Today, Scott and Shelby are discussing Swamp Thing 32, originally released June 4th, 2014.
Scott: We all want to feel like we’re in control. It’s a big part of growing up. We move out, get our own place, buy a car, pay bills, decide what we eat and when we sleep. But we can only control things to a certain extent. As resolute as we may want to be, we still can’t really know what to do the first time we carve a turkey, or get in a car accident, or find out we’re pregnant. In our rush to take control of our lives, we fail to realize just how much we don’t know, and in doing so we become a huge liability to ourselves. Fortunately, life is pretty forgiving, allowing us to acquire wisdom through a system of trial and error. Like the rest of us, Alec Holland has a lot to learn, in his case about being the Avatar of the Green. Swamp Thing 32 finds him fighting for control against an obstacle he brought on himself but never saw coming.
Today, Scott and Drew are discussing Swamp Thing 31, originally released May 7th, 2014.
Scott: There are two types of “bad guys”: those with real, understandable motives, and those who are just purely evil. Think Two-Face versus the Joker in The Dark Knight. Some villainous characters have a humanizing characteristic, a defining tragic trait or plight that the average person can feel sympathy for. That’s not to say they always redeem themselves, necessarily, but they’re harder to root against than those who are simple embodiments of greed or hate. In Swamp Thing 31, Alec takes on both types of bad guys, and each is socially relevant in surprising ways. If it wasn’t clear already, Charles Soule is doing things very few writers have the creative energy, or the guts, to take on.
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Swamp Thing 29, originally released March 5th, 2014.
Drew: Ah, the learning curve. It’s a testament to the resilience of the human spirit that there are things that everyone simply sucks at when they start. Some stick with it and get better, others don’t, but the fact that so many people are out there parallel parking or whatever just goes to show what we’re capable of when we put our minds to it. Of course, a good teacher helps, and the learning curve has a funny way of exaggerating the type of help we get. At our noblest, humans are capable of providing age-old (or even personal) wisdom to n00bs, but we’re just as capable as having a few yuks at the expense of the new guy. As much as I enjoy a good larf, I’ll never fully understand the inclination to let the new guy muddle through the same mistakes everyone else has made. Sure, maybe he needs to experience those mistakes firsthand, but how are we to know if nobody’s ever bothered to help anyone avoid it? At best, it’s negligent, and at worst, it’s malicious, but it always leaves the new guy worse off. Unfortunately, Alec is still in the early stages of learning the ropes as the Avatar, and every one of his mentors seems more content to watch him fuck up than offer any kind of help. Continue reading →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Swamp Thing 28, originally released February 5th, 2014.
Mikyzptlk: After the surprising events of Swamp Thing 27, Swampy and his amazing friends are entering a new era. Charles Soule is clearly excited to begin the next chapter of his story, but before he can really dig in, he takes some time flesh out the mysterious character of Capucine. The results are fine, but this issue feels a bit like Soule is stepping on his own toes. Hopefully this is just a case of needing to take a few steps back, before being able to move forward again. Continue reading →
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, 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 →