After Jennifer is taken by the company responsible for many of the Swamp Thing’s woes, Levi sets out to rescue her, ultimately leading to a family reunion that may prove to be deadly.
In this issue, Ram V finally gives readers a formal introduction to the corrupt industrialist running things from behind the scenes, and he’s already more despicable than the Sunderlands or any others like him we’ve seen before. See, unlike many other villainous types, Harper Pilgrim and his predecessors realize that knowledge is power, and they’ve spent the better part of two centuries stealing the memories and information contained within the Green from a dead avatar. Continuing the themes of colonization and destructive capitalism from previous issues, Prescott quite literally took earth that wasn’t theirs and have stripped it of its life and dignity, taking the bits that they find interesting and discarding the rest.
This issue is also packed to the gills with memorable visuals and interesting character growth (no pun intended). For the first time, we get to see Levi reaching out through the Green and using it to his advantage, rather than being taken by it. This is seen in a gorgeously vibrant illustration from Mike Perkins, showing the memories and thoughts Levi pulls from the earth rendered in a panel grid designed around a single leaf. Mike Spicer’s bright greens stand in stark contrast from the dark purple hues of the background. It’s a striking image, adding to the long line of interesting page layouts and visual storytelling achieved by this team.
In some ways, this issue feels like it’s mainly concerned with pulling the series’ various threads together and ramping up into the big Season One finale — which totally makes sense from a structural standpoint, and it definitely works on that front. It can leave some scenes feeling especially packed with exposition from the villain, but it’s also a reminder that we’ve spent most of the book following Levi and his inner struggles, which feels like the right move. However, the continued exploration of the series’ themes with a new angle and a pair of intriguing antagonists that we’ve really only just met make this one all the more exciting.
The tension builds throughout this issue, and the second half proceeds in a pace that is both breakneck and confident. The confrontation between Jacob and Prescott’s guards is quick and brutal, showing the reader once again what an avatar of the Green is capable of when they’re not constantly questioning themselves. The stage is set for a horrific battle between brothers as this arc heads into its finale. It will be interesting to see which plot threads are tied up. One thing is for sure — Levi Kamei is not messing around anymore.
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