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Super MOOC Mania! Part Two – The Environment in Comics

2014 May 9
by Traci Glass
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SuperMOOC2Hello, again, friends!  I’m back with part two of my ongoing SuperMOOC Mania series where I tell you all about the comics I’m reading that are a part of the Super Massive Open Online Course I’m taking – Social Issues through Comic Books.  If you didn’t catch the first installment of my series, please be sure to check out my post spotlighting comics that deal with addiction from last month.

Today, we’re moving on to the next module & topic in my class – comics dealing with the environment.  I wasn’t sure what to expect with such a big, complicated topic, but, I was happy to discover a couple of new ones that dealt with the subject as well as a couple of old favorites that fit the bill, as well.  Each book that I’m featuring this week takes a really different look at the environment, be it from the future where environmentalists are questioning their purpose in life to how the effects of massive flooding, like from Hurricane Katrina, can bring out the best and worst in people, and much more.  So, join me, won’t you?  As always, we start with Batman…well, not exactly Batman, but he is part of the story, even if he is some kind of zombie Batman…

Swamp ThingSwamp Thing, Volume 3 – Rotworld:  The Green Kingdom by Scott Snyder, Yanick Paquette, and Jeff Lemire:  The new version of Swamp Thing written by current Batman scribe, Scott Snyder, is one of my new favorite series since DC rebooted all of their comics back to issue #1.  Swamp Thing’s story is basically the same – Dr. Alec Holland a.k.a. Swamp Thing is the life force of everything green, Animal Man a.k.a. Buddy Baker is the life force of everything red, and the Arcane family (specifically creepy and gross Anton Arcane) is the “life” force of the rot.  When they all work together, we have an ecosystem that is functioning perfectly.  But, the Rot, as led by Anton, is constantly trying to take over the planet and kill off the red (humans and animals) and the green (plants, etc.).  In this 3rd volume of the series, Anton has finally gotten his way – the rot has taken over everything but a very small piece of the Earth that Poison Ivy and Swamp Thing are trying to keep intact.  However, when their secret sanctuary is attacked by the horrible zombified, rot-controlled people and animals of the Earth, Swamp Thing knows he must fight with all his might (and with a little help from Batman from the past – it’ll make sense if you read it, trust me) to put the world back to right.  There’s some scary stuff going on in this book, so it might be more appropriate for older readers.

The Massive:  Black Pacific by Brian Wood, Kristian Donaldson, Garry Brown & Dave Stewart:  Ever wonder what would happen to environmentalists and their mission if the world had metaphorically and kind of literally collapsed?  That’s the story that Brian Wood brings to readers in this first volume of his awesome series, The Massive.  Planet Earth is not what it used to be after the enormous environmental and societal downfalls have occurred around the globe.  But the members of the environmental group Ninth Wave are still searching the seas in their ship, Kapital.  The problem is that they are no longer looking for whalers; they are looking for their lost sister ship, The Massive, that carries the other members of their group, but from whom they have been separated.  Led by Captain Callum Israel, the Kapital is roaming seas full of others who are determined to kill anyone who gets in their way.  And Captain Israel is wondering if they’ll ever find their mates or The Massive.  A great sci-fi dystopian story that imagines what happens when the world is already lost and there’s no more saving to do.

Hawkeye Little HitsHawkeye:  Little Hits by Matt Fraction, Steve Lieber & Jesse Hamm:  From this collection, we read issue #7 which deals with hurricanes, floods and human nature – but, readers will enjoy the whole book, as I noted in my Funny Comics post – and, yes, it was about the first volume of the series, but this second volume is just as funny, trust me.  Anyways, when Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, isn’t helping out the Avengers, he’s helping his friend, Grills, get Grills’ dad out of his house on Rockaway Beach since the storm is certain to wash him out.  And, we also get a little Kate Bishop, aka Hawkeye (yes, they are both Hawkeyes, don’t even ask how that’s possible – it’s comics, so anything’s possible) as she goes to a wedding in New Jersey and sees how human nature can be a bit more dangerous than she expected.  A great story that shows true friendship and the lengths humans will go to help not only their friends, but people they don’t even know.  Plus, it’s funny.  And who doesn’t love Hawkeye – he’s hilarious (and a bit of a jerk, but more hilarious than jerk)! (a 2014 Great Graphic Novels for Teens selection).

Well, that’s it for this week.  As with the last post, we did read one other book that I liked, but again, it was labeled as being for mature readers only – too bad.  I hope you enjoyed this look at comics that deal with the environment – and, sending out a hope that you’ll join me next month when I cover comics that deal with Social Inequality.  See you then – Same Bat Time (approximately), Same Bat Channel (or website).

-Traci Glass, currently reading We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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