Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The Swamp Thing #8 Review

Swamp Thing vs Swamp Thing Lite

Written By: Ram V
Art By: Mike Perkins
Colors By: Mike Spicer
Letters By: Aditya Bidikar
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 5, 2021

Swamp Thing #8 brings readers one step closer to knowing the new Avatar of the Green, Levi Kumei. The issue rehashes what we already know, introduces Levi's now-not-so-human brother to the conflict to reveal a little bit more, and sends the Suicide Squad packing for another 'L' on Waller's record. When Levi learns he's been working for the bad guys, the shadowy figures hungry for power step up their plans.

Was It Good?


Readers get a few steps closer to learning more about Levi Kumei. In this journey of a thousand baby steps, we learn Levi's brother Jacob had nothing to do with Levi becoming the new Swamp Thing, despite subtle-as-a-sledgehammer hints dropped to the contrary early on in the series. The Green chose Levi, although it's not clear why he was chosen as opposed to anyone else.

Jacob, on the other hand, tried to force the Green's power into himself because he believed he was the better choice to become the Avatar than his brother. The dark magic Jacob invokes transforms him into something in between man and Swamp Thing. The new Jacob might be described as a type of demigod that looks more man than monster with a mild control over the Green's power. In effect, he's become  Swamp Thing lite. The mystery behind Jacob's actions before Levi left India the last time has been a major mystery point since the beginning of the series, and the big reveal falls flat in terms of the wow factor.

Jacob's plan has always been to use the power of the Green to cast out the ugliness of humanity. You could say Jacob's taken extreme measures for the sake of his eco-activism. What he intends to do with the power is unclear, except perhaps, purge all human influence from his jungle.

Not much time and no mention is made of the Contagion infecting the Green. However, you could infer the device dropped by the Suicide Squad to disconnect Swamp Thing from the Green is related to the Contagion. How? Not sure, but in the end, Levi learns the device was manufactured by the company he works for. 

Levi's revelation that his company is responsible for damaging the jungle is meant to be an emotional gut-punch. However, this major reveal also falls completely flat because it's completely obvious from the government payoffs and strong-arm tactics used before the riots that his company is up to no good. For a very smart man, Levi is also an idiot.

And there's the rub. After 8 issues (and $32) we still know very little about Levi as a character. Every bit of dialog and display of emotion is in reaction to things happening to and around him. Beyond being an idiot, is Levi a good man with a good heart? Is he callous and cold? Of all the convoluted pretense and tedium surrounding this series, the one unforgivable sin is to introduce the main character, and yet, forget or ignore building that character. 

Bits and Pieces

Swamp Thing #8 fills in the badly absent backstory behind Levi's transformation into the latest Swamp Thing with a bonus transformation for his brother, Jacob. While the revelation answers most questions, Jacob's intentions are unclear, Levi's selection as the latest Swamp Thing are less clear, and the result is a mass explanation that competing parties want the Green's power for themselves. So far, this series is a prime example of decompressed storytelling done the wrong way.


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