Don't forget to check out the classic Fred The Clown strips at the bottom of the page. Updated every Tuesday to Friday.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Swamp Thing: Roots

Written and painted by: Jon J. Muth

I honestly thought this would be one of my easiest and shortest reviews, I was totally wrong. This very short and simple story is also probably one of the most complex I've encountered. Not so much for new grounds ventured in literary achievement but more for artistic execution on a very well ventured subject. I had to re-read this piece 3 times just to refresh my memory because I realized the story was much more layered than I remember, trying to recall it just from memory will not cut it. I'm not even sure if I fully absorbed what it was trying to say in total. Not the fault of the author though, it is my own shortcoming for being limited in my comprehension. This work obviously challenges me and I like it.

In regards to the story, I'm not sure if this was set in "Elseworld" continuity from the regular series, or it's a brilliant attempt to play with the concept of the "plant elementals" and the "Parliament of Trees" first introduced by Alan Moore during his run on the regular series. That concept make stories like this and other potentially groundbreaking ones possible to be told.

The story set in 1947 on Indiana could probably classify this as a period piece. 4 years ago, back when I first bought and read this, I initially thought that this could be a simple yet powerful tale on its own without even being tied to the Swamp Thing concept, as the connection seemed very minimal. Back then I also had barely an inkling of what Alan Moore did to Swamp Thing. Now I know better, and I believe the story is much more powerful because of the connection. I honestly wonder though, is the character Aaron Hayley here part of the Parliament of Trees now or not? That's a curiosity that will probably linger in my head for a while now.

I will not spoil anything as usual, except that I will tell you that this is basically a story focusing on a broken "white" family from the south, a black man, their community and racial tension. This short Prestige Format comics published by Vertigo barely clocks in at 64 pages and yet is probably one of those that takes the longest time for me to digest. I'm glad that I had bought this, even if initially only for Jon J. Muth's painted art, who by the way is one of my favorite artists ever. He definitely delivered with this. Other comics may just look pretty because of the painted art, but this one has impeccable visual storytelling to accompany it. The story is actually the art, the art is actually the story, they are inseperable, which is just as it should be when it comes to comics.

Trust me, there are only very few works that I will ever give the utmost amount of confidence in recommending. This is one of them. There are no reservations in me when I say this is a good comic and that you should definitely read this!

It is still avalable through Amazon, you can buy it by clicking this link.


Anonymous said...

Been a fan of Swamp Thing since I watched the movie (yes I know is lame, but it introduced me the character and lead me to the comics)

I'll be checking this out!
Thanks GF!

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