Thursday, 30 June 2011

New Beginnings - Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing

Following the massive events of Blackest Night, and subsequently Brightest Day, a new three part aftermath series has been born and is set to re-introduce two notable characters from the DC roster - Swamp Thing and most intriguingly John Constantine.

Initially Jonathan Vankin may seem an odd choice considering he has written for TV, graphic novels and his own books, but he is a senior editor at Vertigo. This may have also been a factor paving the way for Constantine to cross over into the DCU, but I am just speculating.

The story he has written is an interesting one. The title, as it suggests, is all about the hunt for Swamp Thing now he has returned and Constantine is a great vehicle for this as he made his first appearances in the Swamp Thing comics (as an occult specialist). If you’ve been reading Brightest Day then there is really nothing to give away here, as it is exactly as it says on the cover. This is really about finding the Swamp Thing in the aftermath, however, and here is the cynical side of me showing, I found it more about showcasing Constantine, especially in the knowledge that he is being brought into the DCU in Justice League Dark (by Peter Milligan who brought us 5 Ronin most recently).

Having also not read Hellblazer prior to this I’m not sure if the stereotypical “British” language, which is a coarse mockney sprinkled with mild profanity, is the general speak of Constantine. It’s been liberally used throughout the issue and has to be the one thing I got bored of whilst reading. In smaller doses I would have said palatable but I felt there was a bit of overkill here. It was also good for comical effect, such as when he had somehow gained access to the Batmobile!

Marco Castiello has pencilled the issue and outside of work on Witchblade I’m not familiar with his work. I was surprised when I looked him up as his style is not what I would say is the Top Cow normal. There is a lot of fine line work with uncluttered visuals. Great attention is taken to facial details conveying a lot of emotion and thought through minimal touches and additions. There is a lot more detail in the cover work (not by Castiello) but I am left wondering why the inclusion of Superman has been made seeing as he’s nowhere to be seen inside.

I’ve enjoyed this issue and I’m looking forward to others for a couple of reasons - I like the artwork for one, the story holds well (barring the fake accent) and the plot is good. More importantly I’m looking forward to the 2 potential spin offs that this is creating as they are characters that are new to me and opening doors. If there is anyone like me, who doesn’t know much about Constantine (aside from the Keanu Reeves film) then I would really suggest taking a look at this one. A good introduction and one that has piqued my interest in him. Roll on the other two issues and also let’s take a look into Hellblazer...

Matt Puddy often sprinkles his reviews with mild profanity, but they get edited out. Funk yeah!

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