A Week in Ink: Issue No. 47

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The Spectrum

Swamp Thing No. 7

Alec Holland, the protector of the Green and savior of Earth, has failed. Though he sought to forever banish the Rot and purge the planet, he now stands on the precipice of death, buried beneath the remains of a dying jungle. This can only be Scott Snyder's magnum opus, Swamp Thing.

DC's reboot brought some of the most revolutionary storytelling to the 21st century. Characters who never sat on shelves next to the Man of Steel or the Dark Knight, now fly from the stands faster than they can be stocked. While Swamp Thing isn't the only example of an under-developed hero turned mainstream (the recently housebroken Animal Man being another prime example), Snyder's organic monstrous manifestation is certainly one of the best.

Snyder continues to write of the bloody battle between the life force known as the Green and the ever-growing pestilence, the Rot. Swamps congeal with blood as the last barrier between the growing and Seethe, the blood-spattered avatar of the Rot.

While Snyder continues to uphold the literary end of the agreement, artists Yanick Paquette and inks by Nathan Fairbairn bring both vibrant greens and sanguinary scarlets to the pages of one of comic's most visually disturbing and intellectually stimulating properties.

With the final chapter in the war against the Rot just beginning, Snyder brings the wooded weald to life in arms against its derelict counterpart and, while the comic community waits with baited breath, readers can only imagine the twists and turns that lie in store for fans faithful to DC's most monstrous creation.

Avengers: The Children's Crusade No. 9

Stature, dead and gone, signals a new era for the team of under-aged Avengers, and while the team is hit hard with the events of issues past, writer Allan Heinberg paints a literary light at the end of this traumatic tunnel.

Avengers: The Children's Crusade has accomplished nearly everything the comic set out to do in its limited nine-issue series, capturing the hearts of Marvellites everywhere in the stunning struggle of mother and sons and friends and foes. Packed with an insurmountable amount of emotional depth, Heinberg did well to end his run on a bittersweet note, recreating a quasi-Disassembled for a new generation.

So much of the subtle beauty comes from both Jim Cheung and Mark Morales, two of Marvel's finest producing some of the team's greatest work. As the issue shows that the fight isn't quite over yet, vivid scenes of the young gladiators duking it out only further the stunning realism and amazing talent the team holds.

As the age of retirement is about 85 in the superhero community, the team can't call it quits yet, and with the subtle nods from Heinberg atthe issue's end, it's apparent this won't be the last time readers adventure with the extraordinary adolescents.

For its emotionally charged script, stellar storytelling, and absolutely excellent artwork, Avengers: The Children's Crusade has certainly proved that age and experience are not a factor in the call of duty.

The Lone Ranger No. 3

In the lawless west writers, artists, and comic savants have all attempted to capture the spirit of a time when a bottle of whiskey and a Winchester could settle all disputes, but none have so eloquently done so like the 1933 radio sensation, The Lone Ranger.

While the Ranger's ink and panel interpretation can't quite live up to the hype 70 years in the making, in the series' first three issues it's proving to be a solid contender in an age where the colloquial Wild, Wild West is often in reference to the Will Smith movie.

Following the exploits of the original masked vigilante and his Native American compatriot, Tonto, the team devotes their days to reducing undirected violence in the Wild West.

Writer Ande Parks does a decent job of putting a more modern spin on the aged series. Villains have been multifaceted and unpredictable, a welcome change from the slightly two-dimensional, elderly adversaries of yesteryear.

Just as Parks works wonders with the story's literary aspect, artist Esteve Polls and colorist Marcelo Pinto bring an unsaturated era into stunning, fully shaded realization. Sparing a few artistic faux pas, the team does well to continually revitalize a series that many had thought went the way of the dodo bird.

For a fun read and a bit of conversation material for anyone born before World War II, Dynamite's The Lone Ranger gets five sheriff stars out of five.

Email: arts@ubspectrum.com