Thursday, October 11, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Swamp Thing #23.1 Arcane Review

Extremely Rotten

Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Jesus Saiz
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: September 18, 2013

Cover Price: $3.99

I will admit it right off the bat, I haven't read much of Swamp Thing.  I know, I know.  It's usually the best-reviewed book of its week and it has a loyal following.  I just never connected with the character. Please forgive me.  However, after going back-and-forth deciding whether to read Swamp Thing #23.1 I gave it a go.  Fortunately, it was so good that I decided to review it.

Swamp Thing #23.1 shows us a miserable Arcane toiling in his own private Hell.  A place where there is no permanent death because there is no rot.  A fitting Hell for the former Avatar of the Rot.  After a hilarious attempt at killing a bunny rabbit, he gets a visit from his niece Abigail, the current Avatar.  She asks her Uncle, Arcane, to tell the story of her Mother.  In exchange for a taste of the Rot, he agrees and intertwines his own origin story with the twisted tale of Abigail's Mother.  The story is horrific, full of half-truths and a surprise ending. 

When Abigail leaves Arcane in disgust declaring he will never taste the Rot again, he quickly springs into action in an attempt to escape his prison.  What he does and how it plays out is disgusting and hilarious. Anton Arcane is a despicably horrible man and Soule does not try to steer clear of it.  In fact, while a lot of Villain's Month issues try to make you feel sorry for its subjects, this issue makes you despise him more.  Charles Soule, you are a genius.

Jesus Saiz also does a great job here.  The book has a Gothic, horror look that fits just right.  The character work is also outstanding.

Bits and Pieces:

Regular series writer, Charles Soule, does a great job giving us two origin stories and a rebirth. Swamp Thing #23.1 is not only my favorite Villain's Month issue but has made me a Charles Soule fan as well. Believe the hype, he is that good.  Swamp Thing has entered my pull list as long as he is at the helm.


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