Comic Review: Swamp Thing: Twin Branches (DC Comics)

DC Comics Young Adult title Swamp Thing: Twin Branches is a retelling of the Swamp Thing origin story, with loads more depth, spookiness, and relevance to young readers. This 200-page […]

DC Comics Young Adult title Swamp Thing: Twin Branches is a retelling of the Swamp Thing origin story, with loads more depth, spookiness, and relevance to young readers.

This 200-page full colour book is written by Maggie Stiefvater (Raven Cycle series) and illustrated by Morgan Beem. Colours are by Jeremy Lawson.

Alec and Walker Holland, twin brothers, arrive in Virginia for their last summer before college. Homelife was getting toxic. They’re very close, with Walker the outgoing party animal, and Alex the deep, troubled introvert with a medical condition. Alex has been working on a plant experiment that’s aimed at measuring plant consciousness and memory. And the first results are interesting! But it’s summertime, a time for bullies, baddies, brotherhood distancing, brooding, and boorish behavior.

Stiefvater delves deep in this graphic novel. The richness of dialogue, the quirkiness, and native tongue of teens is established early and maintained throughout. Thematically (no spoilers here though…) we see things occurring and recurring with changes, much like the intertwined verses of a song: bring in the idea, hit the chorus, develop a variation of the idea, and so on. This works surprisingly well in graphic novel format; the interrelationship between the brothers, the hints of early romances, the Virginia rural teen nightlife, and so on.

Twin Branches has a twist of Stephen King, lots of ‘don’t go into the woods tonight’, and plenty of strongly handled pyrotechnic teen moments.

Morgan Beem’s characters are drawn quirky, the swamp monsters are scratchy, gnarly, and frightening. It’s all about plants, plants, and plants! Beem also captures the enhanced drama inherent in being teenage, their gawky awkwardness, their silent yearnings. Jeremy Lawson’s colours abound with greens (of course), swinging wildly into bright yellows and purples, a rainbow of hue to play amongst the leaves.

It all fits, it all works, and this 190 page saga is well worth a read!

DC Swamp Thing: Twin Branches, $16.99 for 190 pages of swamp content, Ages 13+

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!