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Interview: Charles Soule Talks SWAMP THING, Story Arcs and Vegetarians

Find out what the new SWAMP THING writer has planned for the series.

Alec Holland as Swamp Thing is facing a threat unlike any before in Scott Snyder's Rotworld arc. Alec is seeing horrible things as a result of Anton Arcane's dark and twisted attacks. As the story approaches its conclusion, so does Snyder's run on the series.

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It was announced earlier this month that Charles Soule would be taking over the series. His first issue (with artist Andy Brase) will be #19 in April but rather than wait until then, we asked him a few questions to find out what he has planned.

Comic Vine: We're seeing the end of practically an 18-issue story arc in SWAMP THING. Have you thought about what sort of stories/arcs you'll do?

Charles Soule: Absolutely. My plan is to treat SWAMP THING a bit like a serialized TV show, where there's a "season-long" arc, but each episode is also its own self-contained story. So, there will be an overarching mystery that Swampy will delve into, but I'm planning to do smaller, very distinct stories of 1-3 issues each. I'd like a reader to come away from any single issue with a very clear vibe of what the issue was about, whether that's by putting it in a particular setting, or via the characters Alec interacts with, or some big action sequence or emotional moment.

I'm looking forward to doing it this way because it will let me vary up the tone a bit from issue to issue. Swamp Thing is such a flexible character that his stories can veer from abject horror to a more philosophical feel, or even something absurd, surreal or totally action-based, and it will all work. I just want the reader to have a good time and I plan to make that happen by packing each issue with as many cool ideas I can dream up.

CV: Will Alec Holland have a 'base of operations'?

CS: Well, when we begin, he's pretty new to the job. As you know, Alec Holland took up the mantle of the Avatar of the Green during the Rotworld arc. Since that point, he's been very busy dealing with that situation – working to save the world, as he tends to do. So there hasn't been a chance for him to figure out where (or even how) he's going to live as this giant green plant dude. I plan to have him find answers to those questions as the story progresses. In other words, to actually answer your question, yes, he'll have a "base," but not right away.

== TEASER ==

CV: You've mentioned before about having Swamp Thing interact with the rest of the DCU. Can you give us any hints what you might have in mind? Will you stay in the "Dark" corner of the DCU or branch out to other areas?

CS: Well, the cover to the first issue I'm doing, #19, has a pretty big hint as to who he's going to meet up with first, so I don't feel like it's a spoiler to say that he's going to tangle with Scarecrow. I think the reason they meet and how it plays out are pretty fun. That story will run through #20. After that, we'll see, but I absolutely plan to keep having Swampy interact with the larger DC Universe, although not in every issue, and not always in the ways you might expect.

Swamp Thing is very firmly a part of the DCU. He'll meet the Dark characters, but I don't see a reason he couldn't have a great time with, say, Aquaman. After all there are plants everywhere and where you have plants, you can potentially have Swamp Thing.

CV: Will there be any sort of supporting cast?

CS: Expanding the Swamp Thing cast is one of my biggest goals for my time on the book. All sorts of people will cross Alec's path, and some of them will stick around. You'll get your first look at one of the new characters in 20 – I think she's super cool, and I think she'll make a great addition to the Swamp Thing team.

CV: Assuming Anton Arcane will be out of the picture, at least for a little, what sort of threats will Alec be dealing with?

CS: It will be a ix of what I'd call internal and external threats. The "bad guy" in a Swamp Thing story can be anything from an actual supervillain to the existential malaise of a guy who's given up his human self to live as a giant plant. Finding enemies for Swamp Thing is a fun creative challenge, because Swamp Thing is, in many ways, invulnerable and immensely powerful. That's not to say he can't be hurt, though. Alec Holland can absolutely feel pain and more particularly, loss. Beyond that, the DCU is filled with immensely creative and brilliant individuals, not all of whom are going to be friendly to the Avatar of the Green. Some of those guys will cause some serious trouble.

CV: Any plans to bring in any past Swamp Thing elements into the New 52?

CS: For sure. One thing I love about ST is the idea that there have been Avatars of the Green since prehistoric times, and the memories and experiences of all those previous Swampies are available for Alec to access. I'll get into some of that pretty quickly in my run. One question I'll play with is whether Alec is bound by the actions of the previous avatars – does he have to honor a promise made long ago, by a completely different avatar, even if it will put him and people he cares about in extreme danger?

CV: Swamp Thing and John Constantine have had past dealings in the pre-New 52. Will he be popping in anytime soon?

CS: Yes! Getting to put Constantine in a Swamp Thing story is one of the biggest perks to writing the title, as far as I'm concerned. He (and his Silk Cuts) will definitely be making an appearance.

Tefé Holland
Tefé Holland

CV: Thoughts on Tefe Holland?

CS: I really liked what Brian K. Vaughan did with her in his run. She hasn’t shown up in the New 52, but it's comics – never say never.

CV: What's Alec's view on vegetarians now? Would he feel threatened by them?

CS: Nah. Alec Holland LOVES plants – he thinks they're the absolute bomb. He loves them so much he turned himself into one. He can totally understand why some people wouldn't want to eat anything else.

That said, you just gave me an amazing idea for a new villain – The Vegan. A connoisseur of vegetarian cuisine, on a quest to taste every single plant on Earth. Now he hunts the ultimate quarry, fork in hand...THE SWAMP THING. It writes itself!*

*Note: This story will never be written, by itself or otherwise. Probably.

Be sure to check out the next installment of Rotworld in SWAMP THING #17, on sale February 6. And definitely check out Charles first issue in 19 on sale April 3.