Swamp Thing: Winter Special
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Jason Fabok
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Publisher: DC Comics
Review by Greg Brothers
I am going to be honest with all of you. I have not ever followed Swamp Thing that closely. I can tell you very little about the character or his history. However, after hearing about Swamp Thing: Winter Special and seeing that Tom King was going to write it, and Jason Fabok was on art, I knew I had to read it.
Swamp Thing: Winter Special tells the story of Swamp Thing trying to protect a young boy who has gotten lost in the swamp. Complicating the issue is the Ice Monster who has turned the swamp into a winter wonderland.
Anyone who has read anything from Tom King in the last few years knows the kind of depth and emotions we can expect to get from his writings. All that emotion is on full display here in Swamp Thing: Winter Special. What is even more impressive is that for most of the book there are only two characters. Swamp Thing is still dealing with feeling that most people view him as a monster despite the heroic things that he has done. As he struggles with his power weakening because of the lack of green, he is also battling self-doubt and even depression. Although Swamp Thing is a hero and he is trying to protect the child from the Winter Monster, it is the underlying self-doubt the drives the dialogue and story forward. King is able to tap into the core of the character and create a story that anyone who has ever doubted themselves or dealt with depression can connect with.
As impressive as King’s writing is, it is Fabok’s art that creates some truly break-taking panels. Being in the winter storm, most the panels are filled with bleak and barren settings. The green and red of Swamp Thing stands out against these backgrounds, while adding to the feeling of loneliness throughout them. As Swamp Thing struggles with his power as the storm continues, Fabok’s changes highlight the physical weakness that plagues Swamp Thing. Fabok really understands how Swamp Thing’s power works, as he uses multiple panels to grow something as simple as a twig, rather than growing whole trees instantly. In addition to the main story, there is a backup story by Len Wein. I did not include it in my review of the book because I did not feel I could review it without giving stuff away. Just know that it is worth it.
Buy it. We all know the type of story that Tom King is capable of writing and Swamp Thing: Winter Special continues that streak. Throughout the comic King is able to weave a tale of depression, self-doubt, fear, and growth, all while only focusing on two characters. By the end, you are emotionally spent, while also feeling oddly satisfied. I have no doubt that Len Wein would be proud of the story that King and Fabok were able to weave with his character.