Millar goes for as disturbing as possible. There’s no humor in it, no smiles, it’s just Alec trapped in a decaying human form in Amsterdam, surrounded by perversions, desperate to escape.
Meanwhile, there’s the big game hunter, who’s a caricature, out to get him. But the big game hunter is the only caricature–the rest of the supporting cast fits into the comic’s tone. There are psychics for the government, there’s the weird magic of the Traveller, it all feels appropriate.
As for Alec… Millar’s pushing to make him as sympathetic as possible. But the sympathy doesn’t ground the comic. Swamp Thing is all over the place, with Millar questioning the reader’s understanding of current events as much as he does Alec’s.
It’s an unpleasant read; Millar needs a big pay-off to succeed.
Hester and DeMulder’s art is excellent. Even the mundane appears horrific. It’s a horror comic again.
Murder in the Dark; writer, Mark Millar; penciller, Phil Hester; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.