REVIEW: ‘Future State: Swamp Thing,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Future State Swamp Thing #1

Future State: Swamp Thing #1 is published by DC Comics. Written by Ram V with art by Mike Perkins. Colours by June Chung and letters by Aditya Bidikar. After the events of Dark Nights: Death Metal, the new Swamp Thing avatar travels the world searching for humans trapped within the wreckage of the cities. Joined by more beings like him, created in his image, Swamp Thing has a community of his own. But his search for humanity will drive him North, where trees and grass are replaced with snow…

The plot is interesting, setting up the series and its goals quickly. The Swamp Thing talks to Calla, his daughter, discussing the Death Metal event’s backstory before a burning building draws his attention. However, other plot parts are confusing, mainly regarding Swamp Thing’s family and their creation, which hasn’t been revealed yet. This may be a jarring start to the comic for newcomers to Swamp Thing or even those familiar but picking up the new series. Time seems to have passed since the end of Endless Winter, where Swamp Thing still lacked a new avatar.

Beyond that confusion, the structure of the plot gets easier. There is exciting action as Swamp Thing comes to the aid of his flock. The reader gets a sense of his power and the dynamics within the group. As they travel north and come across a human, more mysteries start unfolding, becoming pivotal for the rest of the series. The reader doesn’t know what to expect from Future State: Swamp Thing #1, so much of it is a surprise. But a reveal at the end was possibly the biggest.

The dynamics and personalities between Swamp Thing and his creations are what drives this book. While it is clear he has created many, there are only three important creations to the plot. Heather is the first of those he made and his closest friend. His second in command and incredibly powerful, she’s filled with anger and rage. Calla is the youngest, both innocent and inquisitive. She reveres Swamp Thing, looking to him for knowledge. And then there is Indigo, a brilliant character. He’s constantly aggravating those around him, including Swamp Thing. Always off to the side, lingering in the shadows, he makes snide and venomous comments. These actions frequently get him beaten by the other members of his group. It will be fascinating to see what impact Indigo has on the story going forwards. 

As for the Green Father himself, Swamp Thing is deified by his creations. While certain individuals, such as Heather and Indigo, question his motives, others follow him dutifully. Ram V writes very violent characters capable of going to war, but Swamp Thing is also capable of kindness towards humans. Another factor within this plant community is that they can be killed off.

Swamp Thing looks slightly different than he has before. Perkins makes the avatar look weaker and older. Still able to exhibit great power, parts of his face and body don’t possess the strength he once did. The others around him are all drawn with stunning individuality, not just the group’s four main figures, but the brief cameos from minor figures are given stunning details.

The colours by Chung provide significant aid in creating diversity among the plant-based heroes. Their skins are all slightly different shades of green, with people like Heather having unique markings on her face and chest. The only one among them not in an emerald shade is Indigo, his name befitting his colour. Indigo has a look that screams “grumpy old man,” but blue. 

This world is dark and broken, and both artist and colourist harness that. The leaves and plants that have now taken over Manhattan have a creepy vibe to them. Taking refuge at night, the leaves cast shadows over faces.

At certain intervals, Future State: Swamp Thing #1 has these asides that take the form of anatomical drawings. Swamp thing details how he created each follower, how he made muscles and lungs and oesophaguses. These are joined with gorgeous diagrams from Perkins, jaw-dropping in their detail. 

The letters are fantastic. Each of Swamp Thing’s creations has a different colour around their word balloons, identifying them instantly. Swamp Thing has his signature orange balloons, with the letters inside easy to read.

Future State: Swamp Thing #1 features brilliant characters but is let down by its confusing beginning. The script is terrific, as is the art. Swamp Thing and his followers are all immensely likable and leave the reader eager to read more. The opportunities for conflict are already ripe. But the first few pages take several attempts to understand fully. More will probably become clear as the series grows, and the comic absolutely has promise.

Future State: Swamp Thing #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Future State: Swamp Thing #1
3.5

TL;DR

Future State: Swamp Thing #1 features brilliant characters but is let down by its confusing beginning. The script is terrific, as is the art. Swamp Thing and his followers are all immensely likable and leave the reader eager to read more. The opportunities for conflict are already ripe. But the first few pages take several attempts to understand fully. More will probably become clear as the series grows, and the comic absolutely has promise.