Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The Swamp Thing #4 Review


Where The Wild Things Are

Written By: Ram V
Art By: Mike Perkins
Colors By: Mike Spicer
Letters By: Aditya Bidikar
Cover Art By: Mike Perkins, Mike Spicer
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 1, 2021

Swamp Thing #4 takes readers on a tour of the Green to help the latest Swamp Thing, Levi Kamei, understand its true nature and its power. When Alec Holland shows Levi the threat the Contagion poses to both the Green and humanity, Levi must embrace what he has become before the ultimate power becomes the ultimate weapon.

Was It Good?

It was better than okay. The art is atmospheric and creepy in ways that harken back to the Wrightson era, and the pacing is solid from start to finish. The story focuses more on answering questions than making forward progress on the plot, but there's some satisfaction in the reading.

Where the reading falls short is in the development of its main protagonist, Levi Kamei. After four issues, we still know very little about him or how he became the Swamp thing. When you look at this issue's plot points, Levi is almost incidental. You could have told this story with Alec Holland in his original role and it would have had no effect whatsoever.

Ram V went out of his way to tell readers this is a new Swamp Thing with a new origin, but so far, all that's happened is a swap out of the lead character and his love interest with another couple.

To be clear, this isn't a bad issue, but as a reboot or "next-generation" it's turning out to be an irrelevant change.

What's It About?


Alec Holland takes Levi Kamei on a grand tour of the Green. The power of this elemental force is not simply the power behind life and growth, but in its retention and communication of life throughout existence. The memories of everything and everyone that's come before ripple out like a stone skipped on a pond, or more aptly, like the rings of a tree.

Then, Alec shows Levi the contagion. It's not a force of decay like the Rot. It's a force of corruption that turns the living things of the Green into warped and malicious threats. Plants grow feral eyes and vicious fangs, and Contagion is spreading. As near as Alec can tell, it started about the time Green chose Levi as the new Swamp Thing. Alec believes Levi didn't cause the Contagion, but The Green selected Levi in response to it.

Meanwhile, Jennifer follows Woodrue to find a way to get to Levi. They seem to be traveling forever, and Jennifer loses trust that Woodrue knows where he's going. The duo starts encountering more and more pockets of Contagion, and Jennifer fears Woodrue is leading them into dangerous fields.

Alec helps Levi conclude that beating the Contagion means assuming the full power of the Green. To do that, he must establish control or mastery over everything in it, starting with the first avatar, the Wodewos.

Levi attempts to confront the Wodewos but is overwhelmed by the magnitude of its size and strength. Suddenly, Ivy appears to lend him a hand and he finds a way to focus all the memory of the Green into a reach that takes a hold of the Wodewos.

Back to Jennifer and Woodrue. Fearing either something is wrong with Woodrue or the Contagion will get them both, Jennifer bolts to try and find her own way. She sees a monster coming at her and she faints. The monster is Levi and he carries her away.

Using the sheer force of will, Levi brings them back to the world. Levi cleans up the lab and they leave.

Later, agents find computer backups and some plant matter left by the tests. The lead agent calls Amanda Waller from the Suicide Squad to brief her on the situation.

Again, it seems like a lot's happened but in actuality, it's a very clever info dump. The art's good, the writing is well-executed, but the one down of the series remains - we know next to nothing about Levi Kamei.

Bits and Pieces:

Swamp Thing #4 answers more questions than it asks, and it delivers an interesting explanation of the Green and the Contagion that infects it. The art is solid, and the overall writing (in isolation) is excellent, but it's hard to invest in a story when you don't know or care about the main character who's acting little more than a swap out for Alec Holland.


No comments:

Post a Comment