Deadman and Poison Ivy continue to provide guidance to Alec Holland as the titular character attempts to discern the hows and whys of the world he finds in “Swamp Thing” #14. However, Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette bring much more to the table as they provide more insight into the lifelong bond between Abigail Arcane and Alec Holland in a story threaded throughout this issue.
From the haunting opening page (just a week too late for Halloween spookiness) to the apparently triumphant foe on the cliffhanger final page, this issue presents a compilation of beautifully disturbing imagery from Yanick Paquette and Nathan Fairbairn that illustrates the incredible unpredictability of “Rotworld.” Plants and decay are the two driving forces of this installment in “Swamp Thing” #14 and the artistic duo manage to liven up those notions with intricate panel borders and carefully connected coloring. Fairbairn’s range of greens is as descriptive to the Grove and the power of Swamp Thing as any imagery drawn by Paquette or words written by Snyder.
Not that either creator is slacking in this issue — Paquette brings his considerable talent to bear once more, giving fans a triumphant, fist-pumping moment early in the issue as Swamp Thing puts his foot down on the Rot-infested heroes and civilians. Literally. Paquette’s knack for detail is almost overwhelming, especially given the dynamic scene changes throughout this issue.
Snyder’s choice to layer the story of “Rotworld” over and through tales of days past is an interesting one. Through the days past we get more insight into Abby, a character who clearly still has a major role to play in the development of Alec Holland, the Rot and the Green. Snyder balances the two adventures nicely, giving Abby enough prominence and personality to clearly handle the problems she faces. No costume, no powers, just simple willpower and intelligence. Through those decisions, it feels as though Snyder is giving Abby more development and growth than Alec at this point in the series.
“Rotworld” is in full swing. This is only the second chapter of the Swamp Thing side of the saga, but so much groundwork has been provided for the story that it feels more established. A large portion of that is due to the fact that Snyder threads through characters and concepts from his entire run and beyond. The final page of this issue is proof of that. “Rotworld” is familiar and creepy, unexpected and exciting.