Swamp Thing (2011) #17
Writers: Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andy Belanger
Published by DC Comics
While the “Swamp Thing”/”Animal Man” cross-over “Rotworld” has been ongoing only since issues #12, the two titles have been intertwined since the New 52 debuted one year and a half ago. The first issues of these comics introduced the concepts of the Green and the Red, the natural life force behind all plant life and all animal life on the planet. There exists a third, the Rot, the natural life force behind death and decay, and a balance between these three forces is essential to maintaining order and the cycle of life on Earth. Anton Arcane, the Avatar of the Rot, has been staging to take control of all three forces, and in doing so, having complete control of the Earth itself, and Swamp Thing and Animal Man are forced to work together to restore the natural balance.
This has been an epic story Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire have been telling over the last year and a half, and both comics have been a consistent high point of the New 52, issue by issue. Known for their comics published by Vertigo, the return of these characters to the main DC universe and continuity does not tone down their content in the slightest. These are grisly and graphic horror stories that explore the human relationship with the natural world, adult romantic relationships and family drama, and regularly feature disturbing creature designs that would make Clive Barker proud.
This month’s issues are billed as “Rotworld: Finale” parts one and two, and bring the lengthy story at last to its climax, but not completely to its end. The last pages of “Swamp Thing” #17 (“Rotworld: Finale Part Two”) seem abrupt, but all will be resolved in next month’s epilogue, which will be Snyder’s final issue on the comic. It is unfortunate to see a tremendous run end so soon, and his work on this title will not be forgotten. Snyder’s work on the character has made Swamp Thing the most must-read he has been since Alan Moore’s legendary run in the 1980s. If Snyder were to stick around for 20 or 40 more issues, he may have even equaled Moore’s brilliant work. Charles Soule (“Twenty Seven”) will pick up writing for “Swamp Thing” with issue #19.
On the bright side, Jeff Lemire will not be leaving “Animal Man” anytime soon, and hopefully his astonishing work will continue to flourish for many more issues and story arcs. This is a very exciting time for both “Animal Man” and “Swamp Thing”. 18 months to tell one central story can be exhausting, and while the quality of these comics has been consistently high since their debut, it will be refreshing to see these comics go in new directions and take on new story arcs.