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'The Swamp Thing' #13 is unnerving and thoughtful
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‘The Swamp Thing’ #13 is unnerving and thoughtful

‘The Swamp Thing’ #13 is a fever dream you won’t want to wake from.

The Swamp Thing may be one of the most layered and textured superhero comics coming out today. Not only does it build on what we know of the titular hero, but it has created a densely thatched narrative well worth following with Swamp Thing avatar Levi Kamei. In The Swamp Thing #13 out this week, Levi must wake up, and a great and evil machine must be stopped.

This issue opens with Levi in bed with Jennifer as they reflect on how he was lost to her. He explains he was lost in a place of memory, but it was Jennifer who helped him realize “the stillness of tress is amoral.” It’s a thoughtful way to start, but soon Levi is leaving Jennifer again, turning himself into dead leaves on the wind to continue his adventures.

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That opening is at once poetic as it is contemplative and interesting. This is a series that’s not so much read with glee but thought about while experiencing each panel. If that doesn’t sound like your kind of jam then you may want to steer clear, but make no mistake, this is as unique as superhero stories come.

There is superhero fighting, though, with Swamp Thing going toe to toe with a cyborg flesh creature that’s quite cool looking. Mike Perkins’ lines are so good at capturing the grotesque and cool which is evident in this beast.

The Swamp Thing #13

I love the idea that Swamp Thing can travel by fluttering leaves.
Credit: DC Comics

Meanwhile, a new character and cliffhanger reveal the character Trinity continues her journey. Created from the atom bomb, this character seemed all doomsday and scary in the reveal, but here we see she’s curious about humanity even though she can’t help but kill them with her being around them. The horror in this character is their lack of knowledge and unfeeling nature. Captions at one point read, “she understands…to be a thing of joy, or of final consequences.” This portion of the story adds some haunting doom going forward.

This issue also continues to build the conflict between Levi and his brother Jacob. Themes around caring being a weakness are levied against Levi which juxtaposes well with Levi meeting a character who values that in him. These ideas are thoughtful, and yet before you can think too deeply, the plot moves forward with a cliffhanger that raises the stakes as war is coming.

Perkins is joined by Mike Spicer on colors who is so very good at adding glows and unearthly color to creatures. The cliffhanger page reveals a hero who positively glows, for instance, and the meat machine encountered early on is unnerving in its red and pink hues.

Letters by Aditya Bidikar give different characters (or are they creatures?) varying word balloons that add a little extra detail to their speech. The letters themselves are very consistent and aid in creating a hum to the thoughtful ideas.

The Swamp Thing #13 continues the series’ trend to unnerve in its ideas and imagery. In a way, the creators have made something that is like walking through a nightmare and a dream all at once, thoroughly entertaining you and letting you escape in its ideas. Swamp Thing is a fever dream you won’t want to wake from.

'The Swamp Thing' #13 is unnerving and thoughtful
‘The Swamp Thing’ #13 is unnerving and thoughtful
The Swamp Thing #13
The Swamp Thing #13 continues the series' trend to unnerve in its ideas and imagery. In a way, the creators have made something that is like walking through a nightmare and a dream all at once, thoroughly entertaining you and letting you escape in its ideas. Swamp Thing is a fever dream you won't want to wake from.
Reader Rating1 Vote
9.1
Haunting in different ways, be it visuals or Trinity
Great art and color that unnerves
The kind of comic that makes you feel smarter after reading
It's the kind of comic if you're not paying attention you can feel a bit lost or untethered from what's going on
9
Great
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