Swamp Thing #5 Review
Swamp Thing #5, released in 4th January 2012, is the fifth issue of the series since DC’s New 52 reboot event, written by comic book writer Scott Snyder and drawn by illustrator Yanick Paquette (art, cover and variant cover).
The issue began in the deep jungles of Brazil, into which one Professor Robert, escorted by a Brazilian guide, had driven himself as far as they could manage before being brought to a halt by the natives, the Tenera people, for trespass. Things took a horrific plunge as Professor Robert revealed his other side, a grotesque embellishment of decay and rot to his chest, letting loose the plague which infected everyone around him, transforming them into the shambling minions of the Rot with their heads disturbingly snapped around.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Texas, Alec Holland, the former avatar of the Green, who was also known as Swamp Thing, was in the midst of provisioning alongside Abigail Arcane for the journey ahead into the Deadlands, where the Rot supposedly resided, before encountering Abby’s brother, William Arcane, and a horde of undead farm animals outside. While Abby confronted her brother, Alec was driven into the store by two of the once domesticated creatures, forcing him to unleash upon them the plant manipulating abilities he once had as the Swamp Thing.
The table turned, Alec managed to rip his way through the undead throng and grow a tree in the middle of the street, ensnaring among its branches William Arcane. Alec proceeded to tend to Abby’s wounds, while relating to her the innate connection to the Green he had subconsciously felt even before his time as the Swamp Thing, the same way Abby had felt to the Rot. The exchange eventually culminated in a kiss, from which Alec broke off, sensing that something was amiss, as William, whose allergy toward chlorophyll was already acting up, entered a riotous fit of laughter over the impending burning of the Parliament of the Green. The scene segued back into the depths of the Brazilian jungles, amid which Professor Robert watched as his undead minions lighted up the ground, ready to raze the Parliament, a huddle of trees with vaguely human features, to ashes.
One of the issue’s intriguing features is the manner in which the panel dividers alternate between the shapes of a tree branch and of a menacing plague to highlight any implication of the Rot or the Green. Another example of employing art outside the panels would be the root talons extending over the plague panel dividers as Alec reached for the long dormant powers deep within himself in order to stave off the advances of the undead. Both unwilling to accept their ties to the Green and the Rot, their unison, while granting them release from the bigger picture, if only for a moment, was reflected beautifully by an embrace between Alec’s alter ego, Swamp Thing, and a girl made of bones, representing Abby Arcane, before being brought back to reality by the sudden revelation of the Parliament’s coming demise. A wonderfully written continuation of the series, this issue illustrates further the crossroads of Alec Holland’s existence, torn between a soul mate and an inescapable destiny.