Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Swamp Thing Annual #3 Review

Written by: Charles Soule
Art by: Javier Pina, Carmen Carnero, Ryan Browne, Dave Bullock and Yanick Paquette
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: November 11, 2014

Small Popcorn

There is one thing I've learned about Charles Soule's run on Swamp Thing, let him write a one-shot story and he will hit it out of the park.  With his run nearly at an end, this Annual seems like the beginning of an encore that I'm sure will be stellar.  While he's brought so much to the Swamp Thing Mythos, this issue is a very personal one.  Personal for Alec Holland, personal for Capucine and personal for the fans of this book.  Like every Soule story, it has twists and turns, but ends up right where it should.

Capucine is dying.  The thousand years she was given is coming to an end and unfortunately, Etrigan is coming for her body.  Actually, he's pretty impatient and is sending his minions to get her a little bit early. She makes Alec promise to guard her body and then asks to hear a story.  That's when we get the awesome...Popcorn Swamp Thing!  He's so cute and has now passed baby Swamp Thing as my most wanted plushie.  The story doesn't ease Capucine's pain, but it may be a window into Charles Soule's mind when it comes to this book continuing...or he just doesn't like trilogies.

We then get a full page spread of Etrigan's origin story, which I loved and then the beginning of a huge battle with the Demon himself.  I have to admit that most of the time Etrigan appears, I get annoyed with him rather quickly.  It's not just the rhyming, but also that he comes off as a joke.  Not here.  He is conniving, manipulative and downright...demonic.   To fight him, Capucine has used the Sureen to enter Swamp Thing's body and as they fight, Etrigan is telling Alec how he's been played by her.  He tells Alec that she has been using him all along just to become the Avatar and while you hope he's lying, it all makes so much sense.

In the end, Capucine fans (which I count myself as one) will not be disappointed.  She has never been a one dimensional character and Soule continues that to such great effect.  The ending is a slap your forehead, awesome ending that just fits the whole run so well.

I usually would hate having five artists on one book, but while the transitions are jarring, the individual art is good.  I loved the Popcorn Swamp Thing and the origin of Etrigan and everything else was pretty good as well.

Bits and Pieces:

This Annual felt like a personal story from Charles Soule to those who've been with him for his full run.  Capucine has been such a great character and we get to say goodbye to her in style.  While having five artists on any book is beyond ridiculous, each one does a good enough job to overlook it.  Charles Soule has done so much for the Swamp Thing Mythos, but it's stories like this that I'm going to miss most when he's gone.


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