I assumed Collins would handle the return of Arcane, Alec’s embrace with Lady Jane and everything else this issue rather poorly. But she outdoes herself. It’s even worse than expected–possibly because Arcane reveals himself here, which seems somewhat early. But there are a lot of suspects for Collins’s worst move.
First, Alec and Lady Jane get busy. Alec thinks about how much better it is than with Abby. Meanwhile–a day or two after leaving her family–Abby’s going out on a date with some guy. Now, an implication could be neither wanted the romance (and Collins directly suggests it in a flashback) but just got thrown into it.
Then, you know, they had a kid. Except both ignore the kid to get busy with members of their own species and bad things happen.
Russell Braun’s pencils don’t help things either. All his figures are stunted.
It’s entirely dreadful.
Cross Pollination; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Russell Braun; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.
Let’s see. Of all the lame turns in this issue, I think Tefé all of a sudden being old enough to form questions is the worst. She’s concerned about Alec, who has rooted in his sorrow at Abby’s leaving him.
Abby, meanwhile, has already found a new romantic interest thanks to Constantine. It’s all very contrived–and unclear how the new guy is a better choice for her than Chester, except maybe he’s taller. Collins is all of a sudden cheapening the relationship between Alec and Abby. It’s unclear why, especially since it’s requiring her to make big changes in the characters. Not just as how others wrote them, but how she herself did.
Oh, and Arcane is possessing Sunderland. It combines Swamp Thing’s two main villains, but removes half the personality. It’s a really lame move, like all the other ones this issue.
The comic’s become a train wreck.
Marital Problems; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.
What’s so funny about this issue is how Collins clearly thinks she’s telling it from Abby’s point of view. Besides the physiologically unlikely scene where Alec cries, most of the comic–the significant bits anyway–follows Abby. And Collins also does have Chester perv on her. Literally a moment after she has a big fight with Alec. No wonder Liz left him.
Oh, and Collins does touch on Abby abandoning Tefé. Alec mentions it and Abby tells him not to “throw it in her face” or something to that effect. But she never talks about it. If Collins were telling the story from Abby’s point of view, her decisions would make sense. They might not seem rational, but they would make sense from the character’s viewpoint.
But not here.
It’s a weak issue. Luckily, with Eaton’s hit or miss (mostly miss) art, it almost never reminds of good Swamp Thing.
She’s Leaving Houma; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.
Is Eaton trying visually infer romantic feelings between Chester and Abby? It’s the first such occurrence and I’m sure it’s unintentional, but it’s far more interesting than anything else this issue.
Except maybe the stuff with Tefé. When she gets tough towards the end of the issue, Collins writes the scene rather well. Otherwise, the issue’s a mess.
One character dies in front of a sheriff, who doesn’t even file a report, then Abby runs off in the middle of a huge tragedy. She abandons Tefé, which seems somewhat unlikely. Then there are all the scenes with the giant petal monster. They don’t work because it’s viciously killing a bunch of people instead of being a fun giant monster fight.
It’s not the worst issue Collins has written lately, but it’s far from good or even mediocre.
And Swamp Thing still rocking his inexplicable, dumb-looking, shaggy grey hair cut.
Daisy Chain; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.
Collins can’t write a fight issue, especially not one where she desperately needs one side to win to progress Swamp Thing. Or maybe it should have gone the other way. She’s got Alec fighting clone Alec. Regular Alec now looks grey with antlers, clone Alec is the traditional green Swamp Thing.
They fight for seventy-five percent of the comic, then Alec ends the fight in a page. He just didn’t know his elemental powers.
It’s really lame and not just because Collins has made Alec so unaware of himself he’s a painful protagonist. The other lame things involve a former Nazi gubernatorial candidate trying to take Tefé away (through the law). It’s both odd and inept, with Collins’s attempts at social commentary flopping.
The best part of the comic is how fast it reads. I am not entirely which of the many options I would pick for worst part.
Home Body; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.
