by Lindsay Young, CMRO Contributing Writer
Saga of the Swamp Thing (Special Edition)
Written by Alan Moore
Published: May 2009
While I’ve read plenty of Alan Moore’s work before – even reviewed some of it – this is my first experience with his Swamp Thing work, and in all honesty, my first time checking out the character itself. Moore’s writing is always memorable and provocative, even when I don’t like his story choices, and the man can write pretty stunning narration when he wants to. This issue doesn’t lack his deft touch with words, and at the very least, it has that going for it.
I’m not really a fan of the art style here, which succeeds in being intense, but not very appealing to the eye. There are too many scratchy lines, and there doesn’t seem to be much weight to the human characters, nor much consistency in their expressions. While it’s coloured nicely – adding to that intensity, which is fairly effective when it matters – but I find the layout of the panels somewhat cluttered and confusing. While the writing is its strength, it’s almost too wordy.
That said, it’s a pretty powerful issue. The language really gets across the weight and cruelty of the violence going on, and the twisted, grotesque nature of the swamp thing is nicely undercut by the inherent tragedy of his existence. It’s a pretty frightening premise, especially for the swamp thing itself, whose very existence invites countless philosophical quandaries. The divide between man and nature is questioned here, between life and intelligence, and it’s a rewarding issue on multiple levels.
It works mainly because the emotions are so raw, and the dilemmas so very human. I’m disappointed in myself that I haven’t given the title a chance before now, because despite the awkward layout of the panels, I found this issue utterly absorbing, with an emotional depth and weight that’s lacking in many titles.