Hot off the heels of his debut issue on Swamp Thing, writer Charles Soule ramps up the action this month with Scarecrow’s fear toxin leading to Swamp Thing inadvertently unleashing the Green on Metropolis. What follows is a fairly action-centric issue that focuses on Superman battling the Green across Metropolis before attempting to stop Alec from damaging the city further. Unfortunately, while the issue certainly had some great moments, the story’s focus on Superman gave this issue a mixed and ultimately uncharacteristic tone.
For starters, the art in this issue was great. Kano continues to impress with his clean, highly detailed drawings. I feel like he has a really good sense of how Swamp Thing should look, something which I feel some artists seemed to lack during the Rotworld event. I’m terms of writing, I thought the final conversation between Swamp Thing and Superman worked really well. Superman is perhaps more akin to Alec that any other superhero, in that he too is very separated from humanity. This led to an interesting conversation between the two, and Clark gave Alec some great advice on how to stay connected to his human side, despite his green exterior. Additionally, the last page was intriguing, with the reveal of a new character (whom Soule identified as Capucine) hinting at an interesting new story arc for next months issue.
Soule’s first issue on this series felt almost like a classic Swamp Thing story from Alan Moore’s run, featuring a lot of quite time for Alec to reflect and think about his relationship with the Green and the people around him. It’s those moments when Swamp Thing is at his best, as it provides something decidedly different from most books DC publishes. Unfortunately, this style of storytelling isn’t present in this months issue, as Alec and his internal conflict take a backseat while Superman takes on the Green. In all honesty, this didn’t really feel like a Swamp Thing comic, it felt more like an issue of Superman with Swamp Thing thrown in to create a conflict. I’m okay with Swamp Thing becoming more integrated with the rest DCU, but not if it means we’ll start to lose the qualities that make Swamp Thing such a unique title in favor of more standard comic book fare like that which is present in this issue. I encourage Soule to feature other characters from the DCU in Swamp Thing’s adventures, but feature them in a way that supports Alec’s story, rather than the other way around.
While Charles Soule presented a strong first issue for his run on Swamp Thing, in this month’s issue he was unable to keep the mix of unique flair and traditional Swamp Thing storytelling that made the first issue so successful. While there were a few excellent pages devoted to Alec’s nightmare about the Green and its motivations, Soule spent most of his time showcasing Superman battling the Green that Alec inadvertently had attack Metropolis. While this would have been great for a Superman comic, it doesn’t work well for Swamp Thing. Luckily some strong art from Kano keeps the issue together, and an intriguing final page seems to point towards a more traditional Swamp Thing story in the near future.