Originally published at Fangoria.com on July 2, 2011
BRIGHTEST DAY AFTERMATH: THE SEARCH FOR SWAMP THING #1 (DC Comics) marks the shocking resurrection of the iconic plant monster. But who is really returning from the grave? Is it the actual creature or the man behind the monster, Dr. Alec Holland? An upcoming war is brewing between Swamp Thing and his closest friend, John Constantine, the supernatural detective. With mankind caught in the middle of the fight, who will be left standing when the dust settles?
During the BRIGHTEST DAYS crossover event, the plant/human hybrid became corrupted by power, and proclaimed himself as Earth’s destructor. Toward the end of the story arc, Swamp Thing declared war against the people who would cause harm against “The Green.” Now, the plant elemental has become an eco-terrorist and has murdered several businessmen, whose corporations have polluted the environment. Swamp Thing knows there is only one person who can stop him during his twisted crusade.
Sensing the presence of his longtime friend, John Constantine arrives at the Royal Botanical Gardens. Unknowingly stepping into a trap, Constantine finds himself swarmed by growing plants and weeds. While attempting to escape, Constantine’s hand is suddenly cut, poisoned by the mind-controlled plant. The entire plant life becomes a colossal monster, destroying the garden itself and attacking the rest of humanity. As a warning to all, an oil businessman ends up dead and hanging from a tree.
The Swamp Thing has been split into two different personalities. Because Alec Holland was his reflection of humanity, the godlike creature tried to fit alongside mankind. But with the last trace of his humanity gone, Swamp Thing has been let loose upon the world. Slowly dying from the poison, Constantine has to reunite both personalities and prevent an unstoppable war, led by Swamp Thing and his plant army.
Author Jonathan Vankin (pictured) gradually builds the epic confrontation between Swamp Thing and Alec Holland. Even though Swamp Thing is just in a handful of pages, this is a great characterization of Constantine, who is always at odds with others. Constantine uses people, including his love interests, and then heartlessly abandons them, even when they need him the most. What Constantine supposedly says and the actual truth have nothing to do with each other.
Artist Marco Castiello presents a slick look at Constantine, focusing on his cynical facial expressions. In each page, the colors by Barbara Ciardo have a different shade of green, foreshadowing the last page cliffhanger. Though readers are given just a glimpse, the depiction of “The Green” is surreal and dreamlike. The issue’s highlight is the splash page of the Botanical Gardens being obliterated.
BRIGHTEST DAY AFTERMATH: THE SEARCH FOR SWAMP THING #1 kicks things off right in the first of the three-issue miniseries. With Constantine dying, there is no else who can stop Swamp Thing’s rampage. Things are just heating up in the first issue, so don’t miss out on all the action!