So I picked this issue up over the summer at Dover Comic Con, but with my crazy schedule, I wanted to wait until I had some time off from conventions so I could read it at a relaxed pace and get more out of it. Here we are almost four months later, but it was worth the wait, and was a real treat to read.
One of the first things I noticed was the high quality of the product overall. The extra thick, full color cover is really nice, and the pages are good quality as well, presenting the story in black and white.
That brings me to one of the big points of this review: how good the story looks as a black and white comic, and how easy it is on the eyes. I’ve been reading quite a few Marvel Essential collections lately, and the presentation of this PLB Comic is so much better! Of course, a collection of reprints at a value price is a much different than that of a comic that is originally black and white and on much better paper, but going from one to the other reminded me of how great black and white comics can be, and was really refreshing. Everything in John the Swamp Dude contrasts perfectly. I had no trouble telling what was going on in any of the panels. The lines on the drawings are nice and clean, and the lettering is very easy to read as well.
The art style is cool and fun, and always sits well with the backgrounds. There are a few backgrounds in particular which have really nice detail. It’s obvious that a lot of work went into it. I enjoyed the character design as well, with the villain Kcered being one of my personal favorites.
As usual, I won’t say too much about the story for fear of spoilers. But I will say that I really enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun, and by the end, it comes around full circle. I personally found it be be a satisfying ending while still leaving opportunity for stories to come. The John the Swamp Dude stories got their start in the PLB Halloween Specials, but even if you haven’t read those, this is still a good story that you can jump right into without having read the earlier tales. The bonus stuff at the end gives a nice look into the creation of the title. (Those of you who like to draw or write will definitely appreciate it.)
In conclusion, I feel like this is a solid issue, and I highly recommend picking it up!