Swamp Thing #5 Writer: Len Wein Pencils: Kelley Jones Colors: Michelle Madsen Letters: Rob Leigh Publisher: DC
After a run-in with an old friend of his, Matt Cable, Alec Holland(Swamp Thing) left the swamp and took Matt to see Zatanna. After Matt does what at seems at first to be a heroic sacrifice to make amens, the emerald power of the swamp transfers from Alec to Matt. After some bickering between the two, Alec finally becomes content with Matt’s choice and decides to teach him how to use his new powers. However after multiple executions of harsh justice it became clear, that Matt’s hunger for the emerald power was driven to seek revenge for his past misfortunes.
Writer Len Wein combines two overlapping stories in this issue. The first being the new Swamp Thing reeking havoc upon the Earth, the other follows Alec on a type of spirit quest to regain his lost powers.
Right off the bat, the issue goes right into destruction as we see Matt give the Pentagon, the Coliseum, and the Eiffel Tower some new green makeovers. During which the new sheriff in town, Darcy Fox, remains strong and determined to put an end to the chaos. She has a couple of strong moments where she tries to trick Matt but it’s obvious that she’s powerless to stop him.
While Matt is on his spirit quest to regain the emerald powers, he runs into some new players to the story. This series has done a solid job of introducing new characters that if you’re not aware of, are given enough context to understand their relationship to others. It remains new reader friendly. There’s also enough given to intrigue readers to go back and read back issues of Swamp Thing and this issue is no exception. Wein delves more into not just the Swamp Thing’s powers but justification as to why Alec is able to hold onto his humanity while in possession of them.
Len Wein produces a strong narration in this issue, however his sometimes hokey dialogue becomes a bit distracting here.
Artist Kelly Jones returns to once again, give us a one bad ass looking Swamp Thing. There are some fantastic visuals in this book with some eerie looking closeups of our new antagonist with mesmerizing detail to them. His work is heavily shaded, which works great for Swamp Thing and it’s also great to see Jones’ take on some new characters.
In the end, this issue doesn’t serve up much of anything new or that exciting. Other than Alec’s journey, it’s mainly just set up for this 6 issue mini-series’ finally. The key word however is execution and this is well executed, it supplies build up to the nit and grit of the story. Issue number five does what its seeks out to accomplish and you can’t fault it for that. The artwork here is top notch but unfortunately can be bogged down by Wein’s hokey dialogue which unbalances the tone. It becomes a bit disappointing in the end, given the previous issues, but hopefully this superb creative team can bring us a superb conclusion.
Score: 3.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach