Saturday, April 5, 2014

Swamp Thing #30 Review

Written by: Charles Soule
Art by: Jesus Saiz
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: April 2, 2014

Savagely Decent

Swamp Thing has been one of the highlights of the New 52.  Charles Soule has taken it and somehow made it better.  I'm not Alfred Einstein, but I think it's the personal side of the Swamp Thing mythos that's elevated the title.  Yes. we still get the Avatar of the Green, but we also get a heavy does of Alec Holland and a colorful cast of characters gathering around him.  This has been showcased in the current " The Gift of the Sureen" arc which this issue is part 2 of 3.  So is this issue more Empire Strikes Back or Troll 2?  The answer may lie somewhere in between.

Alec Holland is in big trouble.  Those crazy Sureen have tricked him into body hopping into a drugged body of one of their own.  Then they took the Avatar's body and are filming what looks like a sequel to Alien Autopsy.  While it is still hazy what they fully intend to do or find, I can assure you it's not good...for the World, but especially for Alec Holland.

While he has been revived by Capucine and his band of former Avatars, he is not looking so good.  In fact, he's dying.  I guess he didn't read the fine print when he accepted the Sureen's offer to transfer his body to a human.  You know, the print that says, "may cause death."  Speaking of the Sureen, it shouldn't surprise anyone that they aren't what they claimed.

Alec and friends find out where the Sureen are with the help of an awesome guest star, Vandal Savage.  I love Vandal and it's always fun when he pops up in a book.  After a little sparring with Capucine he gives directions and a jet.  What a guy.  However, when they get to their destination, the Avatar's body is nowhere to be found.  The only thing they find is the cold hard truth about the Sureen and what will happen to Alec if they don't find his body quick (hint: "may cause death").

Soule also throws in a couple of mysteries throughout the issue.  Who was the group who stole the Avatar's body?
What are the Wolf and Lady Weeds really up too? Who is this mysterious woman wanting to get sexy with Alec?  Why is sparring worth directions and the use of a private jet?  I can't wait for all these questions to be answered.

Charles Soule is making us wait another month, however.  I have to admit, this was my least favorite issue of Swamp Thing since he took the reigns.  It's not the fault of the story, but more of pacing.  Not much goes on and it's very exposition heavy.  Soule is good enough to make it good, just not the great he has consistently delivered.  A warning to those wanting to jump into the series with this issue, you will be lost.  I would advise you to start with Soule's first issue, #19 or at least last months start of this arc.

Jesus Saiz does as fine a job as usual.  In fact, without much action to rely on, he does a great job.  His facial expressions on the characters tell a story themselves.  I must also give him full props for the cover which has a retro awesomeness that I love.

Bits and Pieces:

Swamp Thing #30 works more as a setup for next months finale than a great standalone issue.  It is a slow exposition heavy issue that I'm sure will pay off next month.  However, it's this month and I can't help feel a little disappointed.  However, this shows that even when Soule and Saiz slip a bit, they are still far ahead of what others give us week in and week out.


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