Young Monsters in Love – review and analysis

Young Monsters in Love (2018)
-The following contains spoilers-

Along with the Winter Special, Swamp Thing fans were treated to another excellent story last week. Young Monsters in Love features, “Heart Shaped Box” a beautifully crafted story by Mark Russell and Frazier Irving. Those who expected the story to follow the narrative depicted on the cover by Kelley Jones were probably surprised by what they found within the book. I was.
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I’ve not seen such a crafted and stylized Swamp Thing book since Jon Muth’s “Roots”. Frazer Irving portrays Houma in a beautiful, twisted, Rockwellian, Dave McKean-like style. It’s delightful, inviting as it is mysterious, heart warming and slightly off-kilter.
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Swamp Thing is in love. He’s fallen for a botanist and has worked up the nerve to give her a valentine. Houma native and friend, Guillaume helps Swampy get a card from the general store.

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Unfortunately Swamp Thing isn’t impressed by the store’s silly selection.

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Russell and Irving take an eight page story and make it feel like so much more. The world they’ve developed is intriguing and I wanted to see so much more of it; even before finishing the story.  That’s what is magical about this short story. It’s like a good movie, you never want it to end.
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A look into the Swamp Thing Winter Special – review and analysis

Swamp Thing Winter Special (2018)
-The following contains spoilers-

The Winter Special came out on Wednesday and I was extremely excited to read Len’s last story with Kelley Jones, as well as Tom King and Jason Fabok’s one-shot, “The Talk of the Saints”. The book is a wonderful tribute to Len and Bernie, capturing the magic and effort they put into the character.
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Wein & Jones open up a fun filled can of worms, bringing Solomon Grundy, Matt Cable, Jim Gordon and Batman along for the ride in this first issue of what could have been a beautiful run. My imagination runs wild with what Len would have cooked up for our favorite muck man. I hope this unfinished storyline acts as a catalyst for a new on-going Swamp Thing series. Len certainly provides the spark.
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Before Len and Kelley tell their tale, Editor Rebecca Taylor introduces the story with a beautiful editor’s note.
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Len and Kelley’s story picks up where issue 6 (series 6) left off. Swamp Thing is in Houma and seems to be adjusting quite well, post-Arcane attack. Matt Cable has finally recovered from the trauma he sustained while being possessed by Anton Arcane.
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Swamp Thing pays Cable a visit as he’s preparing to check out of the hospital. Kelley Jones depicts a whimsical and grotesque Swampy, as he makes his way into Cable’s room. I’ve always loved Jones’ Swamp Thing designs. He provides the most imaginative and entertaining visuals, while staying within the realm of Horror that Bernie Wrightson established for the character.
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DC Holiday Special 2017

Swamp Thing
“The Echo of the Abyss”

Whenever a Holiday Special is released I always think, “there’s going to be a Christmas tree in the mix, there’s gotta be a Swamp Thing reference hidden in there somewhere.” Seems like a no brainer; just hide an inverted triangular nose/mouth shape amidst some shiny red ornaments. No such luck on the Swampy fur tree in this DC Holiday Special, but Swamp Thing is well represented as mistletoe…
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The Holiday Special houses eleven “festive fables” but I was only focused on one. I held off on writing about the short Swamp Thing holiday story because I didn’t want to spoil the good time for anyone. It’s such a short story, it wouldn’t take much to do so.

“The Echo of the Abyss” depicts Christmas for the crew members of Space Station Archer. They’ve been quarantined for the past six months because a nuclear war looms back on Earth. Supplies are running low along with moral. With it being Christmas and the news —of what seems like eminent doom for life on, and within proximity to Earth—from back home, crewman Ciampo is having a tough time keeping it together.
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Ciampo brought mistletoe aboard the Archer to celebrate the holidays. It appears Swamp Thing either stowed away via mistletoe or surfed through cosmic, organic matter to Space Station Archer. Either way, we’ve seen him do it before and he’s ready to spread some Christmas cheer and a little can-do attitude.
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Hearing the news from planet Earth, Ciampo stares into the abyss and sees only despair. His holiday spirit is swallowed by impending doom and negative thoughts. Rather than waiting to meet his demise, Ciampo decides to take matters into his hands and expedite the process. But, Swamp Thing is right on his heels…
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Swampy’s generation from the mistletoe is kind of gnarly and really cool! The first few panels of Swampy emerging from the mistletoe reminds me of Richard Corben’s work, but quickly turns into more of a new52 rendition.
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In Ciampo’s panicked state of mind, he wants to beat death to the chase by plunging into the void, and dragging the crew of Space Station Archer with him. Swamp Thing intervenes, asking Ciampo to appeal to humanity and look for hope, not darkness.
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Swampy tries his damnedest but Ciampo is off the rails and he needs to be tied up until he can calm down. Thankfully, Swampy uses the green to ease his mind and leach out the negative thoughts… kind of like instant meditation brought to you by the Green.
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“before, I only saw death. Now I only see life.”

