There is more to Anton Arcane that many may have realized. Seeing how far back he goes is almost staggering. When the story shifts to 'six years ago,' seeing Alec Holland before the events that lead to him becoming Swamp Thing is almost eerie. There's also the continue ties to ANIMAL MAN and the Red as Anton narrates about past avatars for both the Red and the Green he's killed.
That's another part that makes this issue stand out, it's Anton that does the narrating. We see things from his perspective. It's his hatred for the Green that led him to discover that Alec Holland was destined to be an avatar. Seeing the events leading up to the moment of the accident that killed Alec is pretty creepy in a different sort of way. What Anton does and almost does should send shivers down your spine.
Kano does a good job with the art. It is a little strange seeing a modern take on Holland's accident. Last year I re-read several of the early Swamp Thing stories, including the first appearance, and seeing it here is like listening to a good cover song. Of course the little revelations is quite the doosey.
Maybe it was because you could feel the momentum of the story building up but when we got to the end, it felt like the issue was short. We did have the normal amount of pages and maybe it's just that I wanted more.
Seeing Anton in his true form as well as agents of the Rot never feel creepy enough to me. There's something about the way they're colored and gives a bit of a cartoony look. In his true form, he should be scary as hell. Perhaps some darker colors and more shadows would add a different effect to his appearance.
Why is Anton Arcane a threat to Swamp Thing? This is the issue to illustrate who and what he is. We get to see what he's done in the past as well as the events leading up to the death of Alec Holland. We know he was destined to be the Parliament of Trees greatest avatar but there's been a tiny bit of confusion about the Swamp Thing we had before his return (in the pages of BRIGHTEST DAY). There are answers here that explain the difference in power and meaning of the two Swamp Things. Unfortunately you get pulled into the story and find yourself on the edge of your seat, even if you know where the story is going and then it's over. It could just be that I can't get enough of Scott Snyder's SWAMP THING. The big question is whether or not Alec will learn what happened before his accident and how it will affect the future story lines. As a zero issue, this one hits all the marks. We get to see what happened before issue #1 and what we learn will definitely matter to the series. I'm even more excited for year two of the New 52 now.