(Warning: This article contains spoilers) Save lives, or take them for a good reason? Hurt people, or help them at the cost of others? These are the clear questions posed by the first issue of Charles Soule’s run on Swamp Thing, taking over from superstar Scott Snyder, who just finished his epic Rotworld story arc. After the action and tumult of the Rotworld crossover, issue #19 seems relaxing and introspective, rather than full of action and aftermath.
This issue is mainly a character study. What does it mean to be an elemental force of the Green? Holland’s struggle is deeply integrated with his new identity as a plant force and his previous identity as a human botanist. These two identities clash violently. He is required by the Green to protect plants and the natural order of growing things, but at times this conflicts with the good of humankind. Holland is torn, for he is responsible to care for the plants of whom he is now guardian, yet he does not wish to harm or fight against humanity, especially when humanity is simply trying to feed itself.
On a more practical and observational note, Kano has taken over art duties from Yanick Paquette. The monster-hero, in Kano’s vision, is indeed monstrous. He is clearly skilled in size differentiation. When Swampy stands threateningly over Scarecrow, I could almost feel myself back in high school, looking up at the monstrously huge football player. After taking over from such an incredible artist, one might expect Swamp Thing’s art to go down in quality. This is not the case; Kano has done quite an impressive job.
As a whole, however, the story lagged somewhat. After the action and excitement of Rotworld, this issue was slow and even boring by comparison. The character development provided insight into Holland, but the action did not keep pace. The rest of Soule’s run will amp up the intensity, perhaps.
For a first issue of a new creative team, it was not badly done. Despite being slow, it did interest me enough to keep reading, especially with the addition of Scarecrow near the end. My overall rating is 3/5. Nonetheless, I am interested to see how the rest of Soule’s run plays out.
Never without his notepad, pen, and hyper-active imagination, Nathan Nance is a News Reporter for Capeless Crusader, amateur comics writer, and connoisseur of all things mysterious, intriguing, and superhero-related. His favorite DC character is Tim Drake, aka Red Robin. In Marvel, Gambit. He can be found buried in comic back-issues or at email@example.com