Swamp Thing #5A comic review article by: Ray Tate
Alec Holland and Abigail Arcane reunite to fight the Rot, a supernatural force of decay, the opposite of the Green. The Arcanes have always associated themselves with the Rot, but Abby, the Marilyn Munster of the Arcanes, resisted and continues to resist. Alec begins his transformation into the Swamp Thing he should have become had not the biorestorative formula impeded his natural progress, but now, the Rot may end the champion before he rises.
Scott Snyder is a student of the horror genre. This issue of Swamp Thing is a gruesome love letter to various subsections of terror. The wastelands in which Abby and Alec travel echo the abandonment of civilization prevalent in urban zombie films. The pigs that William Arcane uses reflects the child-pig connections in Lord of the Flies, a horror novel disguised as mainstream. The mad animals themselves observe the '70s tradition of nature run amok; with a slight twist you can easily make that nature corrupted.
Snyder as well nurtures the heroic aspects of Swamp Thing. Alec Holland is seen as a threat to the Rot. He's targeted not taken out simply because he's there, or hunted as prey. He is more like Alice from the Resident Evil films. A hero amongst the horror, a champion amidst the apocalypse. Likewise, Abby is the rebel, like Spike, in the dark fantasy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Defender of the Green
Snyder introduces a Shakespearean aspect to the whole affair. The idea of star-crossed lovers being torn apart by forces beyond their control. Abby and Alec find themselves falling for each other, but Snyder adds a twist specific to the New 52 Universe. Love is a bumpy road, and may not come to be.
Yanick Paquette accompanies Snyder on this journey. Paquette proves himself as an artist that can skillfully render all and in different styles. Indeed, his previous depictions in such work as Terra Obscura suggested burlesque, and that's kind of what he became known for. Oh, and just for the record, I'm not suggesting cheesecake is a bad thing. Good cheesecake is literally and metaphorically delicious.
In Swamp Thing, he illustrates demonic pigs, a mad child, a grown man, natives that bear distinctive ethnic features and Abigail Arcane as a beautiful woman but not quite as zaftig or idealistic as Miss Masque. He spreads a grotesque mood throughout the book, but also exhibits ideal comic timing, as when Alec gives William a time out. In short, Paquette isn't the artist you immediately think of when discussing Swamp Thing, but he soon will be.
Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups, where he reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.