I don’t remember Swamp Thing ever having a costume change before. Except for special occasions, like when he went through space or time. Collins and Eaton give Alec a costume change, complete with rock star hair and spikes… it’s awful and it’s dumb. Even though Alec can travel from place to place, he can’t grow his body in some other way.
More of Collins’s convenient power limitations for the character.
Most of the issue is spent getting Alec well again after the toxic waste. He meets some elves and they use magic to fix him up; he looks funny because of the elf magic. Collins’s pacing of the issue is atrocious. The introduction of a strange race reminds of the old Wein clockmaker children issue except Collins grossly misspends the issue’s time.
And these days, it’s always bad when Swamp Thing reminds of older issues. Collins’s stuff is never better.
Folk Remedy; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.
I think I figured out what Collins is doing with Abby. She’s turned her into a generic nagging wife character; gone is the Eastern Europe history, gone is motherhood, gone is her strength as a person. Even though writers have occasionally been incompetent when it comes to Abby… Collins is the first to reduce her to a gender role. It’s odd. And rather unfortunate, because Swamp Thing needs Abby.
There’s one good bit when Tefé’s little flower people getting free will and warring with one another. It’s almost enough to offset the continued indication Alec and Abby have “regular”–let’s try mammalian–sex. Maybe I was wrong, maybe Collins hasn’t seen Return of Swamp Thing because even it got that activity right. By using the Moore explanation, of course.
Speaking of Moore, Collins continues to break apart lots of his work. It’s an okay issue in a now clumsy series.
Home Sick; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.
Eaton (and Collins) give Swamp Thing long hair. Why? Because he’s losing control thanks to toxic waste and forgetting he’s not a man. Or something along those lines.
Apparently Alec can reanimate dead wood–a baseball bat–but he can’t get rid of this toxic waste. And Abby’s allowed to leave the swamp to visit Chester but Alec can’t leave to save the world.
Oh, can’t forget–Chester never thinks to say goodbye to Alec too.
Reading Swamp Thing is now just watching Collins make every single character unlikable and unsympathetic–hell, she never rehabilitated Tefé from killing her cat. It doesn’t offer anything else, except endless bad narration from Alec.
Someone else probably could have made the mundane plot work, but Collins isn’t cutting it. There’s nothing in the comic she seems to like. One can’t blame her, there’s nothing to like.
Well, it does read fast, I suppose.
Swamp Fever; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.
Straczynski turns Moloch into the martyr of Watchmen. And he gets away with it. Moloch’s such a broken soul, it’s feasible he’d bend to Adrian’s will. As for Adrian, who practically gets more page time here than Moloch, Straczynski seems to recognize what he and Moloch have in common… they’re both illusionists. Adrian’s convincing Moloch he’s doing the right thing, which includes killing lots of people.
The issue covers the time Moloch leaves prison–Adrian gives him a job fit for a member of the Red-Headed League–up until his death. Because Straczynski is so concerned with explaining another side of Adrian’s master plan, Moloch doesn’t really get to do much. He’s broken and sympathetic, nothing more. It’s too bad, since Straczynski writes him pretty well. He’s almost lovable.
Oh, and the pirate backup finally finishes. Higgins uses a lot of color for it but it’s still utter crap.
The Eleven-Thirty Absolution; writer, J. Michael Straczynski; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Trish Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair, Wide Were His Dragon Wings, Conclusion; writer, artist and colorist, John Higgins; letterer, Sal Cipriano. Editors, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.
Abby gets busy with the mindless clone Alec left–apparently all he programmed it to do was get busy, as it does nothing else all issue (and Collins’s understanding of Alec and Abby’s sex life is totally different from Moore or Veitch’s).
There’s a lot of narration from Alec about the Green and pollution and other malarkey. It’s all pointless, all questionably written, all a waste of time. Collins’s writing is stale at this point. She clearly didn’t have the mileage for an ongoing; it’s quite unfortunate as she started strong. Maybe editorial was just bad.
