Thursday, May 12, 2016

Swamp Thing #5 Review

If I Ruled the World

Written by: Len Wein
Art by: Kelley Jones, Michelle Madsen and Rob Leigh
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: May 11, 2016

While I don't have as long a history with Swamp Thing as our usual reviewer and resident snazzy dresser, Reggie, I was really looking forward to this mini series when it was announced.  I fell in love with the character of Swamp Thing during Charles Soule's awesome New 52 run, loved Len Wein's Swamp Thing Convergence book and the way my hygiene has been lately, I really can empathize with Alec Holland on a whole other level.  In fact, if Len Wein is looking for a plucky sidekick for his muck monster, I'd like to pitch him the character of Swamp Foot in what would be a "presentation for the senses".  While I wait for the call back I am so sure I'll get, I will get on with the real reason we're here, my review for Swamp Thing #5.  Is this penultimate issue a must read as we prepare ourselves for next month's finale or does it feel like we are stuck, trudging through knee deep swamp muck, slowing moving forward to our destination?  Let's find out...

The issue begins with the now expected old school credits page that brings us up to speed on what is going on and it's pretty messed up.  If you haven't been reading, Alec Holland's old friend, Matt Cable, tricked Alec into transferring the mantle of Swamp Thing to him and immediately has caused misery and mayhem.  As we open, he is still sitting on his "Throne of Thorns" and about to address the world.

What does he want?  To rule the world, of course.  However, the reasons why seems to be getting a little mixed up since we last saw him.  I was under the impression that it was for revenge on the police department that unceremoniously kicked him to the curb, but now he's truly become an Eco Warrior getting back at mankind.  Of course, it could be a lie or maybe the Green is getting to him...I kind of want to know.  Whatever the case may be, he's a bad dude who will turn everything into a scene from "Life without People" give him control. On a side note, why can't villains take a cue from Kurtis Blow and want to rule the world to give the homeless a home and love all the girls?  He loves them, loves them, baby!

While all this is going on, I'm sure most of you were like me and wondering what the hell's up with Alec?  Well, we find out in the next scene.  It seems like he is drifting down through the Green where he finally gets a long overdue face-to-face with the Parliament of Trees.  Guess what?  They can't help him.  You done fucked up now, Alec!  After a little scolding and some ominous warnings, Alec is yanked back up to the surface by The Phantom Stranger.

One of the best things about this series has been the Dark Universe (hey, what happened to that book, anyway?!?) guest stars.  Phantom Stranger has been my favorite and he is even better here.  While he can't necessarily help Alec (what's with all these rules???), he at least can take him to a nice retirement home...Nanda Parbat.

Meanwhile, back in the States (Baby, baby, let's make romance...) Sheriff Fox is trying to convince Matt to be his mouthpiece and the sucker agrees! She then tells the world to nuke the town and I laughed the whole time! It seems that taking of the mantle of the Green should come standard with a dunce cap.

Back in Nanda Parbat, Swamp Thing runs into yet another awesome dark character, finds out there are even more rules and decides to leave eternal paradise to go off to Gotham with his monkey paw.  Yep, he got the Hand of Fatima and we are told it would take "an act of God" to make it work again.  Hey, I'm a big dummy and even I saw what was coming!

The issue ends with Phantom Stranger saving Alec's ass yet another time and finding out that retribution kind of involves playing the "why are you hitting yourself" game.  I had a little brother, so believe me, there was a lot of retribution in the Werner house!  It looks like if an act of God is needed, at least Alec went to the right place.

I liked this issue enough.  Yes, it's full of hokey dialogue and misused and confusing phrases, but it has a charm to it and that goes a long way in my book.  The main issue I had this month was that the story kind of stalls a bit before next month's finale.  Half the book is Alec heading somewhere only to be told he has to keep looking.  I'm sure that if we went a little bit longer, we would have been told that "Our Princess is in another castle".  Oh well, I did actually enjoy the ride anyway and while we got little of Matt, his stupidity made me laugh.

Kelley Jones' art was one of the first things I fell in love with in this series and while I still like the old school vibe of it all, it's missing something.  Maybe it's the lack of detail or the misshapen forms of normal humans (or both), but the art here is not great and with all the cool characters involved, that's a shame.  I say that, but I must point out that the last guest star looked awesome and hopefully everything else will follow suit next month in the final issue.

Bits and Pieces:

I have been a fan of this mini series from the beginning, but after a strong start, the story seems to be stuck in neutral.  Alec looks for help this issue, and after having the door slammed in his face a bunch of times, ends up in Gotham where there might just be a solution to his problem.  The story is old school cheesy goodness, but unfortunately, the art doesn't quite keep the pace.  If you've been reading up until now, there is enough here to enjoy and get you excited for the finale.  I just wanted a little more meat with my salad.



  1. Hokey dialogue is right. I had to check the cover to see if this issue was written by the same writer as the last four issues. Also, for me, Swamp Thing belongs in his own universe. Time spent on why other DC characters aren't helping just throws a wrench in the flow of the story. I liked the first four issues well enough; but this issues rates pretty low with me.

    1. It really felt like a filler issue to get to the finale which is odd for a 6 issue mini! Hopefully, it ends strong because as a whole, I've enjoyed it.

  2. Wanted to be excited about all of the cool characters that appear in this issue but it was all just very confusing instead.