Interview: Charles Soule Talks Swamp Thing, Villains and Guest Stars

Posted by G-Man (40311 posts) - - Show Bio

SWAMP THING has recently started a new direction. After finally defeating the Rot, Alec Holland has embraced his destiny as being the avatar for the Green. No longer tucked away in his own corner of the New 52 Universe, Swamp Thing is ready to venture out. Soon we'll see the repercussions of that decision.

With two issues under his belt, we asked new SWAMP THING writer, Charles Soule, a few questions.


Comic Vine: In issue #19, we saw Swamp Thing destroy an oasis created by "Seeder" in the middle of the Sudan because it was 'wrong.' Will we see find out more about Seeder or see a confrontation?

Charles Soule: You know it! Seeder is the "big bad" for my first big chunk of issues. He gets teased throughout the first few story arcs, but we won't find out exactly who he is or what he wants for just a little while. Not too long, though - stick around until the fall if you're wondering what's up with Seeder. He's a great villain who has access to many of the same powers as Alec Holland, which makes him an interesting foil. Seeder and Alec differ primarily in perspective, which I always think makes for good confrontations.


CV: Now that Alec has embraced the Green more, will there be a struggle for him to maintain his humanity? The scene with the rats was pretty gross.

CS: It was, wasn't it? Filthy little fur balloons popping in his fist. Grody. To actually answer your question, yes, Alec will struggle. It's not much of a story if everything's easy, after all. Alec Holland surrendered his humanity to the Parliament to serve the plant kingdom in a role he doesn't fully understand. To put it another way, he knows what he's lost, but he's not entirely sure what he's gained, or what he's supposed to do next. Heroes with questions are always more interesting than heroes who are totally sure of themselves all the time.

CV: We saw Swamp Thing's new form of transportation through the Green and the mention that each time he does it the Green wants him to stay. Will this be another struggle he'll face? Will traveling this way become dangerous to his humanity?

CS: If you look at the way Avatars of the Green work, they start out human but eventually become more and more subsumed by the Green, until they enter it themselves, "retiring" and letting a new Avatar take their place. In other words, the Green has beaten down every other Avatar before Alec - it's a tough, dangerous job. Something of a one-way street. Alec will come to realize this, and he'll have some hard decisions to make.


CV: So far we've seen Scarecrow and Superman and Constantine is coming up. Do you have plans for other guest stars?

CS: I do - there's one planned for the Annual that I cannot wait to write. I think it's someone people won't be expecting but they'll be very happy to see. I have some plans for other characters to pop in, but they're far enough off that I don't want to reveal very much just yet. That said, I'm excited about the idea of Swamp Thing fitting more into the DCU, just because it means there are tons of other awesome characters I get to play with. Not to be selfish about it, but I want to use as many of those folks as I can, without compromising what makes Swamp Thing its own book. I mean, it's not supposed to be Swampy and the Superfriends.


CV: The solicits mention Capucine. Will we find out about this character right away or will it be a longer running mystery?

CS: You'll find out quite a bit about her in issue 21, but I want to play a longer game with all of her secrets. The main idea with Capucine is to expand Swamp Thing's supporting cast. She's a super cool character, and I hope the readers embrace her the way I have.

CV: With Constantine coming, could the Justice League Dark be far behind?

CS: I think the JLD has their hands full with the very cool-looking Trinity War for the next little while, but I love those characters. Swamp Thing's shown up over in that book, so while I have no specific plans right this second, I can't see why they wouldn't zip down to the bayou at some point.

CV: How will the public react to Swamp Thing when they become aware of him? Will he be seen as a hero or an eco-terrorist of sorts?

CS: Well, that's all going to depend on context, won't it? Based on what happens in 19 and 20, I have a feeling poor Swampy isn't going to be all that welcome in densely populated urban areas any time soon. In any case, we have some amazing stories on the way, with art that will blow your mind. I hope you'll all continue to check out the issues - and tell your friends!

SWAMP THING #20 is on sale now. Issue 21 is on sale June 5.

#1 Posted by soumya (158 posts) - - Show Bio

I liked Soule's attempt on Swamp Thing.He certainly showed a different direction.I want more characters on this book,so the introduction of Capucine is really enthralling.

#2 Posted by Cap10nate (3448 posts) - - Show Bio

I have been a big fan of the first two issues so far. i like the new direction that Soule is taking and the art is still great. The only thing I am missing from the previous creative team is the panel layout. One of the reasons I am buying this book in print and not digital was because the panel layouts were amazing. The borders to panels were natural vines or something from the rot, and it was a beautiful addition to the book. I am definitely looking forward to what they have in store for us coming up.

#3 Posted by soumya (158 posts) - - Show Bio

@cap10nate: Agreed.This layouts were astounding.These made the impression of what a Vertigo comic book would look like..

#4 Edited by Mezmero (999 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm fascinated to see Swamp Thing integrated into the DC universe. The concept of a super hero that's an earth elemental grown from the body of an honorable and intelligent man really strikes a chord with me. I really loved Snyder's story of a tragic lone hero but I'm ready to see Swamp Thing be treated as an elite member of the DC hero roster. At the same time I'm hoping that developing his role as a hero feels natural and not just shoe-horned into ongoing story arcs or tie-ins. I still need to read up on Justice League Dark to see how that's going for him.

