Swamp Thing Vs Animal Man – ROUND 4

Animal Man and Swamp Thing, two of DC’s best titles, are carefully interconnected. Not only are their storyline slowly interweaving, but they will ultimately lead into a thirteen (ish) issue long crossover “DeadWorld” next year. And they’re both released during the same week, putting them in direct competition with each other.

In week one! Animal Man just about edged victory.
Week two! Again, Animal Man took the crown.
Week three! Swamp Thing jumped into the lead, and claimed success.

How will week four fare?

Swamp Thing #4 sees artist Marco Rudy step in to cover for Yanick Paquette, and managed to last an entire issue without me realising that this was a different artist. His layouts and style are uncannily similar to those used by Paquette, and his range of expression is just as impressive. Aided by colourist David Baron, Rudy offers some gorgeous full-page splash sequences, and also draws a parrot into one of the scenes (cementing him as a new ComVan favourite). Scott Snyder continues to offer us some of the most entertaining exposition sequences in recent memory, with almost every page giving us some kind of look back to the past, and explanation of the future. Now, we’ve told you that this is entertaining, so forgive us for also saying that the plot is starting to wear a little thin. Essentially nothing has actually happened for four issues now, and whilst we appreciate Snyder’s ability to draw out the tension – please have something happen next issue! The spot-on characterisation and development will sustain us for the time being, but it’d be really nice to see the plot move along.

Jeff Lemire offers a similar exposition-heavy story over in Animal Man #4, as Buddy Baker learns more about his origin and the fate of his daughter. But Lemire also progresses the plot, with things heating up for both Buddy and for the rest of his family. Maxine looks set to be the standout character of the issue for a long time, until suddenly… SOCKS jumps in. Socks is an avatar of The Red, and one of the powers-that-be who control Animal Man’s powers. He is also a giant cat, and can talk. WHAT MORE COULD ANYONE WANT FROM A COMIC?

Swamp Thing looks wonderful this issue. Snyder has a great ability to evoke horror in the readers, and the opening sequence displays that ability to sensational effect. The little boy, William, who can manipulate dead matter – causing humans to perish in the most disgusting ways imaginable – is a decent idea for a villain used masterfully.

Animal Man 4 has a talking cat in it.

Snyder’s pacing of Swamp Thing #4 may well be a little slow, but he still manages to keep the reader’s attention despite scores of exposition-heavy dialogue, shared between Alec Holland and Abigail Arcane (amazing surname). And despite the fact we still haven’t seen the actual Swamp Thing appear yet, the comic doesn’t feel at all like it’s short-changing the readers. Holland is fascinating as a character — realistic and yet otherworldly.

But he’s not a talking cat, is he?

Week 4’s winner — ANIMAL MAN!


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