Graphic Novel Review 235/365: Swamp Thing Vol. 1: Raise Them Bones

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I got back into comics right after DC put out The New 52 in 2011.  I didn’t read any of it at the time, but I thought the idea was cool.  Now, as I’m going back and exploring a bunch of the 52 stuff, I’m finding some gems, the Snyder/Paquette Swamp Thing run is for sure one of those gems.

Title: Swamp Thing Vol. 1: Raise Them Bones  

Author(s): Scott Snyder, Yanick Paquette, and Marco Rudy

Publisher: DC Comics (2012)

Age Rating: 17+

I actually read this trade a while back, but I never reviewed it.  It has been sitting in my classroom, being given to students that ask me for horror titles.  For while this is a hero book (of sorts), it’s also weird, gross, and violent.  A great mix for the horror fan in all of us.

This run, like most of The New 52, is an origin story.  We get the story of how Alec Holland becomes ruler of “The Green”: Swamp Thing.  We are quickly tossed into Holland’s skepticism of his new opportunity, and it’s not until he realizes just how important he is to the saving of the world that he changes his mind.  The trade slow plays Holland’s decision, not giving us the new Swamp Thing until the very end of the book, but that’s OK, because as an origin, Snyder plays a good deal with developing “The Rot,” the polar opposite of Swamp Thing and his powers.  While Swamp Thing can control plant life, those that live with Rot connection can manipulate and control the dead.  It’s actually quite a beautiful and disgusting juxtaposition that Snyder sets up and paces well, and the art by Paquette compliments it amazingly.

This book does have a bit of everything: horror, hero-stuff, heavy themes, interesting art, and ascendant hero-book writing.  Looking for a new horror obsession or unique hero experience, pick this one up.  It’s gets a 17+ rating for the violence and gore.  The Rot does in fact have people twisting their necks completely around and characters puking up cancerous organs.  Yeah, pretty gross, but effective.

Happy reading!

Eric

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