I know I did this bass ackwards by reading Swamp Thing by Brian K. Vaughan before reading the classic Alan Moore Saga. It just happened that way. Nothing I can do about it now, but find a copy of Moore’s take and read it. And that will happen, for sure.
I remember seeing the Swamp Thing movie as a kid. I literally don’t remember any details other than thinking it was weird, but I know my cousins and I watched it repeatedly on VHS. The fact that I can’t remember anything probably speaks to how good a movie it was. There was tough competition—E.T., Blade Runner, etc. Thankfully, Brian K. Vaughan’s Swamp Thing is better than the movie version.
Children of the Thing
Volume one focuses on Tefe (there’s an accent on the last ‘e’, but I’m struggling to make it work, so I’m leaving it off) the child of Swamp Thing and Abby Holland. The first chapter suckered me in. It’s dark and strange, and leaves you wanting more. The second chapter, which is really the backbone to the story arc , didn’t have the same effect. It took me a while to really understand where the story was headed. The third chapter delves into The Green, which is an environmentalist’s wet dream. It seems a little silly and Wizard of Oz-ish. Honestly, it was difficult to muddle through, but once the backstory is complete the volume takes off.
Other Points of View
Vaughan does something interesting in the fourth chapter, which really kicks off Tefe’s journey. It’s told from the point of view of another character—one who happens to be unreliable. The plot twists here drew me back into the book.
From this point on, Tefe’s journey is driving the story. It’s a story of self-discovery, which often make the best stories. Vaughan continues to use shifting points of view to great effect, giving insight into new characters who join Tefe. All the seeds he plants along the way bear fruit later in the volume (see what I did there?) I definitely wanted to continue to volume two to see where this trip is going.
There are a lot of artists listed in this volume. The artwork was okay. It wasn’t earth shaking, but it sufficed. My only gripe is with the depiction of the creatures in The Green. I just felt they were more childish than they should have been given the gravity of the rest of the volume. The real treasure artistically is Phil Hale’s collection cover artwork. It’s stunning.
I would say Swamp Thing, volume one by Brian K. Vaughan takes a few chapters to get going, but after the third chapter it really begins to take root and grow into something worth reading. See there. I did it again. If you’re a fan of Vaughan or Swamp Thing, you should check it out. You can get a copy of the book here.