Villains Month has had its ups and downs so far. But the reason so few of these books have reached the heights of their respective ongoing series is that they so rarely involve the same writers. So the fact that Swamp Thing #23.1 keeps Charles Soule at the helm is at the heart of why this issue is so successful. It's a great read, and one that complements the ongoing series well while still offering a largely standalone tale.
Don't come into this issue looking for any of that Forever Evil business. Soule is only concerned with his little corner of the DCU and the current status quo of Anton Arcane following his defeat at the end of Rotworld. Trapped in his own personal hell where nothing ever decays or changes, Anton is finally paid a visit by his niece, Abigail, now the avatar of the Rot. What follows is a clever approach to the Villains Month formula as Abby grills her uncle for information about her mother and allows for an exploration of their shared family history.
With so many Villains Month issues focused on making their subjects sympathetic and tragic figures, it's refreshing to read a comic that revels in the despicable nature of its villain. Soule certainly illuminates Anton's past and why he is the way he is now, but he doesn't shy away from his many sadistic and grotesque qualities. And the fact that Abby is a constant presence in the story, fighting off her uncle's influence even as she searches for answers, helps keep the story moving and avoid falling into formulaic origin territory. Soule's script is dark, but it's also full of black humor and a few welcome twists along the way.
Jesus Saiz also makes for a marvelous companion to Soule here. Saiz is able to capture the aesthetic of the main series, rendering both the subtle horrors of the human world and the more overt monstrosities of the Rot. Even the sight of the decrepit Anton languishing in a summer sunlit field is visually arresting. Too many Villains Month comics seem only able to offer a decent story or solid visuals, not both. Swamp Thing #23.1 rises above and beyond the call on both fronts.
Source : ign[dot]com