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Swamp Thing #17: Rotworld Finale Part Two

Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor

Anton Arcane finally did it. He’s pissed off Swamp Thing and Animal Man. The War of the Rot just got interesting.

Writers: Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrew Belanger

Note: Swamp Thing #17 follows the aftermath of Animal Man #17. You’ll need both for the Rotworld finale.

In this issue, Swamp Thing and Animal Man have shockingly found out what we readers already knew. **SPOILER ALERT** They find that Abby and Maxine have been taken over by the Rot. **END OF SPOILER**

Both are devastated by the news, but it is Buddy Baker who steals the show in the opening pages. His loss holds much more magnitude than Swamp Thing’s. He is emotionally conflicted, having feelings of denial, grief, and defeat. Tell me, how can Swamp Thing’s newfound love for Abby compete with a father’s love for his baby girl? Answer: It can’t.

Hence my personal feelings of wanting the good guys to take Arcane down stems from witnessing Buddy’s misery and not Swamp Thing’s. In fact if you’ve read my review on Animal Man #17, I’ve pointed out how Rotworld is essentially a war between the Green and the Rot. Buddy has the unfortunate fate of being the champion of the Red and dragged into this ordeal. I said it in my other review but I’ll say it again. Give that man back his daughter!

Continuing on with the rest of the story, the teamwork between Swamp Thing and Buddy is lacking. They interact very little, seemingly doing their own thing without much collaboration. The story is also jam packed with explanation, some of which are insignificant. Plans go awry several times before they go the way they’re supposed to.

For an event that was started between the Green and the Rot, Buddy sure does most of the heavy lifting while Swamp Thing talks to himself most of the time. And just when you think the Rotworld event is about to conclude, it doesn’t. Something else happens that will leave you thinking, “What the hell is going on?” I guess we’ll have to wait and see the true conclusion in the upcoming epilogues.

In the end, Swamp Thing #17 pales in comparison to Animal Man #17. While Andy Belanger’s art is good, it did not suit the atmosphere of the comic. Swamp Thing is meant to be dark, foreboding, and serious. Belanger’s art is cartoonish and really takes away from the expected effects of the story. For instance, Buddy’s dialogue is touching, but that touching dialogue isn’t translated well in the art.

Taken together, the ending to Rotworld was disappointing. The months of buildup and anticipation had been great, with one title always competing to outshine the other. Sadly this ending did not meet the expectations it tried so hard to communicate.

Regardless of how Rotworld actually ended, I’m saying this now. The Red trumps all.