The Seeder’s begun his run as Avatar of the Green and, as we saw last issue, he’s not going about it in the most friendly of ways, and certainly not the most diplomatic. Alec Holland, trapped in the paradise of the Green that all former avatars dwell in, seeks help from his bizarre new ally in not only returning to Earth, but in stopping Seeder’s reign of terror. When an opportunity from Lady Weeds to do just that presents itself, he’ll make a deal with the proverbial devil to see it through, particularly with all the knowledge he’s gained about the nature of the avatars and the Parliament of Trees. Charles Soule keeps things moving at a good clip, giving each character their own unique voice that sets each apart from the others as former avatars and makes reading their interactions all the more interesting. It’s also an intriguing take on a massively expanded cast for Swamp Thing, something he was sorely lacking across the years.
Jesus Saiz remains amazingly detail-oriented, and that especially comes into play this issue since almost every character is made from various forms of plantlife. Saiz doesn’t cut a single corner, rendering individual leaves and bark on the various beings that populate every panel. Everything looks completely organic, like it could have been made from actual plants if a real-world sculptor, or perhaps a truly skilled botanist, put in the time, nothing looks artificial and, both literally and figuratively, that is an amazing thing for a book with these themes. Likewise, the colors by Matthew Wilson do great justice to the already stellar linework. When you’re working with THIS much green, it absolutely pays to be able to differentiate one kind from the next so the backgrounds and characters don’t all bleed together and that’s exactly what Wilson does all through the issue.
This issue finally injected some oomph and panache into this title, but it may have been at the expense of any kind of plot clarity. From the moment the Alec returns to Earth essentially to the very end of the issue, I had a very tough time keeping up with what, exactly, was going on and, more importantly, WHY. The ending is especially unclear both in what is accomplished and how Alec knew to accomplish it, making the whole thing seem a little out of left field. The battle between Seeder and Holland is also abbreviated considering how long it feels it’s been building. I get that we just had a massive fight two issues ago, but this one would have, by necessity, have gone very differently and would have been nice to see stretched into a longer portion of the book.
This book’s finally gotten the injection of life and vigor it was so sorely missing. And while not everything is perfect in the land of the Green, it’s a great time to pick up one of the most bizarrely compelling books on the shelf. I’ve previously complained that the book was beginning to feel too grounded in reality, but this issue, has blown that away and returned it to the grandiose vision of surreal strangeness that it feels like it was always meant to be.