Never has anything so rotten been so good.
…Okay well, there’s yogurt. And blue cheese can be pretty tasty, too. But in terms of comic books, the “Rotworld” event spanning the pages of Animal Man and Swamp Thing took it to a whole new level when they showed readers a world overrun by the Rot—the elemental force of death and decay. And holy heck, it is awesome.
When DC COMICS—THE NEW 52 began, Animal Man writer Jeff Lemire and Swamp Thing writer Scott Snyder (you may have heard of them) both built concurrent storylines exploring the two elemental sides of life in the DCU: the Red (animals) and the Green (plants). However, while Buddy Baker and Alec Holland hadn’t been interacting with each other, they were both facing the same enemy: the Rot.
ANIMAL MAN #12 kicked off the “Rotworld” event and finally brought together the forces of the Red and the Green to combat the Rot together. Unfortunately for everyone, things didn’t go as planned and now the Rot has won and taken over the entire world. Talk about a bummer. However, heroes never surrender, and for the past few months, Animal Man and Swamp Thing have both been battling across the Rot-infected landscape of the DCU to put an end to the destructive force and its avatar, Anton Arcane.
The penultimate chapters to “Rotworld” hit stores and the Interwebs yesterday, and if you haven’t been keeping up with this event, it’s time you went back and did exactly that. And to help convince you to take the trip, we’re counting off the 5.2 Reasons to Venture Into “Rotworld!”
1. A is for A-List
Animal Man and Swamp Thing both previously had a relatively small fan base that stemmed from Grant Morrison and Alan Moore’s respective work on the characters as part of the Vertigo line. With the launch of the New 52, Lemire and Snyder have taken both characters to new heights—making them not only fascinating and a delight to read, but also incredibly powerful characters that help maintain the balance of all life on Earth.
2. A is also for Awesomely Amazing Art
Swamp Thing was already known for its crazy trippy art from back during Alan Moore’s aforementioned run, and artists Yanick Paquette and Marco Rudy have kept that tradition alive and thriving with the current series. Not to be outdone, Steve Pugh and Timothy Green II bring brilliant eye-catching and disturbing imagery to every issue of Animal Man.
3. Seeing Super-Gross, Rotted Versions of the World’s Greatest Heroes
Remember when we said that the Rot had taken over the planet? Yeah, we were serious. Pretty much every hero without a strong connection to the Red or the Green has fallen and been infected, and it’s both a simultaneous thrill and freak-out when you turn the page to see Superboy or the Flash turned into grotesque monsters. You both anticipate and dread who you might see next.
Of course awesome characters and awesome art are great, but what’s even better is a gripping story that expertly ties them together. “Rotworld” is exactly that. What’s even more fun is the unexpected twists and turns Lemire and Snyder throw our way—such as the revelation of Gotham’s guardian and the Green Lantern (we won’t say which one) as the Metropolis prisoner.
5. The Structure of the Event
Lemire and Snyder both began planting the seeds for the “Rotworld” event since the launch of both their titles—both in terms of the story and the structure of the event itself. As mentioned, both Animal Man and Swamp Thing told concurrent storylines, each independent of the other beyond thematic similarities. That tradition continues with “Rotworld.” The opening two issues—#12—and final two issues—#17—tie together, but everything in between tell the tale of their respective heroes in the midst of “Rotworld” without heavy crossover. It’s a cool read that feels part of the cohesive whole without being entirely dependent on one another.
5.1 The SWAMP THING ANNUAL... by Becky Cloonan!
5.2 Still to Come: Animal Man and Swamp Thing vs the Justice League
Tell us why you’re enjoying “Rotworld” in the comments below! And if you could choose to be an avatar of the Red or Green, which would you choose?