Reviews: Swamp Thing #4 and Animal Man#4 The Rot continues to run wild

Its issue four for both books and Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire continue to push the story of The Green , The Red and The Rot into a head on collision between Animal Man and Swamp Thing. This month both books show their hand a bit more as the plot begins to thicken and “flesh” out (pun intended). With out further adieu , lets begin the reviews.

Swamp Thing #4

Story by: Scott Snyder

Art by: Marco Rudy , Michel Lacombe , Sean Parsons

Review Score: 9.5/10

After last issues introduction to The Rots new Avatar, William makes his way into the Rural town of Western Texas. Immediately Snyder shows us just how corrupted William has become from the Rot . All it takes is a Waiter to get the flavor of his Milkshake wrong and William goes all Damien from the Omen on the place. Snyder tells us exactly what Williams powers are now. Hes able to control and manipulate all forms of death and decay in this world. Which includes Tumors, abscess teeth, arthritis, you name it . Again Snyder doesn’t hesitate to amp up the gore while also managing to have fun in the process, showing the Diner in shambles and closing it out on a final panel that shows us that yes William did finish Milkshake before leaving . Scott Snyder creates a very morbid situation by giving a child this power , its small touches like this that add to the over all sense of macabre that he creates issue after issue .

We are then taken back to Alec Holland and Williams’ sister continuing their search for her disturbed brother. They end up discovering the carnage William left at the Diner and decide to get some rest before they continue their search for him in the morning. Alec starts to Dream and Snyder uses this opportunity to delve a bit deeper into the history of the Green and its continuous battle with The Rot. You get a sense that The Green may have some other motivations they are hiding from Alec . The Parliament of Trees continues to tell Alec that the girl he is with will be his undoing , but Alec’s former memories of her as Swampthing prevent him from taking her life. Page after page we are treated with amazing panels and splash pages showing us the war between both The Green and The Rot.

The art again continues to be one of the most amazing and consistent aspects of this comic. The shock here in this issue is that it is handled by three different artists this time around. Yannick Paquette is nowhere to be seen inside this issue but  you wouldn’t be able to tell by how great these three artist are at emulating his style. Marco Rudy , Michel Lancombe , and Sean Parsons all put in amazing work and detail in issue 4. The dream sequences alone are nothing short of amazing and the use of plant foliage to break up the panels is back . Dino Zombies have never looked cooler. I especially was taken back by one page where both Alec and Williams’ sister are sleeping next to each other. His side full of foliage and vibrant colors and hers turning into barren land and ash. The most shocking thing here is that even with multiple artists in one issue , the art never suffers or severely changes from one style to another.

Alec chooses to follow his mystery woman towards William , however it seems William has found a perfect place to hide out at , Texas’s largest Meat processing plant aka Slaughter House. What this means for Alec , tons and tons of dead cattle heading his way next issue. What it means for us the readers , I’m willing to bet another great issue to Snyder’s already strong run.

Animal Man#4

Story By: Jeff Lemire

Art By: Travel Foreman

Review Score: 8.5 / 10

Who would have predicted that out of all of DC’s new 52 titles few would be as good as Animal Man has been over the last three issues . I’ve been consistently surprised with how fresh Jeff Lemire’s take on Animal Man has been.The Baker family are still split up during this issue, with both Maxine and Buddy inside of the Red and Buddy’s wife Ellen and son Cliff heading towards their safe house . The problem is the detective that’s driving them is actually one of the Hunter’s Three . Travel Foreman shows us as much by illustrating a peaceful drive  down a scenic road while also showing us the whereabouts of the real Detective, who is stuffed in the trunk of said car.

Inside of the Red Buddy continues to battle the remaining hunters and is not doing so well . The Totems inside the Red tell Maxine she must step in to help and she does sending the Hunters out of the Red and healing her father from his wounds. We learn that the Hunters Three are  former Animal Totems who were infected by The Rot and now are after Maxine who is the last remaining living Avatar. Lemire finally decides to bring Alec Holland into the mix and we are seeing the beginnings of the crossover both Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire have planned for Swampthing and Animal Man.

Travel Foremans art continues to impress me . He has a sick sense of pacing and being able to capture emotion panel after panel. This is a comic that lives and breathes of creative art and page layouts . You get a sense that Foreman truly pushes himself to create something different you haven’t seen before . All the while managing to keep us not confused with what is happening on any given page .

At the end of the issue Maxine , and Buddy along with their new cat Socks are heading towards the remaining family members . This issue feels a bit too small for my liking but that’s because it’s just so Damn good. Next issue looks like it will be the end of the first chapter to what I’m hoping is a series that will last for years to come.

Mike DeVivo

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