Levi Kamei – the newest champion of the Green – seems to be slowly coming to terms with his surreal nightmares, with Ram V and Mike Perkins delivering another macabrely beautiful issue of ‘The Swamp Thing’.
The Swamp Thing #2 brings about some clarity to proceedings as Levi Kami begins to come round to the idea he isn’t in some godawful nightmare, but rather on the path to a new calling. Whether he wants it or not.
The more monstrously presented Swamp Thing – so grotesquely illustrated by Mike Perkins last issue – makes his appearance again here, with the dark colourings of Mike Spicer only adding to a dark, terror-inducing tone for these scenes. Writer Ram V’s comparison of Levi Kamei’s nightmare-like new surreal reality – night after night – to the journey made by Dante through Hell is most fitting. An out-of-body experience that must seem macabre and grim in Levi’s waking hours. Even if it’s Virgil and not Beatrice who guides Dante through Hell in Inferno.
Perkins use of black spaces helps to create a claustrophobic atmosphere in some scenes that only helps translate the horror of Ram V’s script more successfully. You never quite escape its influence across the whole issue, or the sense of foreboding being built up around the seemingly inescapable all-American wraith, know locally as the Quietus.
It’s this new take on an old fried that’s one of the more interesting concepts behind this new reiteration of a character who’s still an active card-carrying member of Justice League Dark, don’t forget. Here, Levi seems to share his conscience with the Swamp Thing only when asleep. For now, at least. This is something new, and this central mystery still has a good deal left to prod and poke at before any explanation is forthcoming. Or what price Levi will have to pay for this development.
Plus, with the original Swamp Thing still running around in the DCU, can an inevitable meet-up be too far off?
Aesthetically and narratively this is series is already turning it a thing of macabre beauty. The writing reminds me of Ram V’s breakout series for Vault Comics – These Savage Shores – in which he blended a significant mastery of prose with romance and horror, and there is the same tone captured here too. A macabrely beautiful and deeply darkly mysterious series in the making and one I’m stoked I added to my pull list.
The Swamp Thing #2 is out now from DC Comics