Deep in the jungle, Levi is struggling to rebuild his body from the weakened Green. He doesn’t have much time, though, because the Suicide Squad is on the hunt! In the capable hands of Ram V, Mike Perkins, and Mike Spicer, the ensuing conflict doesn’t at all play out the way you’d expect.
This issue opens with a striking scene of Levi coming together piece by piece. As his body reforms from the surrounding earth, his mind slowly takes shape as well. The internal dialogue in this sequence, in which he finds snatches of memory to hold onto as he quite literally grounds himself, is lyrical and haunting. Spencer renders this scene in a way where it looks like both a miracle and an abomination, as Levi threads a new muscular system out of vines and screams as he strains to create himself anew.
We also finally get to see more flashbacks from Levi. We’re still not entirely clued in on the events that led to Levi’s ascension, but these glimpses into his past are captivating and framed in an interesting way. As he struggles to literally pull himself and his consciousness together, Levi reaches out into the Green, almost literally digging up living memories. In the process, we get to see so many new sides to Levi’s personality. There’s a tenderness to the scenes with his father and brother, showing that Levi has always wanted to do the right thing — and that he may have never been sure exactly what “right” is supposed to look like, no matter how hard he tries.
These scenes are beautifully illustrated by Perkins, and the color choices by Spicer are interesting throughout, particularly when it comes to the sequence with Levi’s brother, Jacob. The sunset becomes a wildfire that underlines the fantastical nature of Levi’s flashback and ties it back into the very real danger he faces in the present.
In fact, these sequences are so beautiful and captivating, it almost made me wish that it was its own issue. The stuff with the Suicide Squad off in their own version of Predator starring Swamp Thing is a lot of fun, but it occasionally feels tonally at odds with this exploration of Levi’s continued journey towards inner peace (particularly when it comes to Heat Wave’s constant posturing). It’s hard to fault this creative team for wanting to combine two strong storylines, but there are moments when I truly wish one or the other was given just a bit more room to breathe.
Of course, we’re bound to learn plenty more about Levi’s family and his past in the coming issues, so this mash-up of stories didn’t quite bug me as much as it might have otherwise. Also, this is only the first part of this story arc, and I’m still very curious to see how this all ties together in the next issue.
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