Superman was kind of the best choice of who he should seek advice from. Alec's a lost reincarnation of the old character and he doesn't quite know where he fits. Haven't been reading any comics with Supes in it other than Injustice but he seems to have his act together. A creature as powerful as an avatar of the green should be seen as a force to be reckoned with as he represents the power and will of Earth itself. Superman may be one of the strongest heroes Post Flashpoint but he is still an alien where as Alec is the one hero closest with Earth almost the same as Earth 2 Alan Scott so he should feel more influential overall. I thought Scarecrow was kind of a weird villain to use but it worked in showing just how powerful Holland has become.

The beginning of Swamp Thing's new run is pretty good but not quite great. I'm willing to see it through as far as it can go because I think the character is pretty cool. Thanks for this interview!

#5 Posted by longbowhunter (8933 posts) - - Show Bio

The first couple of issues have been good. Given Fialkov's horror background I would loved to have seen him graduate to this series. But Soule hasn't let me down yet and I look forward to everything he has coming up. Cant wait to see who is in the annual. These covers are pretty gorgeous too.

#6 Posted by arnoldoaad (1038 posts) - - Show Bio

His first arc was pretty good

#7 Edited by theSaltLamp (2 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm very let down.

The witty swamp thing inner-dialogue was the first red flag (*lie). Out-of-character traditionally, but I was willing to sit with it because every artist should be awarded their take on a character as long as it brings us somewhere new; it hasn't yet. Just to the green taking over a city (anyone recall gotham in Alan M's run?).

*lie: The true first red flag: the author wants to play with the other DC characters. There's such a rich well of characters in the DCU and I don't want to see him drown this book by bringing buckets after buckets of them into a title where the protagonist is already rich dynamic material just waiting to be let loose. SwampThing is a philosophical, existential and "what it means to be human" gold mine, apart from superman, batman foes, and all the other wonderful action figures this guy wants to play with on these pages.

Our author says that this is not a Swamp Thing & friends book, but "sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken". I'm not sold on the fact that he will be giving my green buddy what he deserves: a book about him.

Write me a Swamp Thing book. Play with your DC action figures else where. Or DC: give me a new author.

#8 Edited by Nefilim927 (449 posts) - - Show Bio

Really diggin Soule's first 2 issues, hope to see more integration with the DCU.

#9 Posted by BKole (564 posts) - - Show Bio

I suspected this might happen with a new writer on the book.

I was worried because for me, Soule is untested (Not read his previous work, yet) but also because the book launched with Synder and people came for Synder. Now that he's gone, I wonder if Swamp Thing is going to hemorrhage readers - which is a shame because this feels to me like Soule is finding his feet with Swamp Thing.

I have no problem with him introducing Swamp Thing more to the DCU. People want a 'Swamp Thing' Book, well, they'll get it. What's the point in re-introducing him to the DC Landscape if he isn't going to be a part of it?

Frankly, I'd rather have a Swamp Thing book where he travels the world righting the wrongs of the Green or whatever, and interacting with people, than no book at all. I feel the same way about Animal Man, who is my absolute favourite. (That said, I didn't really enjoy his appearances in Countdown or Rann-Thanagar Holy War)

Yeah, I'd like it to be weird and i'd like it to be more mature than the other hero books, but I think it's a mistake to write someone off because of their particular take on a character (RE: Steve Seagle's Superman, and the Elite. People disliked his approach to Superman, yet, the Elite issue is regarded as a fantastic example of a great Superman story, but also a deconstruction of the trends of comics themselves.) isn't quite what you're after. But, you know, I don't want to be negative. Everyone enjoys different things.

#10 Posted by StayclassyMarvel (82 posts) - - Show Bio

Call me crazy, but I think I might like Soule's run even more than the original! However, nothing could replace that psychedelic art...

#11 Posted by NightFang (11250 posts) - - Show Bio

So much to look foreword too!

#12 Posted by Necrotic_Lycanthrope (2501 posts) - - Show Bio

Freaking love the cover art. The one with Scarecrow in particular was up there next to Batwoman in terms of coolness factor (at least in my opinion.)

#13 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6958 posts) - - Show Bio

That cover for #20 was great with Supes in the background. Soule is no Snyder, but he's at least making ST his own as issues go by, that's for certain.

#14 Posted by DonFelipe (1883 posts) - - Show Bio

Swamp Thing's got Soule!

So far this has been much better than expected and I can't wait for more.

#15 Posted by aquaman01 (1948 posts) - - Show Bio

heh, I wonder what everyone thinks of Soule's run now? Admittedly, I stopped buying the book because I didn't know who Soule, it is better than Snyder's run!!!

#16 Edited by mcecuapr (16 posts) - - Show Bio

agreed. he is taking the title into a new direction and it's awesome. he adding a whole cast of new characters that all fit really well in the stories he is forming. Soule in my opinion has taken Swamp Thing and remade the character (in a good way of course) similar to the way Alan Moore revamped the title. I'm not saying its the same style or feel but he's breathing a new life just like AM did.

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