SWAMP THING WINTER SPECIAL #1
Written by Tom King and Len Wein
Art by Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson, Deron Bennett, Kelley Jones, Michelle Madsen and Bernie Wrightson
Editors by Maggie Howell, Jamie S. Rich and Rebecca Taylor
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: February 7, 2018
A Celebration of Icons
A touching tribute to two of comics most beloved creators, this special 80 page issue calls in DC’s Tom King and Jason Fabok to bring to life a story of beauty and reflection all while celebrating the mythos created by both the late Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson. Also, including the last Swamp Thing tale by Wein, Kelley Jones’ haunting panels is an outstanding way we say goodbye to comic books’ finest.
Saints and Sinners
Tom King’s tale “The Talk of the Saints” has the reader follows a dying Swamp Thing and a young boy through a snowy tundra in hopes to keep away from the Snow Monster. But the discovery of who the true monster is leads Swamp Thing to face a tragic reality if it means his survival in finding the Green. The dialogue King pens for both Swamp Thing and the boy are heartbreakingly staggering in words and inflection, highlighting what it really means to be a monster in this DC Universe. King also celebrates Wein and Wrightson’s persona and qualities of Swamp Thing that made this character such a champion of both the horror and superhero genre. The way King frames the tale from beginning to end sets the reader up for one of the best modern Swamp Thing stories, perfect for this tribute issue.
The artist on “The Talk of the Saints” is renowned illustrator Jason Fabok who contributes absolutely stunning imagery of Swamp Thing and the young boy’s journey through sleet and snow. From the white snow fall’s transition to the plush Green to the inevitable hurt in Swamp Thing’s eyes – a window to his harrowing soul – Fabok’s Swamp Thing beautifully applauds the character’s complex background, showing how a horrifying figure on the outside can have the purest soul of them all, a trait Wein and Wrightson crystallized in their classic creations.
The Final Spring Awakening
The bonus story in this 80 page special is the last Swamp Thing tale written by Len Wei n before he passed away, the story meant to begin a new ongoing series centered around the character. What is truly commendable about the presentation of the plot is it is separated from Kelley Jones’ incredible art; the reader gets to see Len Wein’s notes and creative process in writing the plot, another sad bliss fans of this creator will experience while reading the issue. Combining several classic Batman and DC figures in this mystery story, Wein’s last Swamp Thing story definitely leaves the reader wanting the next story but will be grateful us fans had this last look into the creator’s passion for his work.
Perhaps the most brilliant way to celebrate Wein’s writing and Wrightson’s art is illustrator Kelley Jones’ work on “Spring Awakening!”. As the editor note included in the 80 page issue discusses, Wein’s last story is presented first with Jones’ standalone panels followed by his text and notes, ending with a shattering last sentence “See you in a month.” Jones’ horror aesthetic, attention to detail (down to Swamp Things’ branch tips) and exaggerates features compliments both Wein’s writing and celebrates Wrightson’s illustrations perfectly, assuring there isn’t a better artist to pay tribute to these two creators the comic book world has lost.
“All I Ever Wanted To Do Was Draw.”
The end to this special issue is a dedication to both Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, reminding the readers the best way to remember the icons we lost is to celebrate the contributions to the American comic book. This tribute issue is all about passion, loss and remembrance encompassed in some amazing stories and illustrations. Swamp Thing Winter Special #1 is not just a must have for fans of Swamp Thing but fans of the DC Universe, Wein’s outstanding writing and Wrightson’s haunting artwork.
The Verdict: 10/10 (if I could rate higher I would)