Monday, 23 September 2013

Swamp Thing # 23.1 Arcane

If your wanting a Villains Month comic that does not tie-in directly to Forever Evil then this is a book for you, whatever is going on in Forever Evil has no impact on this issue what so ever. 

Swamp Thing issue 23.1 unashamedly fleshes out what has been, and lays the foundations for what is to come in the Swamp Thing book. Anton Arcane the avatar for the parliament of rot before his fall is now locked in his own personnel hell, the parliament has imprisoned him in his own world that is full of life and where nothing ever rots, something that is slowly driving Anton insane (if he wasn't already).

Into this personnel hell steps the present avatar of the rot Anton’s niece Abigail who is looking for answers on what happened to her mother, as all memory of her was eroded by her Uncle as her prepared her to become a child of the rot. What follows is a shortened history of the Arcane family and the rot all from Anton’s perspective, which helps to give you (the reader) an understanding of how Anton became the way he did. While not avoiding the fact that even without the rots influence, Anton was always destined to become a monster of one sort or another.

The story is as you would expect not a happy one and I would suggest reading it after eating especially if you’re having rabbit (you have been warned), Abigail’s part in the story which is intertwined with Anton’s portrays her as a victim of the family curse, rather than the monster her uncle is or wants her to be. The verbal sparring between Anton and Abigail is brilliantly written as Anton looks for ways to exploit any vulnerability that Abigail may have, as she comes to term with the power she now wields from been the latest avatar of the rot. Its throughout this sparing that you always have the uneasy feeling that Anton is not quite as helpless as he acts or appears , despite the upper hand presently been held by Abigail you always feel that he is ultimately in charge of the situation.

The final revelation on what actually happened to Abigail’s mother is a predictable twist but is still shocking to read and see, Anton’s final act as Abigail exits leaving him alone to his hellish world sets things up nicely for future story lines to come.
Swamp Thing was one of those books I decided to try when the DC Universe reinvented itself a decision I have never regretted, so when it was announced that writer Scott Snyder would be leaving the book I had major concerns. After all he had (in my opinion) reinvented Swamp Thing and made a second string character a must read book every month, well I had worries and sleepless nights (not really) for nothing as the book hasn't missed a beat since Snyder’s departure. Charles Soule is capturing all the horror and madness of Swamp Things world that was set up in Snyder’s run, without compromising the stories and plot lines he is currently writing. Jesus Saiz art is as good as anything that's been produced in this book and his visuals leave you in no doubt that you are reading a horror comic that just happens to be set in the DC Universe, this book is not one for the little one.

If you are reading Swamp Thing and gave this a miss due to the Villains month tie-in get to your local comic shop as fast as you can because you've missed a great story, if you've not been reading Swamp Thing at all its the same advise.

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