Wednesday, November 12, 2014


It's funny - some people "get it" and some don't.
Charles Soule is a smart cat, and his grasp of Swamp Thing storytelling is just getting better and better.
This issue is part of DC's "Future's End" stories, which left me trepidatious to say the least - most of both DC and Marvel's "event series" are usually messy junk, with even junkier tie-in-stories. Not here - this is an excellent issue that has a mission, much like the one Swampy is on within, to deliver a final solid punch to one long standing Swamp Thing storyline, and I LOVED it. The last page/panel of this book is goddamned gorgeous, and you can feel it's link all the way back to "Rite of Spring" from Swampy's #34 in the '80s - arguably the single most beautiful story of Swamp Thing's incredible history.

This was one of the few Futures End one-shots to read like a natural extension of the main series. It's so nice to have a writer who obviously cares, and to see Charles Soule building connections to both that issue and the recent Annuals #2 and #3 - everything is coming together as we build up the conflict between Swamp Thing and the Machine Kingdom and moves toward what is presumably the climax of Soule's run. It's shaping up to be the most solid and memorable storyline since the series began in the New 52.

The Machines make for an excellent addition to Swamp Thing's growing rogues gallery, and Soule gives the mechanical creations a distinctive voice and tone so that they both fit in naturally with the concepts of the Green, Red, Rt, etc. and also feel like a wholly unique faction. None of this feels forced or derivative - the two elements so many other writers just couldn't get around.

Jesuz Saiz does a great job of bringing the Machine Kingdom to life. Their clean, elegant, orderly designs(iSwampThing) clash with the organic power of our hero and his allies. He brings a great sense of mood and emotion to every page in addition to the impressive level of detail - very stylish artist, without being too showy.
Again, the art and story mesh perfectly, and I'll never tire of Saiz's amazing visuals - honestly the best Swamp Thing has looked since Bissette and Tottleben. He does a great job of bringing the Machine Kingdom to life - with their clean, elegant, orderly designs clashing nicely with the organic beauty of Swamp Thing and his world. Saiz brings a great sense of mood and emotion to every page in addition to the impressive level of detail.

I do miss the fog/mist of '80s Swampy, but that's just nitpicking really. Maybe he just needs to go deeper into the swamp.

This issue also finds Soule tackling the long-awaited reunion between Swamp Thing and Abigail Arcane. It's a mature and heartfelt acceptance of two lovers doomed by fate and circumstance to remain forever apart. It feels worthy of the best stories it took to get to this point and Soule does a great job of capturing their emotional bond and the sadness that comes from their newfound distance. The book takes on a new level of emotional resonance in embracing it's own tragic history. Swamp Thing met Abigail Arcane in 1972 - that's a long time, and this is a beautiful end.

This mix of fantastical adventure with very grounded human drama gives Swamp Thing its true appeal, and it's something Charles Soule is really good at. I'll miss him a lot when he leaves, but I'll wish him well and thank him.

You should be reading this book.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

REVIEW: Swamp Thing #34 Oct//2014

"The Wolf and the Lady: Pt.2"

Really good issue, and(without ruining anything) a good wrap-up to that particular ongoing story I would call the "Lady Weeds" saga. It was great, and as I've been saying - the supporting cast is really strong and it's a smart way to be doing the comic.
This issue is gorgeous art-wise with a story that reads like a good movie. Action - love- death - and I did not see that end coming. Again - love Cappucine, and would love to see back-up stories in Swampy like they used to do with The Phantom Stranger way back. And boy can Javier Saiz ever draw Swamp Thing - really groovy facial expressions - excellent figures and heroic action that feels like Swamp Thing directed by Steven Spielberg or something - just a bloody good comic book. I will confess that I was sad to see a certain someone go ...such as it is when you start really liking the supporting players - ahh, well - I respect a writer with the balls to kill good characters.

It's been since Chester and Liz in the swamp that anyone has created a new world for the Swamp Thing that I've given a shit about. From the Moore days on too many writers have felt they needed to be messing with the character constantly and it is mighty refreshing to be reading actual storytelling again - I dig it.
This is another Charles Soule issue that feels like a comic book - a good comic book, which is strong art and a page-turner of a story. comic book character, not some deeply soulful demigod who loses his wife and child - ugh.
The '80s run had evolved into very much a Vertigo book with each subsequent offering just that much closer but, with the character having been definitively put back into the DCU as a "comic book", it is extremely fun to see him written as a
Soule isn't trying to emulate Alan Moore or redefine Swamp Thing - he's trying to entertain - to create some stories we've never read before and it is truly the best the comic has been in decades.