Future State: Swamp Thing is perhaps the greatest Future State mini-series to find its way to print. Its biggest strength is its disconnect from the rest of the Future State event and the DC Universe at large. You could easily take this story and publish it as a stand-alone graphic novel, and it might become one of the best-selling Swamp Thing tales in years.
In the far future, the Earth lies in ruins and only a few humans remain in isolation. Swamp Thing has been searching for this remainder of humanity but has had no success in finding any survivors. To ease his loneliness, he has created a new group of green creatures much like himself who each take a small piece of his power and exist as a new race of plant-based beings who search the ravaged wastelands of the planet for remnants of humanity.
The biggest problem the green face is that humans see these green creatures as monsters and continue to set traps for them, thinking that these creatures are going to kill them. Little do they know that Swamp Thing, the supernatural creature of the Earth’s green energy who bonded with a human host, longs for humankind and misses having human interaction. When a human is finally subdued and shown that the creatures of the green are not his enemy, the human tells them that the last remaining humans have moved far north into the snow-covered lands where plants can’t grow, into a former S.T.A.R. Labs facility where the military control everything and some new kind of weapon is being developed. He begs Swamp Thing and the creatures of the green to help him free his people and save humanity.
I admit that I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories and this one delivers. I was expecting some sort of climate change mumbo-jumbo or even a tale set in a not-too-distant future that simply pushed along the Justice League narrative, but this story delivered in ways that were far better than anything my lowered expectations could’ve fathomed. Future State was so uneven overall that realized no standards had been set and some writers just weren’t up to the task of creating a new status quo. Ram V, however, nailed it and crafted one of the best comic stories in years, Future State or not.
The art from Mike Perkins and June Chung was a great fit for this yarn. Perkins not only had the ability to tell a great story and keep the characters independently recognizable, but he also provided some amazing “anatomy” drawings of the green creatures to sit alongside Swamp Thing’s narration of their creation that mimicked the anatomical drawings of Leonardo Di Vinci. I found myself often just staring at the linework and detail of these “fake” bodies and I think it really helped to sell the creation of these creatures. Chung’s colors are rich and moody with the ability to be dark without becoming muddled and confusing. She shows a tremendous grasp of the color spectrum by using different tints and shades of green for the creatures that help to keep them distinguishable and recognizable, even when they are grouped together.
I don’t plan on reviewing any more Future State comics because I don’t expect any others I read to move me to love or hate them as much as the ones I’ve already covered. But especially after reading Swamp Thing, books like Dark Detective and Superman: Worlds of War anger me with their spectacular crapulence. It’s painfully obvious that the powers-that-be in charge of DC Comics have no idea how to pilot the ship and the “big name” writers they paid big dollars for are woefully underprepared to write the characters that they’ve been given. At least Ram V hasn’t been let go from DC Comics yet, and hopefully he’ll be moved to a book of greater prominence once the others have failed and been let go from the company.
Do yourself a favor and buy these two comic books. They will make you see why the medium works.