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Swamp Thing: Bad Seed
Words by Andy Diggle - Art by Enrique Breccia - Published by DC Comics (US), Titan Books (UK) - First published 2004 - Originally published as Swamp Thing 1-6
If you don't already know that Swamp Thing's finest hour has arguably been under the guiding script of Alan Moore then this probably isn't the best place to start exploring the character. Although this collected volume marks something of a restart for the monthly comic and was clearly supposed to be a jumping-on point for new readers, Moore's run developed a lot of the Swamp Thing mythos that's central to Bad Seed's plot. So a warning to newbies - we'd seriously recommend you trot off and poke around with Saga of the Swamp Thing, Love and Death and The Curse before having a go at Bad Seed. You'll thank us for it later.
Right, that's got rid of them. The rest of you know everything you need to know: Alec Holland got blown to smithereens in a swamp and his humanity was absorbed by it, turning him into a walking vegetable. His wife Abby still loved him and, although this may be news to some, they had a daughter with similar powers over the flesh that her father has over flora. And wherever Swamp Thing goes, cockney magician John Constantine is never far behind.
We start at the beginning of this book with Swamp Thing withdrawn from humanity, having disseminated himself into the plant life of the world. His daughter is playing the role of dysfunctional teenager to a tee and Abby is doing her own thing. However, Constantine (who Breccia has drawn to look more like street slime and less like Sting than he ever has before) has some plan afoot and is meddling with Alec Holland's soul.
Diggle's script does an admirable job at following in Moore's footsteps with a good line in nonchalant earth elementals and an even better effort at Constantine's cockney wide-boy one-liners. The plot twists and turns in the right places making this introduction a suitable rollercoaster ride, as well as serving the purpose of bringing Swampy back from the wilderness.
Breccia's art is less-refined in places but superb in others, particularly his set-piece full pages. His uglification of some of the key characters, most notably Swampy himself and the rat-like Constantine, is a master-stroke, adding a little more of a grimy, dark edge to the series.
Standing next to the epic work of Moore, Bissette and Totleben this is clearly derivative. However, Diggle and Breccia have made a lasting impression on these familiar characters and it'll be fascinating to watch their work unfold.
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