Review: ‘Future State: Swamp Thing’ #1 Horticultural Horror And Homage Make For A Great Debut Issue
by Olly MacNamee
Ram V and Mike Perkins deliver in spades in this moody and memorable debut issue of ‘Future State: Swamp Thing’ #1. While Ram V delivers an emotive and elegant script, Perkins provides the dark, detailed artwork that makes this one of the stand-out titles for me in the whole Future State slate of books. Homaging the past, while forging a new future for comicdom’s favourite muck monster.
Ram V and Mike Perkins have already left their mark on Swamp Thing with last year’s Halloween special in which the two put forward the idea that the Samp Thing is a eternal figure who has existed throughout time and with different folks being attached to this Protector of the Green. And so, as we journey to the year 4,500 and one of the more far-flung of DC Comics’ Future State slated titles, who knows what soul inhabits and inspires this particular Swamp Thing? But, it certainly a great excuse to lay down further roots (pardon the pun) ahead of their Swamp Thing ongoing in March.
With both the past and the future being settings for further chapters in the ongoing saga of this muck monster, Ram V and Perkins have been given a great opportunity to sow the seeds (look, these puns are just going to keep on coming, okay?) for future callbacks in their ongoing. It’s certainly makes for some very fertile ground (see what I mean about this puns?) and makes for the tastiest of entrées ahead of the main course.
Although, as you will find out for yourselves of you take my advise and grab this book, there are a few familiar faces that do tie this possibly new Swamp Thing to the past of one Alec Holland. That’s if my guesswork on the true identity of this two-issue series’ antagonist really is.
While Ram V beautifully delivers a script that is far more prosaic than your average comic book – and is all the better for it – Mike Perkins gives readers a masterclass on illustration. Fusing element of Steve Bissette and some flourishes of Berni Wrightson here and there in his line work Perkins own heavily detailed style does not suffer for it one bit. It is most definitely his distinctive artwork, but with subtle homages to the masterful work of Bissette before him. And, in Ram V’s words, there are echoes of the writing of Moore too. By that I mean his style is one of the more mature and poetic around in comics today. Blooming marvellous!
Also, there is the clear undeniable remixing by Ram V and Perkins of the classic Moore and Bissette groundbreaking ‘Anatomy Lesson’ episode, as they deliver their own take on it here. Here they include cut away finely detailed textbook-like diagrams of the vegetable bodies this Swamp Thing has brought to life as companionship or as a new species to roam the Earth. After all, we’ve all seen enough doomsday documentaries to realise the planet will once more take over when we have shuffled off this mortal coil. But, any long-term fan of the Swamp Thing will recognise these references in a heart beat. It’s a great way of paying homage to the past while staking a claim to Swampy going forward. Both of the creators certainly have a particular vegetable love for this guy.
In Future State: Swamp Thing #1, the Earth is not just one big plant nursery. There are some humans left, but it would seem the majority are up to no good. Not if their leader is who I think he is. There’s something archaic and arcane about this dude, who is only fleetingly seen in the climax of this issue. But when he is revealed you won’t soon forget his horrific features. Although it’s not the only intriguing element revealed in the last dying pages of this issue.
The darker shadowed artwork and earthier, organic colour palette from June Chung pervades this issue, only helping to foreshadow the impending doomsday scenario played out here. Dark, gothic and a great indicator of the forthcoming series’ tone.
A winner from cover to cover. So, why not take a leaf (last pun, I promise) out of my book, and go get yourself your own copy too.
Future State: Swamp Thing #1 is out now from DC Comics