With Ram V, you know that this book shall feature all manner of twists and turns, and the horror aspect, and stunning art and colors, really suit the tone.
This review of Infinite Frontier: Swamp Thing #1 contains some minor spoilers.
There’s a new 10-issue Swamp Thing series on the shelves written by Ram V and illustrated by Mike Perkins. Ram V is hot off his two-issue Future State: Swamp Thing books, and I guess that his work on that title has helped get this new series into production.
I must admit that I am a fan of Swamp Thing, and I always felt that this character works best when the stories are rooted in horror, and it seems that Ram V feels the same.
Originally Swampy would be fighting bizarre monsters and patchwork men in the bayou, and occasionally crossing paths with Batman. He would guest star every now and then in other DC properties, notably Challengers Of The Unknown, then after getting his own B movie, he would return to his horror roots under Martin Pasko. However, when Alan Moore would hop on the title, the horror would be ramped up, and eventually, the book would be a springboard for Vertigo, relinquishing the comic code stamp, and being pitched directly at a more mature audience.
Those golden days of Monkey Kings and American Gothic would elevate the character to new heights, and although there would be some good runs that followed, the book would flounder, readership would drop, and eventually, it would be canceled.
There were some ill-fated attempts to bring Swamp Thing back, but despite some strong material he has been in and out of comic limbo.
So it’s nice to see Swamp Thing returning with what seems to be a return to the body horror and suspense of its previous years.
You can tell Ram V enjoys a visceral approach to storytelling. The opening scene of Infinite Frontier: The Swamp Thing #1, with a forensic investigator explaining the metabolism of the common blowfly, harks back to the insect-strewn Anton Arcane, and by page 4 we are in a flashback that explains the legend of The Pale Wanderer, the man who became something else, like a blowfly that pupates into another form. This theme feels like it will permeate this first arc.
The scene then shifts to airline flight IP501, and a nervous passenger returning from New Delhi.
There’s a great 2-page spread that shows off Perkins’ art, and I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t mention the chaos. Needless to say things are not what they seem, but it’s still a shock for readers.
It might just be me, but the art is very reminiscent of the kind of thing we are seeing in Immortal Hulk, and although the style and coloring keep the books from being too similar, I think it’s fair to say that there are aspects that are very comparable.
In another throwback to the Moore run, you might also spot some tips of the hat to Stephen Bissette and John Totleben’s work on the book too.
A confrontation in The Sonoran Desert with Swamp Thing and The Pale Wanderer also had me reaching for my back issues, as Swampy is told by his antagonist that, “If you are worthy you will return… and we shall continue your lessons.” That echoes John Constantine’s early Swamp Thing appearances, where he leads our hero through various scenarios, in a bid to teach him who he truly is.
I enjoyed this first issue, probably as my nostalgia nerves were tweaked, even though by the end of the issue I was confused by the story. However, with Ram V, I know that this book shall feature all manner of twists and turns, and the horror aspect, and stunning art and colors, really suit the tone.
It’s a shame that we know there are only 10 issues of The Swamp Thing, and I hope this horror title sells well and does not go the way of Constantine from last year.