Swamp Thing Volume 1: Raise Them Bones Graphic Novel Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Wow…what a twisted road Swamp Thing has been on since being created by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson back in 1971. He’s gone from a man who was transformed into a monster, into an Earth elemental who only thought he had been a man, and now into a man who really does transform into a monster. In other words, Alec Holland and Swamp Thing are together again for the first time.
This book eprints Swamp Thing #1-7 of the New 52. Decades after being killed in an explosion at his swamp-based laboratory, Alec Holland has returned to life…as a man. Yet Holland has all of the memories of his years as Swamp Thing…Of Abby Arcane and her psychotic uncle Anton Arcane, and everything else. Holland goes back to work in the lab but soon abandons that work for a simpler life, desiring to be far away from the life he…thought he had as Swamp Thing. But the Parliament of Trees isn’t going to let Holland go that easily.
While Holland might not have ever been Swamp Thing to begin with…the Parliament now needs him to be whether he likes it or not. Swamp Thing is needed to battle a malignant force known as “The Rot” and if you’ve been following the new Animal Man series you are already familiar with this destructive enemy. The Red (which Animal Man represents) and the Green have long kept The Rot at bay but now it has grown too powerful and the Green needs its greatest avatar…Swamp Thing.
The explanation of the Parliament behind what really happened to Alec Holland, who the Swamp Thing really was, and how Holland was resurrected is a bit convoluted but also quite fascinating. Just as Alan Moore found a way to re-birth Swamp Thing back in 1984, Snyder finds an equally clever way of changing Swampy once again while still be faithful to both Moore’s and Wein’s original concepts of the character. In fact, and sue me if this is heresy to Alan Moore’s fans, but I think what Snyder did was even more of a feat than what Moore did with the character. While Moore basically completely changed Swamp Things entire template, Snyder was able to do the same while maintaining what both Moore and Wein had done with the character.
The fact that Holland has Swamp Thing’s memories, while perhaps not entirely believable, is sure one hell of a stroke of genius. Snyder gets to keep the best of both worlds with both Holland and Swamp Thing. He also gets the character back to its more horrific roots (no pun intended). The best story arc of Moore’s run was the American Gothic storyline that is still one of my favorite storylines of all time. Swamp Thing has to now face off against an even more nauseatingly evil force which can rot just about anything it encounters.
While the art of Paquette and Rudy might not have the terrifying power of Wrightson’s or the gritty sketchiness of Stephen Bisette and John Totleben, it is still first very nice although maybe a little to clean for the subject matter. Definitely one of the better of the new 52 titles!
Mania Grade: A-
Comic: Swamp Thing Volume 1: Raise them Bones
Written By: Scott Snyder
Art By: Yanick Paquette and Marco Rudy
Publisher: DC Comics