DC Universe’s new Swamp Thing is creepy, exciting, and visually stunning. It’s aligned more with Titans than Doom Patrol – if you don’t have DC Universe and are a fan of comics, you need to rectify that.
In its first two original series efforts, DC Universe batted .500. The Titans series is dark, action-packed, philosophical, and … excellent. It’s simply worth the price of the subscription. But Doom Patrol is a dark ride that’s comic and fantasy-laced, and so off-kilter it’s just hard to pin down. Maybe with a different sense of humor (you find The Office or Arrested Development funny?) you will discover the strange side of DC’s heroic world entertaining; I didn’t. But with Mark Verheiden (Dark Skies) and Gary Dauberman (Conjuring universe, It), Swamp Thing (out May 31) is fantastic, horrific fun exploring the cost of doing business and the tragic side of heroes with broken hearts.
Alec Holland/Swamp Thing (Andy Bean and Derek Mears) first appears as the human, pre-accident form of DC’s environmental nightmare hero in the premiere, before he’s mysteriously shot and left for dead. Before he undergoes his transformation, half-chemical accident, half-Bayou magic, he’s tracking down some bad voodoo with disgraced native-turned-CDC expert Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed), who blows back into town, churning up frustrations left dormant for more than a decade. The audience knows that Will Patton’s philanthropist/businessman Avery Sutherland is involved, but the darker mysteries swirl around in a darkly-shot opening brace of episodes that would make Game of Thrones’ cinematographer Fabian Wagner proud. Much like Titans or Freeform’s Cloak and Dagger, the show is dark in tone and appearance.
While I’ve tried to dive deep, but not as deep as the team does…, in Doom Patrol, I’m eager to check in on what Swamp Thing and Abby get into in the third episode. The show has spun around some of the previous background of Len Wein’s storylines, but it still holds the key components: Alec, Abby, and the bayou. The bayou gives it’s own sense of desolation and richness blended together, providing a dropcloth for the fabulous stories to be told.
What will become of Abby’s guilt from her past and her return to her hometown?
How will Alec discover his new self, and will his own humanity fall by the wayside?
While some of the characters are clearly evil, few of the characters are whitewashed (or blackballed) one way or the other. Who in the end can be redeemed?
Visually stunning, with a script that lures us in (A child in danger! A misunderstood monster! A shadowy villain!), Swamp Thing has its tentacles in me and I don’t want it to let go. We know Swamp Thing will fight for the Bayou, but so far, it’s clear he’ll fight for the innocent and helpless, too.