Sunday, 31 July 2016

Swamp Thing: The Root of All Evil Review (Grant Morrison, Mark Millar)


They’re definitely not anymore but back in the 1990s Grant Morrison and Mark Millar were besties - Millar was even Morrison’s protege! - and the two wrote comics together. Comics like Swamp Thing... which turns out to be a long, long way from either writer’s best work! 

Alec Holland thinks he dreamt being Swamp Thing and embarks on some rambling, pseudo-spiritual journey to find something or someone or do something. Swamp Thing is separate from him and is rampaging through the Bayou for some reason. Abby Arcane is around, as is Linda Holland, nobody seems to remember anyone or know what’s going on, least of all the reader!

The Root of All Evil is such a mess! It’s 11 issues of rambling, barely interesting drivel. The first half is written by Morrison and Millar and Morrison’s influence is evident with all the druggy, dreamlike sequences and focus on the mystical. The second half sees Morrison depart and Millar takes the story into darker waters with Linda Holland working in Amsterdam (har har, like her surname geddit…) where punters pay to murder her as she can’t die for some reason. Ugh. 

If Morrison’s writing style is evident in his contribution, Millar’s penchant for ridiculously one-dimensional villains is just as noticeable with the big game hunter character - a walking cliche who wants to mount Swamp Thing’s head on his wall because he’s a big game hunter. It’s amazing this crap got published. 

To be fair to Millar he does seem to eventually wring some semblance of a coherent story towards the end of the book with Swamp Thing battling the avatar of the Parliament of Stones but that’s way the hell at the end of this overlong volume and I’d long since given up caring. 

Phil Hester’s art is fine but I’m not a fan of his jagged, angular style so I didn’t love it. The visuals do look extremely dated though from the spidery inking to the washed-out colours to the flat layouts - it all looks very much like a ‘90s comic and very unappealing which might put some people off even more. 

Not that the writers do anything to make you want to pick up the book anyway with their wanky storytelling! Morrison and Millar may have gone on to become much better writers but their Swamp Thing collaboration and Millar’s subsequent solo run on the character is utterly unmemorable and dull - avoid this comic like the fetid sludge-heap of narrative claptrap it is!

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