broo1232's Swamp Thing #20 - This Green Hell review

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Well I'm sold on Soule's take on Swamp Thing.

This is a series I am not likely to drop ever mainly because Swampy is my favourite character and second this book has consistently been my favourite series since I first read it, even with a slightly weak issue it has remained on top. The last issue of the series was a good introduction for the new creative team and I liked it and I thought this series was in good hands and I wanted to see some more of this.


Swamp Thing enters a dream state after he is hit by some of the Scarecrow’s fear toxin while the plants go wild attacking Metropolis and Superman comes into help save the city and tries to calm Swamp Thing.


This was a really good issue not 5 star worthy but I have absolutely no doubt that this book is now in good hands as Soule has nailed this book I just have one small problem that I will go into in more detail at the end which detracted from the issue. Scott Snyder basically for me made Swamp Thing my favourite characters as he explored his whole relationship with Abby and the Green in a great way that redefined him for the New 52 and the run was an original yet true to the character story that I have read and re-read, but enough about Scott Snyder’s run this is Charles Soule’s run and it’s off to a fantastic start.

This issue shows the direction of the series is different and I liked that a lot. This issue enters the sort of surreal with these dream sequences caused by the fear toxin from Scarecrow and well this was a fantastic exploration of what Alec fears the most and this is probably the best use of the fear toxin I’ve ever seen but I’ve not read much Scarecrow so I can’t tell. I liked this a lot it was a creative part of this issue and while you had to look in a bit to see the message this basically tells you what Alec wants and fears most of all, and I think this made the issue so special and it’s not every day you see something like this. I do however think Soule should only use this occasionally as this could get boring if it is overused and well it’s a bit hard to understand the magnitude of what Alec is going through at first, and if this became a theme, it would become too much and I would lose track so I think this should be a recurring theme not an ongoing thing but I think this only happened due to the circumstances of this issue.

I was very pleased with Superman’s role in this issue it was not at all forced although the reason he appeared was fairly obvious but I loved his involvement in this issue. I will not spoil what Superman does but I think he sort of goes into a brief mentoring role for Alec which I thought was a great idea since Superman was always sort of stuck between two worlds and so is Alec and it made sense. The brief action scene Superman is in is interesting and it was good to see how he reacted to the current situation and it was quite a creative use of his powers especially in one bit with a bus.

Minor spoilers for this paragraph! You have been warned!

Last issue we saw Swamp Thing change into different versions of him due to his current location turning to Cactus Swamp Thing in the dessert and a sort of more bushy version in Metropolis and well this probably introduces my favourite incarnation of Swamp Thing yet (Spoilers last chance) this issue we have charcoal Swamp Thing. I will not spoil how it happens but the reason it happens isn’t forced and I can totally see it happening but what made me really happy with this is the fact that it’s even happening. Soule is exploring Alec’s new powers in a clever and interesting way that has loads of potential for interesting story points.

The ending is baffling it feels a tiny bit forced because one second the Superman bit is wrapping up and then this happens it just felt a tiny bit forced just so it can happen and set up for the next arc but it is interesting and I want to see more.

Let me just discuss what I want Soule to do with his run and why I think it’s so good because I do not want to go into any more details about the issue as I do not want to spoil it. I continue to like Soule’s theme of integrating him more into the DC U but still focussing on Swamp Thing like in this issue where Superman is put in but Alec still is the main character as it explores his current state of mind, if Soule can keep this up I’m sure this will be a fantastic run with a lot of fun character moments and action (hey Constantine is going to appear! That will be fun) I also like the fact that Soule is going for tight short arcs of 2 or 3 issues as Snyder’s run was literally one giant long epic even though it went through several different stages, and Soule’s choice for smaller arcs makes it a nice and fresh change for Swamp Thing.

The art is still fantastic in this issue and while I still prefer Paquette’s art due to the nice refined feel it had and the completely wacky page layouts Kano is definitely a great artist for this series and I love what he has done on this series so far. So far I have liked Kano’s depiction of Swamp Thing a lot because he handles his look very well but also adds a good bit of emotion to him making him seem like a human character on the inside. Kano also did a great job with the action in this issue making it look very dynamic. I think Kano also handled the surreal parts of this issue very well making it look weird with faces and the lighting makes it look different and this added to the overall feel of the book.


I’m totally sold on Soule’s take with Swamp Thing it looks to be quite a fast paced book with a lot of fast paced arcs and this issue had a very interesting exploration of what Alec has been through and it made this issue special because it is not every day something like this happens in a comic also the scene with Superman was really good the ending just held it back a bit because it felt a bit sudden.

4 stars

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