If you've never had the pleasure of reading Alan Moore's Saga of The Swamp Thing, this week's a good place to start. A new edition of the Bearded One's run is on the shelves, and it's creepy as all get-out.
This week. DC/Vertigo releases a reprint of Saga Of The Swamp Thing: Book 3. I'm going to go on record and say that Moore's Swamp Thing is my favorite thing he's ever done. Why is this particular volume noteworthy? First off, it's pure gonzo 1980s horror. Swampy fights a brood of absolutely disgusting aquatic vampires (the vampire queen is an obese, gag-inducing horror), and John Constantine makes his first ever chain-smoking appearance. On a whole, Moore's run is leavened with a sweetness you wouldn't expect from the cantankerous master. Even though Swamp Thing's a nature elemental/sentient hunk of moss, he's an immensely endearing everyman — he's just as confused about his powers as the reader is.
With Swamp Thing coming back to the mainstream DCU, now's as good a time as ever to catch up with his past exploits. Plus, he battles Batman's buzzsaw tank, but you'll have to wait until Volume 5 to see that duel.
Let's take a look at some individual issues hitting the stands:
Batman: Return Of Bruce Wayne 3 (DC): Two words: Pirate Batman.
The Tick: New Series 4 (New England Comics): Benito Cereno (the author, not the Melville character) continues his bi-monthly run on the ongoing tales of the big, befuddled blue one. Plus, a Mike Oeming back-up story. Spooon!
Fringe: Tales From The Fringe 1 (DC/Wildstorm): A new six-issue miniseries that delves into the history of a different character each issue. In this installment, Peter must stop a suicide bomber.
Jurassic Park Redemption 1 (IDW): In this series, Tim and Lex (a.k.a. the screaming kids who hung out with Sam Neill) reopen Jurassic Park. But will there be Jeff Goldblum?
Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark 1 (Image): This comic is exactly what the title advertises — death on land, death in the sea!
Hulk 23 (Marvel): After a solid decade, this issue finally explains the Red Hulk's origin story. I always assumed Rulk was just Hulk from the Bizarro Planet.
Superman 700 (DC): A 56-page anniversary issue! Also, according to solicits, "The exciting new Superman ongoing creative team as J. Michael Straczynski and Eddy Barrows provide a story that sets the stage for an explosive, all-new direction for The Man of Steel! (Seriously! Wait till you read this!)" Comics We Crave's prediction? Return of Internet Superman.
How about the trades? Notable releases this week include new printings of volumes 3 and 9 of Girl Genius (Airship Entertainment) from famed husband-and-wife team Kaja and Phil Foglio; the whopping 600-page collected edition of every one of Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons' Martha Washington tales, The Life And Times Of Martha Washington In The Twenty-First Century (Dark Horse); and the Fallen Angel Omnibus (IDW), which collects the entire run of Peter David and David Lopez's DC-and-then-IDW supernatural series.
What's MY PICK OF THE WEEK? The trade paperback of X-Men: S.W.O.R.D.— No Time To Breathe (Marvel) from Kieron Gillen and Steve Sanders. Gillen is one of my favorite new talents Marvel's brought to their fold (along with Jason Aaron — PunisherMAX is brawny!), and S.W.O.R.D. was a fun (if immediately canceled) experiment. What's the series premise? Astonishing X-Men regulars Abigail Brand and Hank McCoy (and Lockheed) work on a space station, investigate aliens, and exchange sexy banter. It also costars — of all people — fricking Death's Head. Death's Head! Kooky, yes? Anyway, this was an enjoyably weird-ass ongoing that was canned right out the gate. Bah!