Comics Anonymous

December 15, 2012, 8:30 am
Filed under: Features | Tags: , , , , ,

Swamp Thing 7

So it turns out that two of the best books of the DCNew52 relaunch are not actually proper DC books after all. With DC pinching more and more of if its imprint ideas, it goes to show that Vertigo is really where they should be focusing their attention – but I’ve already had my big Vertigo rant a few days ago, so let’s talk about the comics instead!

Aside from Batman, Swampy and Animal Man are the only other two DC books I can truly say have been consistently great this year. Both of them have benefited greatly from being written by two guys who do something very well – forward planning. All too often in monthly DC and Marvel books you could be mistaken for thinking that some of the stories had been whipped up a week before going to print, with no real bearing on what happened last month and no real sense of forward motion. Although it’s not always possible to do long sprawling 10-12 issue arcs, I’m not a big fan of mini 3-4 issue stories, even if this does seem like a better business strategy to get new readers in more often when they can advertise the next “NEW BIG STORY”.

Which is why I’ve loved Swampy and Animal Man. Full disclosure, I hadn’t and still haven’t read any of the original comics pre-New52. Does that make me a bad person? Probably, but at least I can comment on how the books have made themselves appealing to those who weren’t already a fan of the characters. In both books it’s very apparent that we’ve come into a mid-point in each character’s existence, there’s plenty acknowledgement of what came before, but not so much that it needs a glossary at the back to fill you in on what it all means. Was I excited at the prospect of Alec Holland becoming Swamp Thing again? Hell yeah! After six issues of Alec trying to escape his destiny, it was super exciting to see what the big man was really made of. Turns out it was branches for horns!

The reason I’ve include both comics in this highlight is because this is exactly how they should be read and enjoyed – I’m not sure either would be as much fun if they weren’t released in the same week. It was clear going into both of these series that Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire had already plotted all the way down to the Rot World crossover, and because of this it felt like every week was a crossover, not just the Rot World “event”. Every month is like going along to a Double Feature film – I’ll always make sure that if I’m going to sit down and read one issue, I have to make sure I have time to read the other.

Of course this all comes shortly after the news that Snyder and Paquette will be leaving Swamp Thing after issue 18. It’s sad news, but I can at least be hugely grateful for what both have done with the series. Creators can’t stay on a book forever (unless you’re Geoff Johns on Green Lantern) and I’m just as excited to see what Snyder will do next as I am sad to see him leave Swampy. I just hope that whoever picks up from them is ready to be good friends with Jeff Lemire so that this excellent duo of comics can retain the top spot on my DC reading list.

Craig @hastiecraig

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