Ceej Says… Comic of the Week (18th September 2013)

There was a lot of great stuff hitting the shelves this week, with Villain’s Month rapidly turning into a bit of a success story as the cracking comics keep flooding in on a weekly basis.  I was also treated to a double dose of Infinity awesomeness, and a terrific story from my favourite title of the moment (Waid/Samnee’s Daredevil) that lost the coin toss to snag ‘comic of the week’ honours.

So, without further ado, let’s see the book that was the ‘Heads’ to Daredevil’s ‘Tails’, this week’s Comic of the Week…

Swamp Thing 23.1 – Arcane (DC Comics)


Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Jesus Saiz

While bashing DC seems to be turning into the ‘in’ thing to do these days (although to be fair, some of their recent decisions have been a little on the baffling side, to say the least) one fact a lot of the ‘haters’ seen to be forgetting is that they’re actually still churning out some pretty damn good comics on a weekly basis.

Case in point; Swamp Thing, which managed to handle the creative team transition from Scott Snyder/Yannick Paquette to Charles Soule/Jesus Saiz pretty much flawlessly. The latter team has given an exciting new feel to the title, and have shown a great flair for seamlessly incorporating ‘guest stars’ such as Superman, Constantine and Scarecrow without having them feeling tacked-on or awkward.

Thankfully, the series’ Villain’s Month offering benefits greatly from keeping the established creative team in place, and they combine to provide an absolutely stunning insight into both Anton and Abigail Arcane in one masterfully crafted issue.   The issue serves as a complete departure from the ‘Forever Evil’ timeline, focusing instead on Anton dealing with the beautifully-devised purgatory he found himself trapped in at the conclusion of the Rotworld saga, and having current Avatar of the Rot, Abigail Arcane, trying to obtain information from him about her mother.

We’re treated a beautifully crafted origin story for Anton, and while a lot of previous Villains Month titles have – unsuccessfully, in most cases – tried to create some sort of empathy or sympathy with the ‘bad guys’ they feature, this is a book that seems to revel in the horrific nature of its main character.

Jesus Saiz captures the menace of Anton Arcane perfectly, and the panels where we see him go from a withered, weakened exile to the ravenous, animalistic force we’ve come to know at the faintest hint of the ‘rot’ are undeniably shocking.  The threat and the tension as Abigail tiptoes the line to try and tempt more information of our her uncle are genuinely uncomfortable, as we are made fully aware of just how dangerous Anton could be if were she to lose her focus for just a second.  And the final page is a piece of sheer horror genius, a skin-crawling epilogue that offers all kinds of questions for the future of this book.

Overall, this is a book that serves as a stand-alone look at an existing villain, but which still ties into the ongoing title.  One of the best horror stories you’re going to find on the shelves right now, and one that anyone with a love for the genre should be picking up.  DC may be making a lot of mistakes right now, but they’re also doing a hell of a lot right, and people need only take a look at this comic for proof of that.  Well worth a look.

Rating: 9/10.

And that’s all for this week. Let me know what you guys liked most this week, and I’ll see you all again here next week. Same Ceej time, same Ceej channel!

The writer of this piece was: 576682_510764502303144_947146289_nCraig Neilson (aka Ceej)

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