Beauty & the Beast
After the chaos at the Bone Kingdom in the previous issue, Scott Snyder puts the brakes on in issue ten and allows for a more sombre tone to explore the blooming relationship between Alec and Abigail, a reminder that Swamp Thing is as much a love tale as it is a gruelling, horror story.
Swampy is drained and weak from his confrontation with Sethe in the last arc and in this issue we see Abigail nursing him to health. Her compassion and understanding shines through her character and Alec, despite being this mammoth, green beast is tranquil and serene in her presence. With the soft, understated art and very natural dialogue, the tone and scene is perfectly set.
The other half of this issue introduces Swamp Things oldest and greatest foe, Anton Arcane, Abby’s father. This dude is bad news. Sinister, disturbing and evil to the very core, he’s on the hunt to reclaim his niece for the rot once again. Its guest artist, Francesco Francavilla’s art that really gets the point across as we get vague, gruesome images of his intent before the final, full reveal at the climax of the issue.
Francavilla comes aboard as guest artist for this issue and hopefully this won’t be the last we see of him. His style harkens back to Swamp Thing runs of old when Alan Moore was at the helm. His approach is quite dissimilar to regular artist Yannick Paquette, who draws with heavy detail and innovative panel layouts. Francavilla’s style is modest, using more conventional layouts and keeping his interior panels to a minimum. It perfectly sets the tone of the book and helps portray the beauty of Abby and Alec’s relationship.
Francavilla’s facial expressions in particular stand out. One might assume conveying emotion on a foliaged, green monster may be difficult but he manages to present soft facial features and saddened eyes. It’s an important aspect to the art as it helps Alec Holland retain his humanity despite this life changing transformation.
After a fast paced few issues, it’s good to see some vital character building. Scott Snyder is obviously well versed in Swamp Thing mythology and while this run is definitely his own, there are pieces here and there that pay homage to the legendary runs that went before it. Swamp Thing, at its core is a love story, an alternate Beauty and the Beast where everyone and everything seems to be stacked against them. These are characters we are really starting to care about but with Snyder writing the script you know their journey is not going to be easy.
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