Wait, there’s a new Swamp Thing? What happened to Alec Holland?
You know what? Being Avatar of the Green is not a permanent position, and there have been more than a few. So, why not a new Swamp Thing?
Issue: The Swamp Thing #1, March 2021
Writer: Ram V
Artist: Mike Perkins
The Plot: Something has happened to Levi Kamei, and he isn’t sure what he can do about it.
Commentary: Well…this one got off to an interesting and appropriately creepy start. As much as Swamp Thing, any version of him, has been known to hang out with superheroes and even join the Justice League from time-to-time, the character started off as a horror character who lived in a superhero universe. Swamp Thing wasn’t above using sometimes horrifying lethal force against people who generally had it coming. Alan Moore’s run more or less made the character, but it was always a leafy monster made of plant matter around the Louisiana swamp that spawned him, whether he was Alec Holland or something that believed it was Alec Holland.
But this new Swamp Thing is a different sort of thing. For starters, he’s an Indian man, living in New York City, who had something happen to him while visiting India to see his dying father. What was it? The series hasn’t done much more than hint, but Levi Kamei, man of science, apparently just changes into the Swamp Thing from time to time, in a manner beyond his control, and he doesn’t really know what he can do or how to control it. Considering this first issue showed him change in his sleep, pop up in a distant patch of the American desert, and then after getting the promise of lessons from a being out there, is expelled from a tree in Central Park in his human form again.
Oh, and that being, the Pale Wanderer, seems to be some sort of undead prospector with a taste for murdering every person he comes across. He might enjoy teaching the new Swamp Thing too much.
As first issues go, this is a really good start. There’s a bit of mystery here while still giving out some basic information about who Levi is and what drives him. And as potential antagonists go, I really like the Pale Wanderer’s whole thing.
Let’s see where this one goes.