New Comic Book Day: Swamp Thing #23.1/Arcane #1

Cover of "Arcane #1"

Cover of “Arcane #1”

It would not be false to say I am a HUGE fan of Swamp Thing. I have been sense I was a very young child. I even had one of those Swamp Thing action figures from the movie, the “Bio-Glow” one that came with an axe and mace made out of twisted tree branches.

Of course, I did what ever teen does after years of enjoying something as a child: I sold it at a yard sale, right alongside my transforming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (that are now worth $50 a piece or so), and my Nintendo 64 along with all my games (even Goldeneye 007).

Regardless, the second that I started reading comics, I vowed to get as much Swamp Thing as I could get my hands on and catch up on everything that I missed. Scott Snyder’s Swamp Thing was one of the first things I added on my list, and as I’ve already documented, I was overjoyed with the run and hesitant to celebrate his departure for Charles Soule.

However, I have not been disappointed. Soule’s recent storyline involving the mysterious Seeder has been one of my favorites in recent memory, and Soule continues to add to the dense and intricate history built over the last 40 by great writers Len Wein, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Brian K. Vaughan, and many others.

DC’s contribution this week, Swamp Thing #23.1, is no different. In it, writer Charles Soule and artist Jesus Sais display Swamp Thing’s greatest adversary, Anton Arcane, in his own personal hell: a beauty green meadow in which nothing dies and nothing decays. Newest Avatar of the Rot Abigail Arcane appears to him and asks about her mother.

Abigail appears to Anton in his "prison"

Abigail appears to Anton in his “prison”

A majority of the issue is simply a brief history of Anton Arcane, and his history with Abigail’s mother. However, Soule layers small details from Swamp Thing history into the tale, and adds some new details that slide into the strata of green perfectly. I can’t go into too much detail about issue without blowing the top off of the whole thing, but I will say this: Anton Arcane is constantly up to his tricks, and this issue is no different. He seems to have tricks that last to the very end.

Whether you are new to the title, looking for something a bit darker than the normal DC titles, or have read every issue and understand the significance of Swamp Thing #23.1 being titled “Patchwork History,” I HIGHLY recommend checking out this issue. Maybe you’ll get to know the first family of the Rot a little better.

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