“Swamp Thing” After Snyder: Bring In Some Soule

I’m not in the habit of writing follow-up posts or really linking multiple posts together in some fashion like some of the other writers here in the LUN Office. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, mind you. In fact, I rather enjoy when people link smaller bits together to make a vast network of self-referential material. Why else would I love comics?

And yes, I am in the middle of a tremendous post that has nothing to do with comics. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something a bit… bigger. But I really needed to take a break from that, and I wanted to address an issue (not a “bad thing,” but an issue of a comic. That’s all.) that arose this week.

If you remember back a few months (and if you don’t, here’s what I talking about), we released a bit of information about Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette stepping down as the creative team of one of my favorite titles, DC’s Swamp Thing. I was bummed when I first heard the news, but understand that they are both on to bigger and better things (Snyder is working on a new Superman book with Jim Lee AND focusing on his new title The Wake, an underwater horror tale coming this summer.) Plus, Snyder is well-documented as having said that as soon as he feels he can’t say anything else with a character, or when the stories becomes less than the most important story he could ever tell, he will back away.

Let’s just hope he can keep telling Batman stories until the end of time.

Regardless, DC brought in writer Charles Soule (Image’s 27, Archaia’s Strange Attractors) and artist Kano (DC’s Gotham Central, Marvel’s The Immortal Iron Fist) to take over. If you recall, I wasn’t really dissing the change, and I never said anything rash like, “That’s it! I’m out! No more Swamp Thing for me! Not without Snyder’s deft fingers applying the beautiful and horrifying dialogue and subtext for Paquette’s beautiful visuals!”

I was bummed they were leaving, but that didn’t mean I was going anywhere.

This past week, issue #19 dropped into my pull, and you know what?

It was pretty awesome.

I won’t get too far into it, but basically Swamp Thing smashes a desert oasis constructed by a mysterious manipulator of The Green that calls himself “The Seeder.” Swampy’s pissed because he’s throwing the delicate worldwide network of plants (of which he perpetually resides) into a tizzy, so he travels to Metropolis to talk to Superman about making tough decisions involving the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few and prioritizing exactly who gets saved and who dies in the event of a catastrophe.

Clark doesn't really show up much in this issue, but he's around enough.

Clark doesn’t really show up much in this issue, but he’s around enough.

You know… superhero stuff.

Swamp Thing bumps into Scarecrow, who is stealing rare flowers to make his fear gas, and Swampy tries to stop him. Scarecrow juices Swamp Thing, who passes out just before Metropolis erupts into tangles of gnarled vines.

I'm not sure "Oops" covers it, Crane.

I’m not sure “Oops” covers it, Crane.

Of course, it cuts off there, but the story itself is really driven by Swamp Thing’s internal monologue (which is an act steeped in tradition and harkening back to the early days when Swamp Thing couldn’t talk) and the absolutely fantastic artwork from Kano’s pen.

Seriously. This guy quickly became one of my favorite pencilers. It took him one issue. Bam.

Yes, Swamp Thing can become a cactus. Cacti are plants, he's in the desert. It just makes sense, dammit!

Yes, Swamp Thing can become a cactus. Cacti are plants, he’s in the desert. It just makes sense, dammit!

Regardless, while I do miss Snyder’s dialogue, I really dug Soule’s dialogue, especially in the scene with Swamp Thing discovering a nest of rats chewing through the roots of a tree and subsequently destroying the entire rat family with a clench of his fist.

Swamp Thing doesn't mess around when trees aren't happy!

Swamp Thing doesn’t mess around when trees aren’t happy!

I know I was a bit concerned but Swamp Thing losing some of it’s dark edge when Snyder left, but I can see that won’t be a problem.

If you are already on Swamp Thing, stay on, for God’s sake! And if you aren’t, now is the perfect time to start. Swamp Thing has never been one of the biggest-selling titles (which is why I can grab up early issues from the first run for $10 or less!), but I’ve never felt cheated after picking up a Swamp Thing book, especially in the New 52.

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