Swamp Thing is one of the best lesser known characters in the DC Universe.His origins stem back to 1971 and a little known comic titled House of Secrets. In issue #92, the seeds of Swamp Thing were born. Later that year, he was given his own ongoing series. But it wasn’t until famed comic writer Alan Moore took over in the mid 1980s that the fledgling character was lifted to cult status. Other exceptional writers have picked up the mantle over the years, including Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Brian K. Vaughn, and Scott Snyder—all offering their own take on Swamp Thing while continuing his mythos. In Superman Rebirth Annual #1, the Man of Steel has a jumbo-sized comic adventure with Swamp Thing.
The story begins with Superman investigating an apparent drought in Hamilton County, 300 miles north of Metropolis. Although there has been plenty of rain, the soil is barren. With some further prodding, he comes face to face with Swamp Thing, who brings ominous tidings. This new Superman has disrupted the green by drawing solar energy from the Sun in a different manner than the last Superman. To learn more, the Man of Tomorrow reaches out and touches Swamp Thing, causing a reaction of biblical proportions. Swamp Thing has changed—enormous, powerful, angry, speaking fluent Kryptonia—and he must be stopped. This is a job for Superman.
Superman Rebirth Annual #1 is a terrific single issue. Writers Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason weave a story that is action-packed, momentous with every turn of the page, yet it still feels like an intimate struggle between these two titans. What also helps is the choice of Superman’s adversary. As mentioned above, Swamp Thing is one of DC Comics best kept secrets. Pitting him against one of the company’s most bankable commodities is not only a terrific showcase for Swamp Thing, but also places these two differing heroes against one another in a surprising and entertaining struggle.
Artist Jorge Jimenez takes Superman Rebirth Annual #1 to stratospheric heights with his illustrations, especially the combat scenes. As the comic moves onwards in the action, every splash page (of which there are plenty) and every panel (especially the creative alterations) is a mesmerizing piece of art sprinkled through Superman Rebirth Annual #1.
While the comic’s pace is blistering and the action red-hot, it’s the underlying message that moves this issue from good to great. Compelled by the green, Swamp Thing needs to find the truth inside this new Superman (new to the post New 52 world that is) and force the Man of Steel to choose which direction he’s going to keep his attention on—the past or the future. A good question for all of us to wrestle with.
Superman Rebirth Annual #1 is definitely worth reading. In fact, it is one of the most enjoyable single issues I’ve read in a long time. There could be slight bias here because I have an adoration for both Superman and Swamp Thing, but after reading, one can’t deny it’s not only spellbinding to read, it’s also memorable both in its story and visuals. In short, Superman Rebirth Annual #1 is a triumph.
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