It’s Cold in the G
Written By: Tom King, Len Wein
Art & Cover By: Jason Fabok
Colored By: Brad Anderson
Lettered By Deron Bennett
Second Story Pencils and Inks By: Kelley Jones
Second Story Color By: Michelle Madsen
Cover Price: $7.99
On Sale Date: February 7, 2018
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
You don’t have to drag me kicking and screaming to read a Swamp Thing comic book. And Tom King and Jason Fabok’s two-part arc in Batmanthat featured the ol’ moss-encrusted mockery had some great character moments—even if it did seem a little confused about derelict skyscrapers comma where the homeless congregate within. And Len Wein’s last story, which was supposed to start off a new miniseries! I am definitely interested, and if you are too then have a look-see at my review of Swamp Thing Winter Special #1, blooming now!
So Swamp Thing is not normally a character you associate with the season of Winter. The reason for this is that many plants die in the Winter, and Swamp Thing is a plant. And while he can reconstitute himself as an Evergreen tree or some sort of hearty cactus if he likes, it’s still a harsh environment for most plants and animals. That’s sort of its function, in the cycle of things.
Unfortunately, Swamp Thing finds himself trapped in an endless wint’ry loop, carrying some kid on his back while running from the abominable frost monster that is nipping at their heels. Swamps is having trouble remembering the details the kid foists on him day after day, but eventually can tell he is dying, so he’s been trapped in this endless snow drift for years—and it’s all the kid’s fault. To get things going Green again, he’s got to kill the kid. Which he does. So all’s well that ends well.
The second story has no words, because Len Wein died before the lettering pass could be done, when dialogue would have been firmed up. This is cool because it lets us get a good look at Kelley Jones and Michelle Madsen’s artwork without all that boring reading. Len’s original script is provided in the back, and this looks like it could have been a cool issue that would have featured Solomon Grundy, Batman, and the return of Matt Cable who looked to be starting a Private Eye partnership with Swamp Thing. As it stands, however, this is little more than an artifact—a “what might have been,” and would be interesting only to Swamp Thing or Len Wein completists, of which there are some.
Tom King’s story is okay, but I feel like he’s been writing the same story over and over, about heroes trapped in recursive loops that span years while the “regular world” maintains outside; he did this in his issue of Kamandi Challenge, a very recent couple of issues of Batman,and it looks to be like what’s happening in Mister Miracle. You’ll probably figure out the Twilight Zone twist long before its over. The other story is interesting from an academic standpoint, but it is the conclusion, not the beginning of something, so it’s tough to get excited about. Big standout here was Jason Fabok, who drew some amazing Swamp Thing scenes with a fairly limited range of motion (it’s mostly Swamp Thing walking or hanging around.) It’s all in the dangle of the panel angle, I hear!
Bits and Pieces:
A strange grab-bag of Swamp Thing stories, the first being thematically familiar to fans of Tom King and the second being interesting only to fans of Len Wein and Kelley Jones (who are not bad people to be fans of, mind you.) Not an entirely inoffensive comic, though I'd be curious to know why it exists.