It was ever since Charles Soule’s masterful run some years back that I was first able to fall in love with the character called Swamp Thing. And it only continued to grow with every other appearance this character continued to make after that. When I heard that the DC Universe was chancing on doing Swamp Thing next, after Titans and Doom Patrol? I was over the moon excited! You can only tell a story like this right when you are given the right platform to let the story run wild. All the horror, all the gore, and all the things that could send you chills in just an hour.
The first scene alone pulled me in almost instantly. You couldn’t have asked for a better way to show us what kind of Swamp Thing we are dealing with. Some know the big guy as simply the protector of the Louisiana swamps, and The Green on Earth. However, that is only scratching the surface when those new to this character aren’t truly aware of the lengths he will go to protect all of that. This may all be leading up to the creation of the Swamp Thing, but it doesn’t mean that the swamp itself isn’t alive either. On the other end of the Swamp Thing, we have the Parliament of Trees, or in other words The Green. Right now it is safe to assume that this natural force is the one causing all of this madness to protect the environment. We knew that this show was going to be dark, but there was always that question of how dark they were really going to go. That first scene set the tone, and the kind of violence we were in store for. Honestly, I was blown away by the quality of CGI that went into every vine and branch which tore through those waters.
For the plot of this season, I liked being able to see things from the perspective of Abby Arcane. This is a name that many should also be familiar with who read the books. Whether she is important for her work, her relationship with Alec Holland, or even her connection to one of the most sinister villains who controls The Rot. she is far from a character you simply see as a damsel. Especially when this story has never been one about heroes. With that said, it was interesting to be able to see Abby as more of the main character than Allec. I couldn’t argue wit this either given the approach to the story. This was her home that she was coming back to in order to solve the epidemic. That left a lot of room throughout the episode to see why she left, what she left behind, and what she was coming back to. Some of it you could say is for the sake of stirring some drama, but there isn’t too much you can expect from growing up in a small town. One where someone’s problems can become another’s, and one where everyone talks.
The characterization of Alec Holland on the other hand was something I was never too bothered by. When I first became interested in this character, I simply knew him as the Swamp Thing. When you’re at that point, you quickly get used to the idea that Holland died when he became that. Surely enough for most of these viewers they may be in the same boat. However, that does not discount the importance of making Holland himself a character worth investing in till that point of tragedy and transformation. So with that said, I enjoyed the contrast between himself and Abby. She’s the actual professional in the field, while he is the same though working outside of any legitimate organization. The role of Alec may begin and end in this episode, but they made it memorable. He was a guy you could connect with, that Abby could connect with. They made us care about that inevitable moment that would change him into the monster he is now.
What was so thrilling about this first episode is that I felt like I was watching The Thing again. Not everyone will remember an old movie like that, but for those of us who have seen it, the memories came flooding back in quickly. There was a scene halfway through this episode that made me so thankful this was a show on the streaming service. It was the stuff of nightmares, and things only got better from there. Everyone loves a good mystery, and they played into that so well. The build-up of suspense was excellent, the urgency and pacing to find clues. To top it off, they did a solid job of consistently stacking up the stakes to find a solution. Whether it was the lives on the line, or the personal weight that Abby had to carry, it was all about the importance of getting the job done.
For the entirety of this episode I would actually say that the visual effects were stunning. Some were on the fence about this show because they thought recent troubles leading up to the premiere, but they really pulled through. What we got at the start set the tone, what came throughout the episode kept you at the edge of your seat, and then that last scene? Beautiful work for what assured you that they were taking this seriously.
Overall, the Swamp Thing Series Premiere knocks all others out of the water, no pun intended. Titans didn’t start off this strong, and neither did Doom Patrol. They hit the ground running in this first hour, and even I was shocked that by the end of the first episode we already had the character we wanted to see on screen. If anyone had their reservations about this show, then I would urge them to give it a chance. This will be the show that you sleep on when no other comic book show will be this bold and ambitious about the horror that comes with what happens when nature is your enemy.