Pushing back the pull list, we’re talking about the prologue for Rotworld, the storyline appearing in the Animal Man and Swamp Thing books. It’s ANIMAL MAN #12 and SWAMP THING #12. If there was ever a chance to hop aboard either series or both, it’d be now.
ANIMAL MAN #12 finally sees the two heroes, the titular Animal Man Buddy Baker and Swamp Thing Alec Holland, meeting up in the latter’s swamp, where a portal to The Rot has opened up. We learn that in previous issues, Buddy Baker finished off the last of the agents of the Rot sent to kill him, but that the fight also hurt his son, infecting him with Rot stuff. In order to cure his son and finally put an end to the conflict, the two heroes descend into the Rot.
Roughly half of the issue is spent getting new readers familiar with the characters and what happened up until now, at least in the case of Animal Man. As I mentioned, now would the opportune time to start reading the corresponding opposite series if one only followed a single of them. Much to my irritation over the last year, both series really were meant to be read together.
The Animal Man issue also shows us visions by way of Buddy’s daughter (and young avatar of The Red) of a world where decaying things reign and the heroes died.
All of this is more concretely confirmed with SWAMP THING #12, with our heroes entered into The Rot and assaulted by Un-Men. Meanwhile, Buddy’s wife and daughter fight alongside Abigail against their own set of Un-Men. But things don’t go so well for the two diving down, as Buddy’s connection to the Red is lessened, and Swamp Thing’s connection to the Green is that of a long life-line to the surface, exposed to possible cuts.
I don’t think I need to describe what ends up happening. The two end up stuck for a while. When they find their way out, it’s a different world altogether.
Some revelations about how Anton Arcane came back from the dead are given, as is the knowledge that everything that happened up until now paled in comparison to what’s coming next. Let’s just play that clip of Admiral Ackbar proclaiming the trapness of things, and leave it at that.
The next issues for both series are the #0 issues, where the origin stories to both characters get revealed. Then in October, the thirteenth issues continue with the respective characters in their own situations. Buddy and Alec are separated at the end of this issue, so if for some reason you really don’t care what either of these guys are doing, you only have to read one issue of the other series to see how they got to where they are. That’s kind of DC.
On the other hand, I’m personally going to take this opportunity to start reading Animal Man for real. At least until Rotworld is over. For everyone who haven’t been following it, I recommend picking up the trade paperback for Animal Man released earlier this year. For those who have read Animal Man up until this point, but not Swamp Thing, the first volume of his series comes out this month. Both are very good, and deserve to be read.