Swamp Thing #39 (Comics Review)

In the world of Swamp Thing, the new Machine Kingdom has made some incredible advances in a very short amount of time, going so far as to create its own Avatar, thereby picking one of the titular hero’s greatest enemies as its champion. And the battle that has followed from that has not been kind to the hero or his closest allies either. In fact, Swamp Thing and the others are losing the fight, and that’s where the fun really comes in I think, to see the hero tested beyond what you’d expect, and to see the incredibly rich lore of Swamp Thing really come alive.

In Swamp Thing #39 from last week, we pick up from where we left off in the last issue, namely with the cliffhanger of Swamp Thing being confronted by his own formally mortal body, now reincarnated by the Machine Queen to serve as her ace in the hole. The new issue is absolutely brutal in its execution, and writer Charles Soule sets a brutal pace for the reader. Losing to the combined power of his doppelganger, the Machine Queen and Arcane, Swamp Thing is now in for the battle of his life, to eke out the smallest measure of victory from these dark events.

One of the coolest things about this entire arc is how writer Chales Soule works in all the different areas of Swamp Thing lore while also at the same time keeping things really accessible for a (relatively) new reader so that it is easy to make sense of what is going on. Sure, the name references might sometimes get a bit confusing, but at the same time, Charles Soule really pulls you into the moment, and keeps you bound for the length of the story here.

A while back we saw that Constantine came to warn Swamp Thing about the coming war with the Machine Kingdom, something that the hero had already anticipated and was already preparing for, not that it did him much good in the end. So the obvious question remains, who is going to help Swamp Thing and Abigail against their enemies? For it has to be someone who understands the dark and twisted nature of the Green and the Rot.

And sure, Constantine pops in for a small cameo as usual, dispensing some sage advice and a little bit of constructive help as well, but the focus is always on these two and the Machine Queen, who has plans of her own against the Rithm, having learned a few things from her time with/against Swamp Thing. And it doesn’t end well for the Calculus, which was kind of tragic in a way, though I’m admittedly celebrating what happens to them. They deserved it well enough, for having ambitions way beyond their reach, and for being such utter jerks. Amongst other, less-polite things.

Most of all though, I loved how Charles Soule dealt with portraying Swamp Thing as a vulnerable yet strong hero. There are lots of different sides to him, and this issue does great in bringing many of them out. And when Abigail Arcane steps in, well, things just get better in the narrative sense. It is great to see such a great relationship between her and Alec (the true Alec that is, not the monstrosity created by the Machine Queen), as it adds an extra level of drama and tension over the whole thing.

And the ending, man, that was mind-blowing. that was just the kind of a kickass ending I wanted to see to this issue, and Charles Soule certainly did not disappoint.

As before, Jesus Saiz is the artist on this issue, with June Chung on colours and Travis Lanham on the letters. The Alec Holland monstrosity created by the Machine Queen definitely stands out, as do the rest of the characters, especially in that kickass ending when the shit really hits the fan and Swamp Thing confronts Anton Arcane after all. The colours too are incredible and I think that both Jesus and June make for a really solid art team, one that deserves all the praise that it can get, and then some more on top of that. The visual story flow is great, the changes in the panel structure is great, everything is great basically.

Loved the issue, can’t wait for #40!

Rating: 9.5/10

More Swamp Thing: #35-37, #38.

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Posted on February 9, 2015, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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