ANIMAL MAN #12 / SWAMP THING #12
Written by Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder
Art by Steve Pugh (Part 1) and Marco Rudy (Part 2)
Release Date: August 1, 2012
The prologue to the next year’s worth of stories begins with the team-up we’ve all been waiting for: Animal Man and the Swamp Thing. In search of the cure for his son’s deteriorating condition after an encounter with the Rot, avatar of the Red Buddy Baker and his family seek out Alec Holland, the avatar of the Green, and his partner Abby Arcane for assistance. Buddy and Alec need to travel into the Rot to defeat Abby’s evil uncle Anton Arcane in order to save Cliff and prevent the prophesized Rotworld from coming about.
Snyder and Lemire have clearly been building to this story from day one of each of their titles, each exploring the Rot through its different aspects individually. As a result, these issues feel like a culmination of sorts, while also serving as an excellent jump-on point for readers uninitiated to either or both titles. The writers do an excellent job of recapping what has come before without tedium, and move the story into territory we haven’t traversed yet: the Rot itself. Having experienced both the Red and the Green from the inside, this seems like the natural next step in the evolution of this shared world.
Pugh’s take on both heroes, not to mention Buddy’s family, is exemplary. Able to shift between attractive clean lines to more aggressive looking design when Buddy accesses his powers, Pugh has a versatility that is perfect for a book about a normal man in abnormal situations. Rudy’s work on the second chapter in Swamp Thing is not nearly as compelling as previous series artists and starts to break down after the first few pages. The one depiction that truly stands out in Rudy’s work, however, is that of Socks the Cat, giving Buddy’s spirit guide from the Red a unique set of emotional expressions.
These two books absolutely must be read in conjunction with each other to form a full story. That said, I’m very curious to see where Lemire and Snyder take the two books as they now separate back into their own storylines for the foreseeable future. Now is the time to leap, like Alec and Buddy, into the beyond. You won’t be sorry.