Sunday, May 11, 2014

Swamp Thing #31 Review

Written by: Charles Soule
Art by: Jesus Saiz and Javi Pina
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: May 7, 2014

Grey Area

The "Gift of the Sureen" arc is over and I'm a little torn about it.  On one hand, Charles Soule used the three parter to really expand on the Mythos of the Green.  On the other hand, after a really strong start, it ended up being more setup then it's own story, ending a little too open ended for my tastes.  Charles Soule is still tops in my book (we did vote him best writer of 2013 for a reason), but I'm left with the feeling he could have done more with this arc and this issue in particular.

Last issue introduced the Grey.  You know, fungus, mold, spores...  If you haven't heard of it before you've got good company, neither has Alec Holland.  Charles Soule brilliantly introduces it and at the same time explains how something so big has gone unnoticed for centuries.  Basically, the woman Alec is getting busy with from last issues cliffhanger is the Avatar of the Grey, in theory.  In practice, she has used the Sureen to inhabit body after body letting the Grey take care of itself.  Who could blame her, the Grey is pretty disgusting.

She wants Alec to join her as a deadbeat Avatar, but first he jumps into the body of the Grey Avatar.  It's not just a flashy scene, though it does look incredible.  Through Alec's actions and inner monologue, you get to see how different the Grey is from the Green.  Different and yes, disgusting.

This all leads to a showdown with the scientists who stole the Swamp Thing body.  The mystery of who they are and what they are doing is lifted a bit this issue.  I won't spoil it, but if you are like me, it will be a huge letdown. Furthermore, nothing really gets resolved.  Alec showing up to rescue his body, however, is awesome.  The Grey powers are in full effect and they are horribly great.

Of course, Alec isn't going to stay as the fill-in Grey Avatar, though I wish he would have for a little bit more.  He tricks Miki into doing a switcharoo.  It goes like this...Alec jumps into Miki's human body as she jumps into the Grey.  Then, Alec jumps from the human body into Swamp Thing.  It's not as complicated as it may sound and it looks great on the page.

Miki doesn't think it's so great, though.  She attacks Swamp Thing for putting her back into the filthy Grey.  I don't get it.  I know she liked that human body she was in, but I'm sure she'll just find another one.  Swamp Thing does complicate this by taking the Sureen priest with him because, "...the Grey Avatar seems like the type to hold a grudge."  Yea, this isn't the last we see of the Grey.

The issue ends with a reveal and a cliffhanger.  The reveal is pretty good and shows who's been pulling the strings all along.  While I was disappointed with what the scientists were planning, who is involved makes up for it a bit.  The cliffhanger involves Aquaman showing up looking pissed and demanding to see the Avatar of the Green.  It looks cool, but if you have been reading Aquaman it's no surprise he showed up.  I hate to fault this book because of the events of another, but he seems too pissed off based on what's been going on in Aquaman.  This will probably be resolved with the next issue of Aquaman, but for now it seems weird.

Jesus Saiz and Javi Pina work together to make this issue look great.  The Grey Avatar and his abilities are the highlight.  Disgustingly beautiful.

Bits and Pieces:

Swamp Thing #31 ends the Gift of the Sureen arc, but just feels like a letdown.  While the book expands on the Swamp Thing mythos and looks great, nothing gets resolved.  Maybe it's unfair to say, but i expect more from Charles Soule.


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