Swamp Thing saves the Space Station from Ciampo’s tantrum and fortifies the space stations organic-based supplies. He may have saved the day but I’m not entirely sure how the crew members will fare in the days to come. During battle, he says to Ciampo, “Death… is a phase… but it’s not your time.” Perhaps Swamp Thing will swing down to Earth and provide the same hope for those with their triggers on the nuclear weapons. Perhaps Swamp Thing wanted to give the crew members of Space Station Archer one final glimpse of happiness and hope before it all goes to hell.
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One thing is for sure, I really enjoyed this story. What rang out to me most was Swamp Thing urging Ciampo to keep his composure under fire. I’ve always felt, it’s not so much what you face in life but how you face it. A lot can be said for someone by how they handle difficult situations. Staying true to your morals, lifting others up in a time of turmoil, and contributing to the solution, not the problem are traits that usher hope into the future.

I hope everyone, everywhere (even The Bearded Men of Space Station 11) has a wonderful holiday season.
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The Hellblazer 15 features Barley Thing

The Hellblazer 15 (2017)
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The latest Swamp Thing appearance comes in the form of a drunken, alternate reality situation.

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The series still hasn’t done much since it began. It’s another Constantine muck-about, feeling like a place holder. This unfortunately sounds more negative than I intend. I greatly appreciate the efforts put into my favorite characters and books, but It feels like each issue has been an uninteresting glimpse into a much more interesting story.

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Constantine hops into a cadaver to visit a demon bar, where he drinks mead. The mead allows John to manipulate his reality (booze? really…huh) but not without the demons working on an angle too.
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In one of Constantine’s mead trips, he encounters the JLA. They’re hoping to retrieve John’s spirit. Swampy looks like the Incredible Hulk.
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In this reality, Swamp Thing might be in the JLA. He’s helped out plenty already, he deserves a spot.

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This issue seems over complicated and repeats scenarios that we’ve seen Constantine in so many times before; even in recent books like, Section 8 and the New 52 Constantine series. Seeing John slugging down whiskey, scratching his butt while getting out of bed is like having to watch Bruce Wayne’s origin story. Constantine told through a different lense would been refreshing.

During the melee with the JLA, Constantine finds refuge in a bar. Swamp Thing finds his way in as, Barley Man!
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With a few more swigs of magical mead, the fight is over and John’s naked in bed.
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Swamp Thing’s Metal 2

Dark Nights: Metal 2 (2017)

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Like most of Swampy’s recent appearances, this one is fleeting and seemingly random, but very cool! JR Jr even drew a variant cover featuring Swamp Thing (above).

The Parliament of Trees was referenced in the prelude to Dark Nights: Metal and we didn’t have to wait long to see Swamp Thing within this, issue 2!

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For those unfamiliar with the Metal series, Batman is in search of a powerful, ancient, other-worldly metal substance and he’s found himself in a, ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ scenario. The planet is at risk and all hands are on deck. Some DCU Heroes aim to stop Batman from finding the metal that could destroy mankind and who knows what else. Those allied with Batman are doing all they can to assist him in finding the metal, to destroy what lies behind it. It’s a little convoluted but I’m on board and am enjoying the series so far.
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Batman is being tracked by the JLA within the Amazon Rainforest.
Sound familiar? That’s right, it’s home to the Parliament of Trees! It appears, Batman and his crew of helpers have lured the JLA into the Amazon and they’re in for a surprise!

prepare for “the terrible Green beat-down”!
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Swamp Thing: The Gortons Fisherman

Harley Quinn 25th Anniversary Special 1 (2017)
Harley Quinn & Friends in… Somewhere That’s Green
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Within Harley’s Anniversary issue lies a short story featuring Swamp Thing. This story is bonkers in the best way! I stopped a few times to laugh and ask, “what the hell is going on?”. I waited a week to write about it, hoping folks have had a chance to check it out. If you haven’t yet, please notice spoilers await.

I’ve not heard much chat about this appearances from fellow muck maniacs. It’s an extremely fun and flippant Swampy appearance that seems fitting, in light of his recent, random appearances (comics as well as film). I’m thinking it may fall in the ol’ parody category.

New York is in a panic, bracing for impact as hurricane Jenny approaches. Harley and Ivy are cool as cucumbers, while the locals are shedding their humanity.
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Harley and Ivy navigate through the pre-storm chaos to the produce section.
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Speaking of cool cucumbers, Swampy doesn’t spring from produce stands enough. More of that would be great.
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Swampy’s come for Dr Isley, looking to take her within the Green to assist in stopping hurricane Jenny. I bet he’s thinking, “with our powers… combined… we can… pull a Captain Planet… maneuver!”
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DC Bombshells 33

I’m having a tough time keeping the ST pull list updated with all of the recent Swamp Thing appearances. Not a bad problem to have for us muck maniacs. This week, DC’s Bombshells, “The Seige of Leningrad” came to a conclusion. Numerous plot points were woven together and written quite beautifully. From the strife and termoil within the storyline grew an uplifting message. Since I’ve only been reading the issues that feature Swamp Thing and Poison Ivy, I’m looking forward to circling back and fill in the gaps of what I’ve been missing out on.
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I’m happy to announce, that after 3 issues of single panel appearances, Swamp Thing has been upgraded to multi-panel status! When I started reading the book last night, I did think that this first page could surely be the only panel he’d appear in; still wrestling with those damn tanks.
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“Swamp Thing, the most reliable Nazi ass-kicking character in the DCUs! Tanks? No problem. Villains? Gulp…” Yes! Swamp Thing gets to eat someone in this issue!
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If you have not read this book and plan to do so, there be spoilers ahead, matey.

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