Swamp Thing & Animal Man 12

Buddy Baker meets Alec Holland in the prelude to Rotworld!

Swamp Thing and Animal are amazing titles independently, and if you’ve been paying attention for a few months, you might have noticed that a crossover was impending. Well, Rotworld has finally arrived, packaged neatly and beautifully as Animal Man and Swamp Thing #12 as parts one and two, respectively. This crossover prelude will showcase the climax of the confrontation between the three natural states of organic life: the Green, the Red and the Rot. If you haven’t been paying attention to any of DC comics’ new titles, then you don’t know that these two are the cream of the crop, the best work to emerge from all 52 titles.

Let’s examine the covers briefly: Firstly, anyone who bought these two issues from the store and put them down in their lap next to each other realized that they were drawn as a panorama, meant to be combined and enjoyed together. Next, if you look closely, you’ll see that Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire appear on both covers, meaning that this is a true-blue collaboration of brilliance. This creative team never misses a beat, creating a piece of art that is fluid in art and story throughout both issues. On the covers, you also get to see the three avatars and their allies, the Totems, the rotted beasts and the Parliament of Trees. And of course, Cliff Baker has got his cell phone out and ready to record.

These two issues should not be read separately, but if I had to pick one as the winner, I would say Animal Man comes out on top. In this issue, Buddy Baker is finally tapping into his full potential and I started to see ties between Lemire’s Animal Man and the Animal Man that made history in Grant Morrison’s unforgettable run in the 80’s. 

As seen above, Baker is accessing the morphogenetic field like never before, and is able to access the forgotten corners of his powers. The art in Animal Man has never been a let down, but I thought this particular page was especially noteworthy. It combines the traditional vein shots with an intense look at Buddy realizing what he’s capable of.

In Swamp Thing, we got to see some bonding time with Ellen, Maxine and Abbey in between rounds of shotgun and pistol play. And as always, the lovable cat Socks had a grand panel presence.

We’ll miss Rotworld in September thanks to the #0 issues (no complaints here), so be sure to look for Swamp Thing Annual #1 and #13, Animal Man #13 and Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #13 in October, all of which I am greatly looking forward too.

—John

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