In the penultimate issue of The Swamp Thing from Ram V and Mike Perkins, the battle between the Green and the Parliament of Gears has come to a head! Will the world die in the name of progress, or is there a better way for Levi Kamei to lead the Green into the light once more?
This is the wildest action we’ve seen in this series so far, and this series previously featured a Swamp Thing taking on the entire Suicide Squad. Mike Perkins clearly relishes the opportunity to show what the combination of Green Lantern energy and Levi’s residual connection to the Green can accomplish. Seeing Swamp Thing conjure extensions of himself the way he would normally do, albeit by holding his arm out in the classic style of a Green Lantern, is such a clever touch.
This issue heaps on the spectacle, with Perkins and Mike Spicer setting everything against a backdrop of fire and destruction. The big fights have real kaiju vibes, while Spicer’s orange and red hues behind the action give this a feeling of finality. The sun is setting on this world, unless Swamp Thing can reverse it. Another highlight arrives when Levi uses his own body to gum up the gears in the Pilgrim’s factory. The lush greens stand out in perfect contrast against the cold purples and grays of the ironworks.
If there’s one small drawback to this issue, it’s the fact that it moves at a breakneck pace in some cases. There’s just so much going on, and every thread from the preceding issues is being pulled back around, from Jacob’s loyalties to Trinity’s conscience to the Pale Pilgrim’s plans to the Rose of Jericho. Everything in Ram V’s epic storyline has been building to this, but a few sequences feel like we’re getting a good amount of wrap-up in a short amount of time, and some of it can make the issue feel slightly unwieldy. For instance, we lose Trinity in the midst of the fight, and while the designs of the various machines in the Gear army are impressive, it can occasionally feel difficult to get a feel for the scale of the fight or how many of these things he’s up against.
Of course, the punch-up is besides the point in a lot of ways. As Levi comes to realize, the conflict has to end, no matter the victor. And as in most great Swamp Thing stories, it seems this war of ideas will come down to a conversation. And that’s a great thing, too. The dialogue in this issue continues this series’ trend of being absolutely beautiful and poetic, and letterer Aditya Bidikar is pulling overtime with some really interesting speech bubbles for the various avatars of the Green and the Gears. These conversations are gorgeous to look at in every sense of the word. This issue is visually stunning all around, and I’m going to be sad to see this series go when the final issue arrives next month.
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