From the “The Dark” group of DC’s New 52:
Great comic book creators think alike. Marvel’s Man-Thing debuted in 1971, with DC’s Swamp Thing appearing shortly thereafter. Swamp Thing as written by Len Wein and drawn by Bernie Wrightson was a beautifully crafted monster comic. But in 1984 a then obscure Alan Moore reinvigorated the book, creating a three-year run that is regarded as one of the best in comic book history. Many writers and artists have done good work on Swamp Thing since then, but the legacy of Moore overshadows them all. Will Scott Snyder writing the New-52 relaunch of the character be able to make it worth reading again?
Swamp Thing #1 gets off to a decent, albeit unspectacular start. Former botanist Dr. Alec Holland is doing manual labor in Louisiana, trying to remain anonymous for some reason, when Superman drops in to chat about a series of massive animal die-offs occurring around the world. During their conversation they allude to teaming up in unspecified events during the previous year. Then, flying insects attack a group of archeologists, causing them to break their own necks. Finally, Dr. Holland has a nightmare, and when he wakes up Swamp Thing confronts him.
The artwork by Yanick Paquette is generally clear and detailed, although Superman’s face looked a little funky. Snyder’s script is heavy on exposition, and yet only hints at major points of Swamp Thing’s past. It reads like issue #13 instead of issue #1. I know writers are supposed to begin their stories in the middle of the action, but a new reader is apt to be confused. Nevertheless, one can tell that Snyder is setting up some interesting and intelligent scenarios to come. It’s unlikely to reach Moore’s level, but it could still be a fun ride.
Demon Knights stars Etrigan the Demon, who was created by Jack Kirby in the early 1970s, as the leader of a team of magical immortals that includes Madame Xanadu, the Shining Knight, and Vandal Savage during the Dark Ages. It looks like there will be plenty of sword-and-sorcery action, including evil wizards and rampaging dragons.
Writer Paul Cornell keeps the pace moving briskly, without a lot of exposition, and the first issue mainly exists to introduce the main characters and set up the McGuffin they will be questing towards. Penciler Diógenes Neves and inker Oclair Albert create detailed, action-packed pictures. Overall, a pretty good entry point for a new reader more interested in epic fantasy than costumed superheroes.