When I first heard of Swamp Thing: Twin Branches I figured it was going to be how the human who is to be Swamp thing became ST like the TV show of the 1980’s. (Good camp, bad everything else.) And like many of the DC graphic novels, Maggie Stiefvater was going to have a teen boy come of age and then, turn into part of nature. I thought it was going to be bittersweet but still nice. Afterall, I always thought that this creature was a good guy. Well, he is a good guy. Kinda. I mean he is not bad. He does not mean to hurt anyone, that is, until he does (and they are really bad people so does it really count?).
Still, I can only give this book a (at best) 3, and it is more of a 2.5 and that is because of the art of Morgan Beem. The story was slow and the ending confusing. It feels like a Part 1 in a longer novel, or the first installment of a longer comic arc. Being an introduction story had potential, but the result was missing something.
What it does have is thriller and horror. We have twin brothers (the cover had me fooled, I thought it was one person, two personalities. But it is two people, three personalities. Read it, you will understand) who walk in on dad having an affair (you know this because of the expressions on everyone’s faces are “oh crap!” and him saying, “Don’t tell your mom.”) The boys are sent to some hillbilly cousins in Virginia (seriously, I was expecting banjo music) and they do several things. One thing they do is Walker (the cool brother) tries to get the nerd brother (Alec) to have fun. Alec turns the cousins’ dogs into some FREAKING FREAKY (only I didn’t say freaking) plant-dog hybrid.
There is a bit of romance (and she has a cute cat-ear hat), mailbox baseball (do people really still do that????) and an old, magical tree blown to smithereens. This is all shown with steady text and busy illustrations. They are dark, earthy colors, greens and blues are prevalent, but there is color. I am glad I borrowed this from the library and not purchased. (Ages 13 and up are the best audiences).
There might be a few triggers due to some mental health, physical health and the attack on Walker and Alec at the end. Also, basically Alec and another character basically are taking a form of a hallucinogenic drug at one point.