Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Swamp Thing #14 Review

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 28, 2022

The Swamp Thing #14 takes Levi Kamei to SPACE with the help of Green Lantern to talk to an invading army of plant aliens. Can Levi broker peace before humanity is wiped from the Earth?

Was It Good?

The Swamp Thing #14 is a simple, interesting story weighed down by unnecessarily flowery narration and dialog. In short, this would be an entertaining comic if the pompous verbiage would get out of its own way.  The general premise and the art are the strongest points of this issue.

When last we left Levi, he was paid a visit (out of nowhere) by Hal Jordan/Green Lantern to help stave off an alien invasion because Levi speaks "plant." It sounds flippant when described that way, but when you peel back the layers, that's exactly what's happening. Now, we see Levi attempt to communicate with the massive plant beings with a little cosmic help from Green Lantern and his power ring.

Without the slightest bit of irony, the art in this comic is cool. Perkins is missing a higher calling by not doing more Green Lantern work. One could conclude the recent Green Lantern run would have fared better if Perkins was given art duties. Perkins gets the cosmic weirdness of space right, and Spicer's bold colors add a whimsical flair that's a joy to behold.

We learn through dialog exposition and super-flowery narration that Levi is cut off from The Green's power, a point that wasn't especially clear in the last issue. Here, Levi scatters himself into spores to "merge" with the alien hive mind where we learn - SHOCKER! - the aliens were summoned to wipe away humanity by The Green. There is precedent to accept that The Green extends beyond Earth, but it doesn't make sense that The Green would suddenly see humanity as cancer to be permanently excised or that it would call an alien force from across the galaxy to do it.

Ram V, to be fair, explains each plot point as the story progresses, but offering an explanation and offering a sound explanation are two different things. Some of the explanations aren't sound, or in a few cases, make no sense at all. The Green is all about balance, so why would the Parliament of Gears be the threat that pushes The Green over the edge to call for extinction when so many other world-altering threats have occurred in the past? Why would The Green call an alien force to end humanity when it's powerful enough to do the dirty work on its own? How does Levi know how to use his dwindling powers to communicate with an alien when he barely knows how to control his powers?

When we look at the flip side of the conflict, we see Palmer and the Parliament of Gears are the catalysts for The Green's decision because the Parliament of Gears' plan would decimate the Earth. How is that supposed to work? What is the point of consuming all life when you're not producing anything of value, and nobody will be left to consume it? The Parliament of Gears' plan almost comes across as a fission reaction - wild, unfettered, purposeless, acting for the sake of acting - and yet there's an intelligence behind the Parliament. At least there's supposed to be an intelligence behind it. By setting up the Parliament the way he has, Ram V creates a contradiction that looks cool but makes no sense under basic scrutiny.

Where does that leave us? Cool visuals, interesting ideas, but flimsy, fragile execution wrapped in bloated verbiage to hide the cracks.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

The Swamp Thing #14 unveils a threat from space bent on wiping humanity from the Earth. The art is excellent, and the concepts/ideas underneath the story are cool, but there are contradictions aplenty masked by bloated, flowery language to weigh the whole issue down.


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