It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Scott Snyder’s work. In fact, pretty much all of the comic book readers here at Let Us Nerd are. I can name at least three other writers on this very blog that count the days between issues of Scott Snyder’s and Greg Capullo’s Batman. As I write this, I look forward to see where issue #14 will take our beloved Bats and his horrific harlequin of horrors, Joker.
But, that’s not for another week. This week is one drenched in Rot.
Swamp Thing #14 continues Avatar of the Green Alec Holland’s journeys into the sinister Rotworld, a twisted mockery of New Earth that came about after Swamp Thing and Animal Man went through the portal to the Rot. They re-emerged one year later (at the end of Swamp Thing #12) to find that the world had been overrun by Anton Arcane, Warrior King of the Rot, and his horrific Unmen.
This issue begins with Swamp Thing drained of his power and surrounded by haunting citizens of Rotworld. Fortunately, the regrowing Parliament of Trees that was able to survive the onslaught of the Rot manages to break through the Rot and send the tiniest vine as a lifeline to Alec. Alec is able to tap into the vine and the entire power of the Parliament and the Green is bestowed upon him. He immediately uses this power to do one of the coolest things I have ever seen Swamp Thing do:
He becomes gigantic and stomps the hell out of everyone.
Swamp Thing and Deadman (Boston Brand, for those of you who don’t know) set out to find the only person that could be working on a weapon to drive back the Rot and destroy it permanent. They never say exactly who they are looking for, but they do reference going to a city famous in the DC Universe…
As Alec and Boston go on there merry way, the narrative pulls back to show Abigail Arcane in her former hometown in the shadiest part of Eastern Europe ever. She survives the plane crash at the end of issue #13 and penetrates deep into the mountains to find the castle of her uncle Anton. For some reason, she assumes she can stop him. Apparently, she can’t, because this portion is painted as a flashback, and everyone except Swamp Thing swears she died at the hands of Anton.
However, once Swamp Thing and Deadman near the coast, Swampy makes with the awesome vegetation constructs like some hippie Green Lantern and crafts a boat out of giant leaves. It’s actually much cooler than I’m making it sound, trust me. But on the boat, Boston starts giving Alec his condolences. Alec tells him to stop because he can still feel Abigail’s life force and knows that she is still alive somewhere in the world.
Swampy gets all gushy for a minute, talking about how without her, “there’s nothing left- wait…”
“Under the boat, there’s…”
BAM! Rotworld Starro smashes the boat within his putrid grasp.
From the depths of the River of Rot, little William Arcane (who plagued Alec and Abigail throughout the first story line of this volume) rises and takes his place atop the wreckage, claiming that his uncle told him he was king of those dead waters.
So, let’s recap:
1. Abigail Arcane is probably dead.
2. Swamp Thing is in a heap of trouble, especially since his powers fade the farther he moves from the Parliament.
3. Deadman is… well, he was dead to begin with. So… well, you got me on that one, Scott. Good job.
4. Poison Ivy is left with the Parliament of Trees as their last line of defense against onslaughts of the encroaching Rot.
Looks to me like everyone is getting their asses handed to them. Abby, Swampy, Boston, Ivy, even Earth is getting the crap kicked out of it by the Rot.
How will Swamp Thing defeat the Rot, restore the Green and save the world? I suppose that’ll take at least another month to reveal itself.
As for now, I’m content to reread the 14 monthly issues and 1 annual that Snyder has carefully crafted so far. It’s a fantastic read for anyone who has been a longtime Swamp Thing fan, anyone who loves the writing of Scott Snyder, or anyone who wants to see some of the most deranged things a major comic company will print in a higher tier book.
Seriously. Some of the images are completely twisted, but that’s one of the things that I love so much about Swamp Thing. After all, he’s a sentient lumbering vegetable man and kills horrific rotting animated corpses and gets the short-haired hottie in the end. What’s not to like about that?