DC Comics 2016
Written by Simon Oliver
Illustrated by Moritat
Coloured by Andre Szymanowicz & Moritat
Lettered by Sal Cipriano
Last issue we left off with Swamp Thing seeking help to find Abby and with John running from two men who seemed to be able track him despite his best efforts. So before we get to them John gave Chas money to place a bet and we pick up there to open up issue three. I guess Chas’ gambling doesn’t leave him many places he isn’t known and he may or may not have listened to John.
John meanwhile having ditched the two suits finds his way to Maps. I really like this part of the issues story. Maps is making as much sense as John usually does to people and sometimes it doesn’t hurt to get a little of your own medicine thrown back you. Seriously what Simon does here is absolutely amazing.
And I say that it’s amazing mostly because i’m impressed not just with the dialogue, the characterisation or the story development it’s because Simon is able to simultaneously tell multiple story angles throughout keeping them separate and interwoven in ways that really not only flesh out John’s world, it’s cast of characters but also the larger picture. Something big is coming and we see components of it converging on John but it’s like he’s got to deal with the tentacles before he can deal with the beast. It’s the smaller moving parts that advance the story while hiding the real one behind them and it’s utterly fascinating.
With seeing so much of Swamp Thing in these pages it’s making me long for his own solo series again. The latest adventures of his were fantastic, creepy and all kinds of throwing of his mythology into chaos. Plus Simon kind of makes him seem more human in nature while still being the Avatar of the Green.
Before we get to Clarice whom I adore already we have to talk about the interior artwork. That page where Swamp Thing welcomes them to the Rot is amazing! The swirling of colours and the imagery it evokes is a definite wow moment. Throughout the use of page layouts with the angles, perspective and the backgrounds are amazingly well done and detailed. We see that in the first page with the brickwork and then later with Clarice and that room they are in. There’s both this great vagueness and yet simple beauty to the work that captures John’s world incredibly well.
John’s world is becoming more and more unglued and he doesn’t even know to what extent it’s happening. From the Tate Club and Clarice to Chas and the betting to those who want him to get to the Swamp Thing things are happening and coming quicker and quicker as it feels like the culmination of the arc is coming fast and furious.
If there’s one thing that this series is doing extremely well so far it’s firmly planting him in the mainstream universe while still being able to maintain some of that Vertigo feel. It’s exciting to see John trying to re-establish himself in London again and reverting to his usual ways while still trying to be better than he once was.