Swamp Thing 22
Charles Soule, Kano
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Charles Soule continues planting his legacy with… You know what? That pun was so terrible and accidental that I’ll just leave it alone. He’s great. And he’s continuing to be so. And although I was a little sad to see last issue’s artist, Jesus Saiz, was not involved with Swamp Thing anymore as of this issue, Kano is a completely capable artist and I think his artwork really fits the character. I love the fact that this storyline is a miniature, good old fashioned two-parter. Not many writers nowadays can pull off a story without at least six (if not more) parts to drag out and further convolute and complicate what should have been an easy read. It was just an added bonus that Constantine is the next guest star in the already star-studded run of Soule.
The story, as I said, is a simple one. And that’s what makes it so great. A new villain, if you can even call him that, known as the Seeder is seen walking into a small Scottish village and granting its inhabitants (all 72 of them) their greatest wish: an escape from poverty and desperation. He does so by providing them with jobs and a source of income and happiness in the form of a magical tree that grows and drips whiskey. He then disappears, which leads both Alec Holland and John Constantine to investigate this anomaly that is upsetting the balance of nature. They chat, piss each other off, fight a little, and then Swamp Thing comes to the realization that something is terribly wrong with this small village. The “whiskey” isn’t whiskey at all. It’s something that is turning its imbibers into crazed blood-thirsty lunatics. And, well, if you know anything about John Constantine, it’s that other than his knowledge of magic, his propensity for being a little bit of an ass, and his nicotine addiction, the only other attribute that he displays time and time again is that of his love for alcohol. Yep. That’s right. Swamp Thing has to save the town from the magical tree, save its people from one another, and do this all while fighting John Constantine, who arrived earlier than him and spent the extra time drinking from the evil magic liquid.
So there you have it. Another fantastic issue from Soule and company. Perhaps the greatest strength of this writer is not his actual style or storytelling capabilities, which is something that he has proven he is certainly far from lacking. (If you don’t believe me, check out the Strange Attractors graphic novel or current issues of Red Lanterns or Thunderbolts, still on stands today. All three are vastly different yet a great reading experience for completely unrelated reasons.) It’s the fact that he completely and unapologetically nails the characterization of Constantine, much like that of Superman and his cameo a few issues back. He really seems to “get” each and every single character he uses in his stories, whether they’re his creations or ages old fan-favorites. Any writer who can treat each character with the proper justice and provide him or her with a voice that doesn’t seem forced or fake is a welcome one for me in any medium, especially in comics. This is, hands down, the best written comic on the stands today for that reason among many others. You’ll be kicking yourself if you wait too long to get on the bandwagon.
My Rating: 5/5