Swamp Thing 23
Charles Soule, Kano, David Lapham
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
The conclusion to the two part storyline, “The Whisky Tree,” was nothing short of what I’ve come to expect in terms of quality from the creative team of Charles Soule and Kano. This issue, they are joined by comics veteran David Lapham. Guest-starring Constantine, this story-within-a-story continues to rebrand the characters and mythology of the Swamp Thing in new and daring ways that always come off as unique and fresh. And in this particular case, also quite terrifying.
The horror continues as King Constantine’s (due to the Seeder’s machinations) hold over the village of Fetters Hill comes to a climactic halt after Alec Holland channels the Green and reshapes himself, escapes, saves a few uninfected townspeople, and gets Constantine to snap out of it. The power of this issue is not in the storyline itself, but rather, the fact that it successfully told a story in the middle of a larger and more grand one. It was an interlude, but definitely far from a throwaway or filler issue. Or, in this case, two-parter. We continue to see Alec’s reluctance to completely embrace his destiny and disregard human life in favor of letting nature take over the world at any cost. We continue to see Capucine popping up at inconvenient (or is it convenient?) times, albeit significantly less badass this time around. And we see that the Seeder is going to be more than a done-in-one villain of the week, causing mayhem, easily defeating the new Girl Friday, and revealing that he knows the Swamp Thing’s secret identity to boot.
To say that this issue is for everyone is an understatement. What I mean to say is that not only do I recommend all comics readers pick this title up on a monthly basis, but I challenge all comics creators to strive for the effect that this book has on me every time I read a new issue. It’s not just good storytelling that makes it a fun read. It’s the fact that the writer obviously knows how to write each and every single character he creates or uses to tell his stories. No matter how large or how small, he writes all of them as if they are his absolute favorite. This is a talent that is quite often ignored or, in most modern comic book titles’ cases, completely and altogether lacking. And the fact that he has dealt with so many topics and issues within his short tenure as head writer, all while working alongside multiple very different artists, shows that he’s not going anywhere. For the first time in years, Swamp Thing is not only the smartest book on the stands, but it’s actually a superhero title, not just a preachy horror book.
My Rating: 5/5