After Rotworld, Swamp Thing is back with a new writer by the name of Charles Soule. With new creative talents, can the big green thing clamber out of the muck or will he wallow in mediocrity? Major Spoilers has the answers.
Great character voice
Fill-in art that’s actually good
A bit too talky
Previously, in Swamp Thing: With Rotworld concluded, Swamp Thing has reconciled himself with his role as Avatar of the Green. But the man that was once Alec Holland still need to figure out just what that precisely means…
“A 401K AND THIRTY BOOKS OF FOREVER STAMPS”
After the lengthy Rotworld story arc came to a close, Swamp Thing found itself with a new creative team. Charles Soule is the new writer, while Kano looks to be the regular artist going forward (although Jesus Saiz is filling in this issue). Soule is a relative newcomer to the world of comics but you wouldn’t know it here.
This issue picks up with the Swamp Thing musing over his new role as the Avatar of the Green, before being disturbed by a cagey warrior woman requesting sanctuary. An interruption courtesy of two good ol’ boys on her trail results in some fisticuffs, but they’re no match for the Swamp Thing and the mystery woman Capucine. It turns out she’s something like an Immortal from Highlander, and she made a deal with a previous Avatar of the Green – but it’s up to Swamp Thing if he decides to honor it.
Soule has a good take on the Swamp Thing, giving him a detailed and interesting voice. That is the best part of this issue. This is his third issue, and Soule is still exploring Alec Holland’s reaction to his new self. I like that he is establishing that as the theme to this run so strongly, and his ability to make Swamp Thing an engaging character makes it work. His sense of pacing is also strong, although it falters in the last few pages when a new character is introduced as if we should know who it is. I think Seeder is meant to be mysterious, but Swamp Thing’s internal monologue makes it seem like we’ve seen him before, but we haven’t – and that lessens the revelation of what the threat is.
A FINE REPLACEMENT
Kano illustrated the first two issues of Soule’s run, and looks to be picking the book back up in issue #22. I was surprised by how good Saiz is at sketching out fight scenes. There’s a particular spot where the way two characters flowed into a third was executed about as well as anyone I’ve seen draw something like that. He also works in the Nu52 “Dark” style well, with the weird panel outlining that is something of a trademark for Swamp Thing and Animal Man. Although Kano is quite good, Jesus Saiz could work on this book anytime.
BOTTOM LINE: IF YOU LEFT, YOU MIGHT WANT TO RETURN
I know some people were driven away from Swamp Thing due to the interminable nature of the Rotworld storyline. But that’s wrapped up and a new driver is at the controls. Soule’s voice for Swamp Thing is distinctive from Snyder’s, but it is just as good. If you like Swamp Thing, this new creative team is well worth your time. The next few issues will be featuring the new villain Seeder and I think John Constantine (in Scotland!!), so if any of that is of interest, I recommend picking this title back up. Swamp Thing #21 earns three and a half out of five stars. Check it out.