Alec Holland takes a step to the side as the spotlight focuses on the new Avatar in Swamp Thing #26!
** SPOILERS AHEAD **
Jason Woodrue has become the new Avatar of the Green, defeating Alec Holland in combat. As a result, Alec becomes one with the parliament of trees and narrates this issue from the background. Alec gains a new understanding for the history of the green as well as what is to come. He guides us through the history of Jason Woodrue and the vicious reality the new Avatar is trying to conceive.
The new origin of Jason Woodrue is interesting and far more believable than the character’s previous incarnations. Although the story pauses to deliver more of Woodrue’s past, Soule keeps the momentum going and the reader fully understands the effort Woodrue went through in order to become the Avatar. At first you will feel bad for Woodrue, but by the end of the issue, you might hate him.
Another interesting angle in Charles Soule’s writing is the appearance of a guest that is familiar to the Swamp Thing series. The Animal Man, Buddy Baker, is challenged to a battle by Jason Woodrue. This takes place before the Splinterfolk arrived in Animal Man and serves as a limbo where Soule was able to bring the character in without hurting any continuity of Animal Man. Seeing Animal Man fight the new Swamp Thing is filled with both action, excitement, and innovation.
Jesus Saiz continues to maintain the same level of artistic talent throughout Swamp Thing. It is great to see Saiz draw not only Animal Man, but his abilities in combat. All of the artwork remains detailed and equally devoted from start to finish. Saiz also brings a sense of horror into the action and it makes the weight of the issue that much heavier and emotionally engaging. With Saiz’s artwork and Soule’s writing, Swamp Thing continues to be an incredible book.
Although it looks very cool, there is no reason for Swamp Thing to grow wings to travel. As Jason Woodrue found out in the battle against Alec Holland, an Avatar of the Green can make and unmake him/herself using any plant life in the area. The consciousness of the Avatar can bounce from plant to plant, and it provides an almost teleportation style of transportation that supersedes the ability of flight. Yes, Woodrue is a very new Avatar, but for a character that has grown leaps and bounds in abilities merely by watching others, it doesn’t make sense that he wouldn’t have picked this power up at least as quickly as former Avatars.
Despite the melancholy that courses through every corner of the book, Swamp Thing #26 continues to expand on both the artistic and storytelling front. Alec Holland needs to return as soon as possible or the very fabric of nature will tear for good. No one is safe as long as Jason Woodrue remains as the Swamp Thing.