When we left our courageous, mossy protagonist, he was definitely in a bad way. The Parliament of Trees had decided that his rival, the bizarre and twisted Seeder, was more worthy of the power of the Green, and left Alec Holland somewhat in the lurch. This issue very creatively shows Seeder’s origin both from his own and Holland’s perspective, giving the character that Charles Soule dramatically revealed some backstory and immediately showing why ascension is most assuredly not a good thing. Soule tells his backstory with a great economy, immediately showing the reader that this person isn’t a monster, he just wants this power for all the wrong reasons. And he, of course, doesn’t see those reasons, like any good villain, but we also get a great look into both his past and present, which includes a powerful cameo from Buddy Baker.
The art is once again, beautifully realized by Jesus Saiz, giving us more of his hard, defined, but very polished linework, defining not only the characters but the backgrounds without cutting a single corner. Matthew Wilson continues the difficult job of providing color for a book that absolutely thrives on it, and of course everything is bursting at the seams. There’s an incredible vibrancy that permeates the book that comes from both the linework and the colors that it would be difficult to imagine the book without, particularly with its new tone.
Part of the point of this issue is to view the new avatar passively, as Holland is forced to, but there’s something that rings a little hollow with just sitting back and watching. Obviously, reading a comic is somewhat passive to begin with, but it almost feels like we’re watching someone read a comic, which isn’t what you necessarily want out of a Swamp Thing title. Holland’s lack of peril makes it feel more like we’re watching something play toward an inevitable conclusion, and renders some of Seeder’s actions toothless.
I’m still happy learning more about this mysterious antagonist, and what I’ve learnt I absolutely love. I’d have actually been happen if this book had been nearly all flashback as opposed to cutting back and forth as the character’s history, and tragic fall, is gripping in a very unexpected way. It’s always nice to see a villain with an interesting motivation, and this is a great take on a common one, elevating it expertly.