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REVIEW: 'Swamp Dogs' #2 by J.M. Brandt, Theo Prasidis, Kewber Baal, and Ruth Redmond

 


SWAMP DOGS #2

Writer: J M Brandt, Theo Prasidis
Artist: Kewber Baal, Ruth Redmond
Publisher: Scout Comics
Release Date: March 2, 2022
Cover Price: $3.99

Black Caravan Imprint: Young lovers Ayana and Violet sneak away for more erotic passion in the bayou. Meanwhile metal band The Grunch gear up to find a spooky place to shoot a music video. Both groups gravitate towards the abominable Maison Du Corneilles - the last place many of them will ever know. Love, jokes, voodoo, creepy kids, and the undead... Get ready to start shrieking in delight and fear!

Score:
★★★★☆ (4/5)

'Swamp Dogs' is not your conventional zombie tale. It has the makings of a horror movie from the '70s where horny young people end up in some obviously dangerous predicaments and have to fend for their lives. Writers J.M. Brandt and Theo Prasidis have taken the slow burn approach prioritizing character development over easy scares. They've resisted the urge to throw readers on a blood-soaked killing spree by the bayou undead and instead go to great lengths to get to know these young people. It's a mature and professional decision to make readers care for people that will be engulfed in some precarious death-defying situations up ahead. The question is will readers wait much longer for the horror portion to hit full speed?

While the band tries to get themselves together and prepare for a video music shoot, Ayana and Violet are frolicking and making out deep in the swamp. There's this palpable sexual tension between them that works. It feels like a genuine connection beyond the typical horror movie exploitation where they're merely there to be sexy. They come across an old abandoned mansion and well, nothing ever goes right when that happens. 

The shenanigans between the band members are written with a heightened comedic spin that conveys their camaraderie and friendship. It provides a sense of normalcy and calm before crap presumably hits the fan. The bandmates are likable but maybe shooting a music video in the middle of zombieville may not be a good idea. 

Artists Kewber Baal and Ruth Redmond really elevate the story with strong character designs and bold rich colors. One of the hardest landscapes to draw I would imagine is a swamp but Baal does a balanced job of picking spots to go in greater detail. The marsh, trees, and ultimately the mansion get a keen depiction with great details with Redmond providing warm dark colors and lighting. The book is great to look at and the brief glimpses of the zombies are as grotesque as you'd demand. 

'Swamp Dogs' brings readers closer to the horror awaiting the cast of characters that the creators have developed over the first two issues. The slow pace is beginning to pay off with an ever-increasing creepiness that hangs in the air. Confidently illustrated that's both sexy, funny, and gross for various reasons. 'Swamp Dogs' is poised to reach another level in coming issues. 

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