So far of the second week New 52 releases, Swamp Thing is the one which seems most closely connected to its own pre-New 52 canon.
One almost needs to have read at least a few of the past lines to really get it.
In this new line, Dr. Holland, the previous incarnation of Swamp Thing has been recently resurrected as a human.
He has only vague memories of his time as Swamp Thing, and after trying to get back to work as a botanist for a a while, and developing one more vial of the botanical restorative formula, he quit his former life, and started over as a manual laborer.
His powers are gone, but something is going on in the natural world which no one understands.
The most interesting thing about this book is that it gives us our closest look at the new Superman of any #1 so far. Superman comes to visit Dr, Holland at his new job site to ask him about the dying animals.
He’s wearing his new armor in the scene, and seems to be in contact with Batman and Aquaman, so this story takes place in the ‘present’ relative to the Justice League timeline. Here Superman has a whole conversation, and we get to see that new, cheerless, mopey stoicism we’ve heard so much about.
I honestly wasn’t expecting much from Swamp Thing. The character has never stood out to me as one of the more interesting characters in the DC Universe, fading into the background as a specialist hero, like Aquaman.
This new Swamp Thing story is a compelling tale of a man attempting to escape from the world of plants, which once treated him as a savior and protector.
The villain being developed here is some kind of animal-world antithesis to Swamp Thing. Just as Swamp Thing was a shambling mount of plants with some control of the plants around him, this creature is a shambling, bloody conglomeration of discarded animal parts, exerting control of the animals – including humans – which it encounters, killing them in the process. What the creature’s goal is has not yet been made clear, but it seems to be malevolent.
The art and writting here are both exemplary, and the issue has a clear and compelling cliffhanger, second only to Detective Comics #1 among these second week releases. As long as some more of the backstory is explored in the comming issues, to help new readers along, I think they have a hit on their hands with this one.
Swamp Thing #1 can be picked up wherever you buy comics, including the ComiXology store.