After last month’s showdown between Swamp Thing and the Parliament of Trees, “Swamp Thing” #28 has Charles Soule and Javier Pina start setting up the new status quo, even as a new storyline is set in motion after months of teasing. It’s nice to finally get Capucine’s origin, but at the same time there’s no denying that the book slows down a great deal this month.
The rebirth of the several surviving members from the Parliament last month gets half of the issue, and while it’s nice to see Soule building up the supporting cast (something “Swamp Thing” has been slightly lacking in ever since the relaunch), getting to know this trio also is a bit slow paced. Still, Soule’s got a good mix of personalities in the characters, and there’s no denying that there’s a lot of story potential with them being in the title. Like so much of this issue, the slow pace almost certainly promises to pay off in future installments.
As for Capucine’s origin, I think it says more that I like the modern-day segments with the character than the flashbacks explaining both her longevity and the horror that awaits her when she finally dies. Her hiding out in the Bonneville Salt Flats is a clever move, and it fits in well with a character who’s managed to survive against assassins and the world at large for almost a thousand years. Her flashback’s not bad (and it’s long overdue, something even the character comments on in a nod to the readership), but the best part is understanding the price that she still has to pay. It promises to bring in a villain who has been associated with Swamp Thing ever since the Alan Moore/Steve Bissette/John Totleben issues, and I think this eventual pairing will work just as good now as it did then.
I enjoy regular artist Kano’s pages a great deal, but at the same time it’s hard to deny what a nice surprise it is when Pina fills in. His art’s been growing in leaps and bounds over the years, and this issue is definitely one of his best to date. The textured form of Swamp Thing here is beautiful, with little twists and turns of roots and vines, and he’s able to pull off moments like rebuilding a body or shifting his existing one in a way that feels incredibly organic and natural. (No pun intended.) As for the reborn trio of avatars, I like that they all appear very normal looking while still visually distinct. It would be easy to turn all three into drop-dead gorgeous characters, but I love that they’re the most average people on the street in New Orleans. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Pina’s welcome back whenever he wants.
“Swamp Thing” #28 is a slightly above average comic, but one that once again is poised for a strong storyline to come. Considering how many excellent issues we’ve had under Soule’s time on the title, the occasional dip down to merely good is more than acceptable. All in all, a dependable title keeps on moving forward towards more good things.