SWAMP THING BY BRIAN K. VAUGHN VOL. 1 (Vertigo/ DC, 2014; Softcover)
Collects Swamp Thing Nos. 1-9, the Swamp Thing “handbook” pages from Vertigo Secret Files & Origins, and the Swamp Thing story from Vertigo: Winter's Edge No. 3 (cover dates January, 2000- January, 2001)
Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
Artists: Roger Peterson, Joe Rubinstein, Rick Magyar, Cliff Chiang, Rodney Ramos, Mark Lipka, Steve Lieber, Paul Pope, and Guy Davis
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Brian K. Vaughn is a fan favorite these days, with Saga basically being a license for Image to print money. DC was smart in releasing this previously uncollected run in trade paperback to cash in on the success of that series. Before his brilliant Y: The Last Man, before Ex Machina, Vaughn did this radically different Swamp Thing series for DC's Mature Readers imprint, Vertigo.
Those looking for the further adventures of the Swamp Thing (Alec Holland) and Abigail Arcane Holland will be disappointed. While they are in this series, they only occasionally appear, with the main focus being on their daughter Tefe Holland. Tefe is the human child of Alec and Abigail who can tap into The Green. She is seeking out purpose in this world, so she sets out to find The Tree of Knowledge.
Like all so-called Mature Readers series, there are themes not appropriate for all ages, such as sexual violence and swearing. These things could have undermined the craft and value of Vaughn's writing, but he pulls it off and makes it seem like a part of the story and not sensationalist or fanboy* pandering trash.
*Term used in the original pejorative.
While Vaughn's writing is the star of the show, writing alone doesn't make comics great. You have to have great artwork, too. Roger Peterson is serviceable if unremarkable. His art is just decent enough to keep this from sinking but isn't much to my liking. Your mileage may vary. Having said that, I am on board for Volume 2, out now.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.
The OCD zone- Nothing unusual to report.
DVD-style Extras included in this book: None.
Paper rating: 4.5 out of 5. Good weight glossy coated stock, worlds better than the recycled toilet paper that DC used to pass off in their Vertigo trades.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. Nice thick waxlike lamination, should hold up well over time with repeated reading.