What is Swamp Thing?
Swamp Thing is a character created for DC (Detective Comics) by writer Len Wein and artist Bernie Wrightson.
The character (or creature) first appeared in the DC comic book named Alex Olson: House of Secrets issue number 92 in July of 1971.
The name may not sound super enticing, but the TV show (airing in the summer of 2019) does in fact have a lot to offer audiences with a detective-show type atmosphere, a foggy, creepy marshland, and entities not of this world making appearances – it’s definitely one to watch.
After being called back to her hometown of Marais, Louisiana, to investigate strange going on at the swamp, Doctor Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed) soon realises that there is more going on there than anyone realises.
When Dr Arcane meets charming scientist Alec Holland played by Andy Bean, (IT: Chapter 2) they decide to work together to try and stop whatever is happening to the swamp, and to save the lives of local citizens.
When Holland goes out to the swamp alone, he is ambushed by a mystery man and shot – soon after, the branches and plants take over Holland and thus creating the creature known as Swamp Thing.
Dr Arcane, knowing what has happened to her friend, will stop at nothing to help him, and try to cure him – but can that be done?
Visuals, atmosphere and more
Let’s start by discussing the design of the main attraction – Swamp Thing himself.
Swamp Thing is big, bold, and slightly resembles the big-fig characters from the LEGO games - take from that what you will…
The shades of green that envelop him are brilliant, with vines and twigs protruding from him and making him look quite impenetrable. His face design is slightly odd, with a vine crossing over his nose giving it a kind of witch-like look.
The only real quarrel that could be picked out with Swamp Thing’s design, are his eyes… they’re simply awful. They are far, far too red and look as if they have been coloured in by a child. They look almost fake, as if his real eyes are behind them.
Not only are his horrendous eyes too red, but they do not match with his green and foggy design, nor do they lend in with the environment of the swamp as they just look like the creators saw they weren’t right, but went with it anyway. The colour isn’t the issue as red eyes match well with many intimidating creatures; but the execution simply wasn’t there.
In regard to the general look of the show? Excellent. There are not many scenes shot in daylight, which adds to the menacing overtone of the show, causing audiences to wonder what could come running into shot from somewhere off camera…
Dark shots can sometimes be hard to execute as not everything can be seen in the dark, but Swamp Thing does this very well; with nearly every scene shot at night or in darkness, capturing every aspect of what happens must be perfect, and it was.
The cast are brilliant, with Kevin Duran making an appearance as the suspisious and inreaguing Dr Woodrue. Every actor portrays their character perfectly, but despite this, it can be a little hard to get attached to anyone other than Dr Arcane and Holland – even Swamp Thing can sometimes feel like a side plot due to everything else that is going on; from Dr Arcane’s troubled past, to the ominous doings of the town’s richest man, Avery Sunderland (Will Patton).
While the show had built up to the final two episodes very well, the episodes in question were… a little disappointing to say the least.
For example, Daniel Cassidy’s (Ian Ziering) storyline went from interesting to rather pointless. Cassidy transforms into The Blue Devil, a character he has done the stunts for in movies – and as this looks amazing and just as you wonder where this plot point will go, it kind of dies and fades into nothing, which is very disappointing.
The last episode is what hammers the nail into the coffin – for this series to make something out of a not-so-well-known character such as Swamp thing is an admirable feat, but the aptly named last episode, Loose Ends, could not be more fitting – and not in a good way.
What happened to Cassidy? What will become of Avery Sunderland? How on earth did Doctor Woodrue become the Floronic Man? Too many questions for a show that does not look like it will get a second season.
With the ups and downs that this show possesses, however, it is still a great watch. The plot combined with brilliant casting, special effects, and sets – this shows what DC can do when they shift their attention to TV. Despite the less than brilliant ending, the journey up to there is one for any DC fan to sink their teeth into.
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal
Tagged in Reviews