villains of the universe. The creative teams frankenstiened together from DC’s regular stable of writers and artists, but — with a few exceptions — none of titles look like logical continuations of any of the current series. How’s a body supposed to know what they’re supposed to read? That’s where our four-part guide comes in.
Today, Patrick and Scott are discussing Swamp Thing 23, originally released August 7th, 2013.
Patrick: Alcohol is weird. It’s dulls our senses, it shortens our lives, it gets us into trouble – and yet we engage with it time and time (and time) again. Why? Because it’s fun. Because when we dial back our inhibitions a little bit, we find the casual courage to do something we’ve always wanted to do. All of that freedom is great, until you cross that line. YOU KNOW THE ONE I MEAN. The moment in the evening where you don’t make decisions with your complete mental faculty. I’ve always had people tell me that drinking brings out who someone really is, but that’s faulty. If anything, booze dulls the prowess of the super-ego, allowing the baser urges of ego and id to take priority. But the id isn’t a person’s “true self” – the psyche isn’t a list of three psychic apparatuses, but the relationship between the three. What you are can more accurately be defined by how you deny the more destructive urges deep in your Freudian well. That’s the kind of thematic material Charles Soule mines in his story about a magician, a plant-man and a booze-tree. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Shelby are discussing Swamp Thing 22, originally released July 3rd, 2013.
Scott: There are certain people you just can’t rely on, and you know it. In a sense, it’s better to be aware that someone is a liar, or a flake, or a selfish prick, because then you can’t be caught off guard by it. At the same time, it’s tough, because if you give that person the benefit of the doubt too many times, you make yourself into a fool. This is Alec’s Holland’s relationship with John Constantine- he knows Constantine’s a liar, but still convinces himself that Constantine might be able to help him. It’s also quickly becoming my relationship with Charles Soule, the writer of Swamp Thing. I can’t count on him. Just when I think he’s going to give me some answers, just when I think he’s going to reveal something about this so called “Seeder”, he goes and writes an issue about…John Constantine? It’s so crazy, it actually works really well. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Drew are discussing Swamp Thing 21, originally released June 5th, 2013.
Scott: Most Superheroes are afforded the luxury, and often the burden, of maintaining a semblance of normal human life — an alter ego. Swamp Thing is not. Alec Holland is Swamp Thing all the time — he doesn’t have a day job. In that sense, Swamp Thing isn’t about a man keeping his two identities distinct, but a man forced to allow his two identities to merge. Because of this, his character is constantly evolving, transitioning from something familiar to something unknown. He has spent his entire life as Alec Holland, but there’s an entire history of the Green that he knows very little about. In Swamp Thing 21, Charles Soule makes it clear that he is more interested in exploring the unknown. Continue reading →