Charles Soule and Kano continue to embed Swamp Thing in the grander DC Universe in the pages of “Swamp Thing” #20 with appearances from Scarecrow and Superman, both of whom appeared in the previous issue. That issue, Soule’s and Kano’s first, brought Swamp Thing to Metropolis seeking advice from Superman. Naturally, things didn’t go as planned.
Soule makes Swamp Thing both vulnerable and omnipotent, struggling to cling to his humanity while reveling in the glory he receives from the plant kingdom. As the avatar of the Green, Swamp Thing is able to go anywhere, even where the smallest plant life exists, but he has been spending time extinguishing oases that should not exist. Wrestling with the notion of what to do with all that power and struck by the Scarecrow’s fear gas, Swamp Thing lashes out, but it happens all across Metropolis, gaining the attention of the Man of Steel. The fear toxin from Scarecrow shows Swamp Thing a life he could have had while farther harvesting the doubt already present in the avatar of the Green. My biggest reservation in this issue surfaces when Holland, uses “God” as an exclamation in a sentence, showing the grasp he is trying to retain on his humanity, but stepping aside from Snyder’s take on the character a bit.
Playing off of the doubt and hesitancy, Kano draws some very angular pages with sharp, almost broken looking, panel frames. His layout choices are nowhere near as organic as any of the previous artists on this volume, but he does appear to be strongly channeling John Totleben and Steve Bissette. Kano’s Swamp Thing is cleaner and tighter than the norm that has been established for this series, bordering on a superheroic appearance, which blends nicely during the conversation between Man of Vegetation and Man of Steel.
While I almost seized the opportunity to cut and run with this comic following Snyder’s departure, I’ve stuck around and I’m pleased with Soule’s take so far. Snyder’s story was so epic in scope that, quite simply, it’s nice to have a two-part “Swamp Thing” story, even if the ending leaves me scratching my noggin. Soule doesn’t discount anything Snyder did, nor does it slavishly hold to that newer chapter of the mythology. Much as Snyder reverentially played along with everything before him, but put his own stamp on the character, Soule appears to be following the exact same plan. So far, it’s been quite enjoyable.