Overall, Charles Soule’s run on “Swamp Thing” has proved to be entertaining, in many ways a throwback to the sort of mood that Alan Moore’s pre-Vertigo run on the book also displayed. With “Swamp Thing” #24, the issue doesn’t feel quite as cohesive, but there’s still more than enough good material from Soule and guest artist Andrei Bressan that it’s a good enough continuation of what’s been seen up until now.
The center of “Swamp Thing” #24 is the reveal of the Seeder, the mysterious individual who’s been upsetting the balance of the Green. The reveal happening this early is honestly a bit of a surprise; Soule could have easily extended the pattern of Swamp Thing cleaning up the Seeder’s messes for quite some time, so I have to give Soule credit for not being afraid to cut right to the chase. More importantly, the identity of the Seeder is pretty clever; it fits in both with current “Swamp Thing” continuity as well as links back to pre-New 52 DC Comics, and it’s a logical next step for this familiar face. I also appreciate that the Seeder isn’t simply a villain, but rather someone who’s been genuinely trying to do a good thing for the planet up until now. While his actions have had unforeseen consequences, he hasn’t been deliberately wreaking havoc.
Soule also does a good job with juggling the other storyline with Capucine, who is still a bit of an enigma but is getting more interesting with each additional issue. The “oops, we’ll continue this conversation about your origins later” cut-off is a little too predictable, but I do appreciate that neither Swamp Thing nor Capucine are deliberately letting that mystery dangle. The only part that doesn’t quite shine in terms of story is the battle between Swamp Thing and the Seeder, and more importantly the cliffhanger leading into the next part of the storyline. It felt a little too forced, a little too, “this is what they should do next because this is a comic.” I have no doubt that Soule’s actual execution of the next phase of this storyline will be strong, but judged solely in a vacuum it’s a little rough around the edges and doesn’t feel quite as organic.
Bressan’s a good choice for a fill-in artist; it feels like he’s channeling past “Swamp Thing” artists like Scot Eaton and Alfredo Alcala. His usage of foliage as panel borders on page 3 is something that could have felt forced, but instead comes across as sweeping and full of grace as it draws your eyes across the page. The best moment in the comic is probably when Capucine kicks the Seeder in the face, though. The angle of her leg and foot in relation to her body is perfect; there’s such a visual impact in that moment that you don’t need the “Thwak” sound effect to get what happened here. Add in the delicate intricacies of the vegetation and the expressive faces and I’d welcome Bressan back for another guest stint.
“Swamp Thing” #24 is still good, it’s just not quite as perfectly polished as the last few issues have been. Still, Soule’s run has definitely been a success up until now, and I’d say this issue continues that trend. If you haven’t been reading, this would be a good a place as any to dip in and give it a try.