Swamp Thing is a character that I tend to go back and forth on as far as my enjoyment. It seems to be very specific to the writer and maybe even the arc. It’s not a character I go out of my way to read. But, a series by Jeff Lemire and Doug Mahnke gets me to take notice and I’m glad I did as Swamp Thing: Green Hell #1 kicks off a story that’s rather intriguing and something I’ve wondered about.
Lemire takes us to the feature where the environment has further decade leaving rising water levels and diminishing food supplies. It’s a world that’s we’ve sort of seen before where humanity has destroyed the environment and is paying the price. Society has diminished and the remnants of it holds on living day to day and unsure what the future brings. We get the stereotypical stable town attempting to create society and the gang who forces them to give up part of their hard work under threat of violence. None of that’s new and it’s also not the point.
With the world of of whack, what are the Parliaments of the Green, Red, and Rot to do? The answer? Wipe out what’s left and start all over. There’s a lot to take in about that. First, who can blame the trio? Humanity has destroyed and thrown away beauty and clearly has learned little from it all. Honestly, I was cheering from the Green, Red, and Rot to succeed.
Lemire delivers that turn of events with an eye toward horror as the Green attacks becoming the environmental avenger that Swamp Thing feels so perfect for. The fact the series hasn’t been a regular discussion about environmental justice has always confused me and a story that has been done but not nearly enough.
The art by Doug Mahnke is great giving us a world that feels lived in and worn down. With color by David Baron and lettering by Steve Wands it all feels like a functional world where “junk” is re-used to build houses and machinery for society to use. The people look a little too healthy is my only complaint, especially if there’s food scarcity as is hinted at in the comic. The scenes where Swamp Thing attacks are fantastic horror and the detail of the attack is great and creative. There’s panels that truly creeped me out forcing me to quickly flick through and read the dialogue as fast as possible.
Swamp Thing: Green Hell #1 has a lot of potential in a series. It has an interesting premise and where it ends is somewhat predictable but sets up a fascinating conflict. We don’t see enough stories about the environment finally saying enough is enough and taking on the humanity that has ravaged it. We can see that reality and result in the disease that has plagued the world for two years now. Maybe comics will finally take on that weighty subject and this is a tease for greater questions to come. Either way, this is a debut that delivers a nice dose of horror from some unexpected places.
Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Doug Mahnke
Color: David Baron Letterer: Steve Wands
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review