Jesus Saiz’s art transforms “Swamp Thing” #25, adding an intricate level of detail and nuanced diversity to the Parliament in Charles Soule’s story of Swamp Thing facing off against the Seeder. At its core, this is the story of a death match between Alec Holland and the Seeder, who challenges Holland’s claim to the mantle of Avatar of the Green.
Set in a hidden, verdant arena in Mato Grosso, Brazil, the battle is brutal and brilliant. Soule finds plenty of angles to feed the story, and wonderfully refreshes readers with a succinct encapsulation of the events leading to this issue, making “Swamp Thing” #25 a capable issue for new readers. Soule fills the issue with humor and horror, matching Swamp Thing’s self-righteous presumptions with hungry, unhampered challenges from Seeder. The face-off that launches the conflict is funny and dramatic, heavy with implications of the struggle to follow. Not only does Soule reward longtime Swamp Thing readers with the revelation of the Seeder’s identity, but he also delivers a payoff that plays to his artist’s command of subtlety, detail and power with a final page cliffhanger.
Jesus Saiz is a perfect artist for this title. He captures the essence of Swamp Thing, filling the character with power and detail and covering him with plant life that is refreshing and lush. Swamp Thing is not covered with moss and the occasional leaf; Saiz’s take on Holland’s primary shell is covered in stalks and stems, stamens and petals. Sure, botanists might argue the accuracy of some of the foliage, but it’s not hard to imagine Swamp Thing rustling as he walks, palm fronds and corn stalks brushing one against the other. The additional bodies Holland summons each have their own distinct appearance and texture. The Seeder meanwhile is as brilliantly human as Swamp Thing is not. Working with a mixture of magic and science, the Seeder is fierce and intimidating Saiz draws a constant snarl on Seeder’s face, transmitting the fury boiling within the character as he so desperately fights for what he believes is his right.
“Swamp Thing” #25 is more superhero fisticuffs than anything else, but Soule and Saiz elevate the story to be so much more, giving readers plenty to absorb. In addition to the battle, the creative team layers in history and humanity, making this issue a complete comic book rife with actions and consequences growing from those actions. Swamp Thing is a solidly entertaining comic book with Charles Soule and Jesus Saiz mixing action, adventure, mysticism, humor and intrigue into a consistently enjoyable title. “Swamp Thing” #25 is a solid continuation of what Soule has brought to this title since joining it, but it also provides a welcome entry point for new readers to sample one of the best titles currently in DC’s publishing roster.