FUTURE STATE: SWAMP THING #1/ Script by RAM V/ Art by MIKE PERKINS/ Colors by JUNE CHUNG/ Letters by ADITYA BIDIKAR/ Cover by MIKE PERKINS & JUNE CHUNG/ Variant Cover by DIMA IVANOV/ Published by DC COMICS
“IN A WORLD…” I hope you read that Don LaFontaine’s apocalyptic voice, because that’s what we’re working with here. DC’s Future State project is taking their lineup and filtering it through the lens of potential tomorrows. In Future State: Swamp Thing #1 Ram V shows us a world that has been conquered by The Green – an elemental force that connects all botanical life. As the Champion of The Green, Swamp Thing has always sought to preserve a balance between nature and the humans.
In the opening pages, Swamp Thing regales his daughter Calla with the story. “Will you tell me again what happened to the world that was?” As a father always does, he humors his child and drops a bit of exposition upon us. It seems that as humans developed in technological prowess as well as meta abilities they perfected their violence to the point that the entire world was endangered. Maintaining the balance would no longer suffice, and Swamp Thing brought a war to end civilization as the world knew it.
Ram V sets Swamp Thing on a journey with an important task that is in direct conflict with the subjects he leads. Where now shall balance be defined? How shall it be maintained? Who decides who lives and dies? These are intense questions that we look forward to having answered.
On its own, this story is phenomenal. You almost don’t even need the illustrations. This is not why we read comic books, however, so enter the breathtaking work of Mike Perkins. Between the monstrous physiques of the elemental humanoids and the detailed land-and-cityscapes, Perkins creates an experience that sucks you into this potential future.
The main flex, and true testament to his mastery, is the technical drawings he creates for the plant creatures anatomical structure: throat, muscular systems, respiratory systems, even the central nervous system! The work is reminiscent of illustrations found in Grey Anatomy. Obviously I mean the medical textbook, not the show. June Chung’s colors and use of light help to cement the dreariness of the world, lending a sense of loneliness amongst friends.
It is no secret that I am a sucker for creative lettering. Aditya Bidikar does not disappoint in his tasks as he adds excitement in the text outside of the standard dialogue. There is a punch – a SOLID punch – toward the end of the story that leaves the injured party with a mouthful of words that they find difficult to express. You will feel those words in your mouth.
DC’s Future State: Swamp Thing #1 is a diesel engine of a story; slow to warm up but powerful once it gets going! Issue Two cannot arrive soon enough!