Kamei’s Last Stand: Reviewing ‘The Swamp Thing’ #15

by Olly MacNamee


Levi Kamei returns as a very different Swamp Thing in this penultimate issue from Ram V and Mike Perkins. Like knot weed, the various strands of this saga entwine together in a brutal ballet with the Earth at stake. Can Kamei’s unconventional but hopeful solution save the day?


Transformed through the power of will, and Hal Jordan’s handy power ring, Levi Kamei, the Swamp Thing, is the last hope for the Earth’s survival as he tries to bring sense to the senseless in The Swamp Thing #15. A war is raging on three fronts, with the Parliament of Gears battling against Cameo’s brother, Jacob, a vengeful new champion of the Green, while the plant-based alien armada waits above the planet. The stakes have never been higher and, with this penultimate issue, this is were it’s all been leading. A gargantuan showdown with everything to lose.

Luckily then, this Swamp Thing is not your stereotypical superhero. His is a more negotiated attempt at ending this conflict which bring together so many strands of Ram V and Mike Perkins saga as we near the endgame. And it is fitting that this Swamp Thing should look to a more cerebral solution. After all, this has been a cerebral series with art that has at times been visceral, but at other times ethereal. Here though, it is grandiose, grimy and beautifully baroque. A clash of heavy metal industry, strangled out by vines and tendrils. The fluidly organic and the industrially angular consumed and intwined; the gothic ideal of duality but on an awe inspiring, sublime level. And captured with abandon by Mike Perkins with his style that seems to run as a stream of conscious across the page sometimes, when you take in the ever-changing Swamp Thing here, and in past issues. The industrial beast are a steampunk vision birthed of a Giovanni Piranesi-infused nightmare. A savage beauty to match the high standard of Ram V’s prosaic words. 

Mike Spicer’s colours again add depth and tone to the issue, communicating the contrast between the organic and the inorganic upon pages bursting at the seams with detail, while Aditya Bidikar’s choice of word ballon and font designs helps the reader navigate what can sometimes seem opaque. Especially when the narration seems to float devoid of any designated character, much like voice overs in films. With so much dialogue and some rather intellectual ideas to digest, this subtle signposting really helps anchor the reader, I can tell you.

The Swamp Thing #15  is epic in scale and epic in execution and out now from DC Comics.

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