After the events of “Rotworld,” Arcane was left defeated by the Swamp Thing and Animal Man. His future was uncertain but now revealed in Swamp Thing #23.1!
We haven’t heard much from Arcane since “Rotworld,” but it was well worth the wait. Confined to a paradise of nature, Arcane sits in his own personal hell starving for anything related to the rot. This hell brings nothing but torture to the former Avatar of the Rot who was spoiled with an abundance of dead flesh. He reaches for any kind of animal life and slaughters it to find absolutely no signs of decomposition. This drives him into an endless cycle of self-inflicting pain.
Charles Soule writes for this issue of Swamp Thing and he takes the character into a brand new territory. He was able to bring about the struggle that Arcane has to endure as well as breathe life into his past. Abby makes an appearance in this issue adorning her new Avatar attire. It was great to see Abby again and with a lot more conviction. She wanted answers for her past that Arcane stole from her. She would reward him with a taste of the rot, only to take it right away afterwards.
Jesus Saiz’s artwork pulls this comic into a very high standard. The pages are full of character and they display how dynamic Saiz can display the mirror images of life and death. Abby looks gorgeous as well as haunting, and Arcane is absolutely hideous. The horror aspects of the book would be nonexistent without an artist that can bring so much to the table.
The imagery sways back and forth between present and past but the comic never loses its footing and establishes a well-developed pace. The paradise prison is every bit as interesting and breathtaking as Abby’s history. The comic ends on a creative note with aspirations of a return of Arcane. As a long running Swamp Thing fan, it is very exciting because it adds a question to the future of the series. What will Abby do if Arcane gets out of his prison?
Arcane was essentially a god on Earth, he took over the world and defeated all of its incredible heroes. He leaves a horrible vision of what the world can become if the Swamp Thing dies. If Arcane escapes, Abby may be able to return to the land of the living. This could be a nod or a hint as to what is to come in the series and it harkens back to the days of Alan Moore. It is a great time to be a fan of the Swamp God and the future is very promising for the series.
The only thing negative about this comic is that it ends in such an incredible way, that we as comic book lovers are left in our own prison, waiting for these actions to come to fruition.
Swamp Thing 23.1 is one of the finest additions to the Villain’s month catalogue. With an impeccable respect for the source material and the well-handled plot and expansion, this creative team takes the series to leaps and bounds above the rest. Swamp Thing 23.1 is fan service at its fullest.