Graphic Novel/Comics Review

Swamp Thing: Bad Seed

(2004) Andy Diggle and Enrique Breccia, Titan Books, 8.99, trdpbk, 144pp, ISBN 1-840-23954-9

This collects issues 1-6 of the current Swamp Thing title. After Alan Moore's run on the title ended back in September 1987, the book went downhill; not too rapidly (and it had a hell of a height from which to fall), but steadily nonetheless, until I gave up on it half way through the Nancy Collins run. So, I wanted to like the new incarnation, honestly I did and, at first glance, at least the artwork seemed good. In some places, better than good. But even it is inconsistent, to say the least. And the writing, story and characterisation is, well, just plain awful. It's not that I mind the resurrection of Sargon the Sorceror, killed off by Moore; after all, dead comics characters come back to life all the time. And it's not that I necessarily mind simple continuity errors (for instance John Constantine raising Alec Holland's body from the swamp, though the remains were in fact reburied by the Swamp Thing back in "The Burial"), though in fact such errors do niggle. What I can't stand is characters acting contrary to personalities established over a decade and a half, just for the sake of change (which is to say that certain interpretations of certain characters, for instance Abby Cable and John Constantine, are so alien as to have the readers wonder if these really are who they seem to be); and I can't stand shoddy writing and a facile story for the sake of making an impact ("Hey look; we're here and we've taken over. Aren't we cool!"), especially considering that Moore made his impact with a story as subtle as "The Anatomy Lesson". Now, to give the writer the benefit of the doubt, and considering where it's implicit that he had to pick up from, maybe this was just a 'deck-clearing' exercise and, with some kind of status quo restored, perhaps things'll get better. But I won't be holding my breath.

Tony Chester

See also: Swamp Thing: A Murder of Crows and Swamp Thing: RegenesisBad Seed.

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