Animal Man # 17 and Swamp Thing #17
This is it. The end of Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire’s epic, “Rotworld”. After unspooling in the past months in the pages of Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., the fight to save the planet from The Rot and rescue Swampy’s love Abigail and Buddy Baker’s daughter Maxine ends here. Taking place across both issue 17’s of Animal Man and Swamp Thing, writers Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder give us a finale that is extremely unexpected, and may not entirely sit well with some.
the attack on Anton Arcane’s stronghold starts off in Animal Man, as Buddy Baker and his rag tag crew fight off hordes of Rot infected heroes. This battle is an absolute blast, with a lot of unexpected deaths and surprises. Seeing a rot-infected Flash lay waste to all in his path was very cool, and Frankenstein’s battle with Wonder Woman was another fun surprise. At the same time, Swamp Thing and his band of merry men arrive on the opposite side of the tower, and it isn’t until well into the battle that the two heroes meet up with one another, something that hasn’t happened since the beginning of “Rotworld” , way back in issue #11 of both series. While it is fun seeing these two characters finally meet up, I did think the chance meeting of the two of them being in the same place at the same time was a tad bit too coincidental. Regardless, these are still two hugely entertaining issues. There’s an extremely awesome moment in Animal Man revolving around Frankenstein, but I’ll leave that for you to discover in the pages.
While Animal Man focuses on the battle, Swamp Thing focuses on the final push to save the world from the Rot. Picking up immediately after Animal Man‘s jaw dropping finale, Baker and Swamp Thing must both push through horrific tragedy to help our world. Of the two, I really really felt for Baker more. That’s not to say that Swamp Thing’s loss is less of one than Baker’s, but for some reason I really feel for a guy who was fighting for his family than just his girlfriend. However, the two successfully complete their plan, even if Arcane gets away in the end. I’m still not completely sold on the ending here, as it feels like this isn’t the “real” ending (and according to the solicits for issue 18 of both series, I think I’m right).
Timothy Green II and Steve Pugh handle the art duties on Animal Man, while Swamp Thing newcomer Andrew Belanger handles the art duties in Green Jeans’ book. All three are excellent. Pugh and Green really sell home the horrific creatures that the heroes o the DC universe have turned into thanks to the Rot, and once again insure that they’ll haunt my dreams. Belanger’s pencil work is a little more cartoony than I’m used to on Swamp Thing, but I really enjoyed his work here. Here’s hoping he gets some more Swampy work in the future.
So “The Rot” is over, and while it didn’t end quite the way I thought it would, I still had a blast reading it. Easily two of DC’s best books, Animal Man and Swamp Thing really shined during this crossover. In fact, I hope the big two follow Snyder and Lemire’s model for upcoming events. Lord knows it’s easier (and cheaper) to follow 2-3 books in a crossover than 15. So long “Rotworld”, I’ll miss you.
Now this is what I’m talking about. Oliver Queen has long been a character that I’ve wanted to get into, but aside from Kevin Smith’s run on the character, I just couldn’t. With the New 52 initiative, I tried once again to give the Emerald Archer a shot, and what I found was one of the worst books in the DC staple. As an unapologetic fan of Arrow, CW’s salmon-ladder sponsored super-soap, my interest in the Green Arrow comic was rekindled. Lucky for me, Animal Man scribe Jeff Lemire has started writing the book with I, Vampire artist Andrea Sorrentino with this very issue. It’s like DC planned this or something.
I should mention right away that Lemire doesn’t try to fit the new 52 Oliver Queen into the same mold as the one appearing shirtless on TV every week. Instead, he goes down the well-tread ground of “destroying the hero in order to build him back up”, something which seems to happen to Daredevil every week. However, here it works fairly well, even if it doesn’t affect me nearly as much as if I read Green Arrow since issue 1. Lemire gives us a quick look into who Oliver Queen is, what his faults are as a hero, and then kicks the action into high gear, all the while introducing us to a new foe who has some mysterious ties to Oliver’s past.
Andrea Sorrentino, already a favorite of mine from I, Vampire, kills it in this book. His art has a ton of atmosphere and moodiness to it, and while I didn’t think it would fit with a character like Green Arrow, I’m gladly eating my words now. Holy crap is this good. Fans of Arrow, snag this bad boy up if you can. Fans of Oliver Queen who dropped the book after his “New 52” debut? Breathe easy, as all signs point the Star City protector being in good hands. This is sure to be the start of something really cool, and I’m very intrigued to see where this goes. The only thing it’s missing?
Salmon ladder workouts.
Jonwahizzle is a jack of all trades: Educator, comic book slinger for Jetpack Comics, and member of Another Let Down. Follow him on twitter and check out his blog, The Collective: Examples of Nerdery for more!
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