Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Swamp Thing #2 Review

Written By: Ram V
Art By: Mike Perkins
Colors By: Mike Spicer
Letters By: Aditya Bidikar
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 6, 2021

Levi Kamei continues to have horrific nightmares of turning into a green plant monster. He wakes up someplace else with no explanation as to how or why he got there. During these nightmares, Levi emerges in the Arizona desert to face the Pale Wanderer before he kills again. Always trying and failing, the Pale Wanderer instructs Levi that he can't move forward until he accepts the change that will shape him into what he's meant to become.

Was It Good?

Credit where credit is due, this is better than the first issue (read the Swamp Thing #1 review here). It's better because the page-wasting nonsense like spending two pages to explain the gestation period of blowflies is gone. It's a straightforward narrative with heavily shadowed art that shows some promise.

If there's one down for the issue, it's a simple but glaring pothole that would have resolved an entire conflict which we'll talk about below.

What's It About?

The nightmare Levi Kamei of waking up in the desert inside a monstrous body to fight and be defeated by the Pale Wanderer is becoming a nightly occurrence. Nut the nightmare isn't always the same as the Pale Wanderer kills somebody new each time before Levi can stop him. Levi confirms it's not just a dream as he finds some news reports to confirm the deaths he witnesses first hand.

Levi shows the reports to Jennifer to back up his story about why he's returning home early in the morning. And here's the plothole.

If Levi was disappearing to confront the Pale Wanderer and waking up in Central Park or some other wooded area, why not set up a camera to record the disappearance? It would corroborate everything. This seems like a cheap contrivance between two smart characters simply to artificially generate emotional tension between them. Rather than deepen the bond between them, it lessens the authenticity of their relationship.

Moving on. The Shakespeare Sherrif of Aztec Town who we met in the first issue is downing some liquid courage to confront the Pal Wanderer out in the desert. His drinking buddies try to talk him out of doing anything foolish, but he's too old and too set in his ways to not do what he feels needs doing.

In many ways, this sheriff is reminiscent of the sheriff from a recently concluded title (just the arc, not the series) That Texas Blood from Image Comics. Leathery and worn down by life, each sheriff knows fear and risk but acts out of kinship with their town that won't allow them to not act.

During the latest nightmare cycle, Levi feels something different after confiding in Jennifer about what's going on. He arrives in the desert and sees the Pale Wanderer about to claim his next victim, the sheriff of Aztec Town.

This time, Levi prevents the sheriff's death. When the Pale Wanderer "kills" the green monster by tearing out its heart, Levi isn't immediately transported back to New York. This time, the green within him and lashes out at the Pale Wanderer, growing and expanding exponentially.

Without spoiling the ending, other DC characters make cameos, Levi leaves something behind, and Alec Holland is referenced.

Bits and Pieces:

Swamp Thing #2 is a step up from issue #1 with more story and less self-important fluff. The art is severe in its use of dramatic shadow and mood coloring, which works well for the subject matter. The story, despite the gaping pothole, feels like it's growing (*ahem*) into something. There's enough here to warrant sticking around for another issue.


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