Eaton has some bad art this issue I’m sure, but the rest of the comic’s so lame it doesn’t matter.
Collins is doing whatever she can to make Abby the bad guy, even when Alec is wrong too. There’s no communication between them anymore. Collins unfortunately just uses their dialogue to propel the plot.
Toxic Shock; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.
Even though Moloch appears in the original Watchmen, there’s a lot more talk about him than show. J. Michael Straczynski turns the character into a quintessential sympathetic villain. He was born with deformed ears, leading to teasing in childhood and other tragedies later in life. Straczynski uses first person narration, making the reader identify with Moloch even more.
Straczynski recounts most of Moloch’s career this issue–presumably next deals with how he ties into the original series’s big reveal–and it moves at a nice pace. Eduardo Risso’s a great choice for the art; he handles the forties time period beautifully. He plays with a lot of false innocence visuals.
I’m a little surprised Straczynski was able to do so much with Moloch. It probably helps he didn’t try too hard and it’s only a two issue series. The brevity helps move it a whole lot.
It’s an unexpected success.
Forgive Me, Father, For I Have Sinned; writer, J. Michael Straczynski; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Trish Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair, Wide Were His Dragon Wings, Part Four; writer, artist and colorist, John Higgins; letterer, Sal Cipriano. Editors, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.
Whether intentional or not, the mad scientist lab and experiment in this issue remind a lot of The Return of Swamp Thing. Collins has embraced a–pardon the expression–comic book goofiness in her villain, General Sunderland’s daughter. It often plays like a parody of a good Swamp Thing comic as opposed to a real one.
For example, Alec promises Abby he won’t leave the swamp early in the issue (their first scene, actually). Of course he does by the finish. Collins doesn’t trust the reader to remember. It’s shockingly contrived.
Ditto for Chester, who is again announcing he’s leaving the comic. I find it hard to believe he and Abby hang out at diners when they need to gab. All of Collins’s inventiveness is gone at this point.
Maybe it’s because Eaton’s so weak. His art is terrible this issue, either awkward or static or both.
It’s very lame.
Project Proteus; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Greg Baker; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.
Gaiman wastes a bunch of time on the bad guys hunting the Black Orchid sisters through the rain forest. Sure, McKean paints a pretty rain forest, but it goes on for half the issue and the series is double-sized. On and on the hunt goes while the Black Orchid sisters frolic.
The issue opens and closes stronger than the middle. The evil husband character is a waste of time (why Gaiman included him is beyond me) and he even forgets one of Luthor’s minions hunting the sisters.
But there’s an awesome cameo from Swamp Thing. Gaiman writes a really funny moment for he and Abby. It’s a shame he didn’t use them more–it would have been rather amusing. And the finish is beautiful, between McKean’s art and Gaiman’s gentle look at the fantastic nature of the sisters.
It’s good–exceptional from the art standpoint–but it’s incredibly problematic.
Yes…; writer, Neil Gaiman; painter, Dave McKean; letterer, Todd Klein; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.
It’s Steve Rude doing forties superheroes, so Dollar Bill always looks phenomenal. But it’s Len Wein writing and apparently he had a bunch of homophobic statements he wanted to make so he gave them to this forties superhero so he could get away with them. Lots of anachronisms–oh, and some good, old fashioned Jewish banker jokes.
But besides being mildly offensive, Bill isn’t a bad comic. The story of a newsreel superhero pretending it’s for real makes for an interesting read. Rude has beautiful compositions, whether static shots or action scenes. It’s just occasionally offensive. Well, maybe more dumb than offensive.
And the finale suggests magic in the Watchmen universe. Very special unoriginal narrative device magic. Wein’s a lazy guy.
It’s surprising all the Minutemen didn’t get one-shots. This guy isn’t even particularly interesting but they got a decently paced, beautifully illustrated, bad mainstream comic out of it.
I Want To Be In Pictures; writer, Len Wein; artist and letterer, Steve Rude; colorist, Glen Whitmore; editors, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.