In its penultimate chapter, “Milk Wars” gets grody and corporate as Cave Carson, his daughter Chloe, and the hockey mask wearing vigilante Wild Dog team up with Swamp Thing against brainwashed cubicle dweller types and a spot-on parody of those soulless, yet addictive Pop Vinyl figures. Jon Rivera’s scripting is a little on the nose as far as the corporate satire goes, but is more than redeemed by some funny one-liners (A guy reading his fellow co-workers name badge while beheading him takes the cake.) and the cast chemistry between Cave, Chloe, and Wild Dog.
But the best part of Cave Carson/Swamp Thing Special #1 is the interplay between Langdon Foss’ (Bucky Barnes, The Winter Soldier) art and Nick Filardi that threads together like one of Swamp Thing’s tendrils. When Swamp Thing bursts into one of one Retconn’s (Evil mind-controlling and metafictional corporation) offices and wakes up Cave and the crew from a milk induced stupor, Filardi throws up the puke green, and Foss gets grotesque with faces and various liquids. It’s very third act of Hateful Eight, but without the two hours of self-indulgent dialogue. Sometimes, epiphanies about being rat in a cage, or cubicle slave in a cave aren’t beautiful come to Jesus moments, but involve puking your guts up.
However, Foss and Filardi can do sleek and beautiful too when Cave and Chloe try to blow the office and attempt to rescue those under lactose tolerant mind control. Foss channels his inner John McTiernan and also Michael Avon Oeming’s work in the original Cave Carson comic with air vent escapades and excavations that use every inch of the page and turn overcrowded cubicle space into an action playground. Filardi contributes to the tense mood with pinks and blues that are the polar opposite of the clinical off white palette he uses for the office scenes earlier in the book. Almost, every page has Ben-Day dots giving the book an old school comic gone deranged feel.
Cave Carson/Swamp Thing Special explores similar themes of conformity and corporate subservience as the other “Milk Wars” comics, but also riffs off the viscous body horror of Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, and John Totleben Saga of the Swamp Thing run. Swamp Thing’s first big splash page is an homage to the classic “Anatomy Lesson” story with a chopped up body emerging out of his green form. Langdon Foss’ take on Swamp Thing finds a happy medium between the sad, detailed Bissette/Totleben Swamp Thing and the more cartoonish Swampy like in the Justice League Dark animated film. It might not be as regal or easy on the eyes, but erring on the cartoon side helps when Swamp Thing starts punching office workers or emerging from a Green salad. Yeah, this is a pretty weird and great comic, and there’s even a much less sexual, but just as psychedelic allusion to Swamp Thing’s magic fruit.
On the Eternity Girl backup story front, Magdalene Visaggio and Sonny Liew turn in their best work yet in a minimalist, yellow tinged parody of comics that break the fourth wall. Basically, when you run out of ideas or stories just tear everything down. The two pager is quite cathartic in age of reboots, reimaginings, and fresh starts and has elegant layouts and line work.
Cave Carson/Swamp Thing Special is a tiny bit office drone satire with a portion of DC “mature readers” body horror and is mostly a damn fun caper from Jon Rivera, Langdon Foss, and Nick Filardi. It’s gross, thrilling, and thought provoking (Sometimes all at once.) and provides a segue to the “Milk Wars” finale without taking up too much space from this adventure.
Story: Jon Rivera Art: Langdon Foss Colors: Nick Filardi
Backup Story: Magdalene Visaggio Backup Art: Sonny Liew
Story: 7.9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics/Young Animal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review