Arcane #1 was creepy. You’d think that a guy with the power of the Rot would be gross, menacing, and perhaps even scary but Anton Arcane is incredibly creepy which is why I loved this book. I’m not sure why I like creepy stuff, but I do and man does this book deliver. There are lots of great examples that show off the truly disturbing feel to the book. I think it all comes down to the fact that the book makes a distinction between rot and death. We see Anton Arcane, throughout the years, experimenting with rot, controlling it, worshiping it, and trying to achieve it in the absence of the finality of death. He is truly evil and at the same time completely engrossing.
The book is also a back story two-for-one deal. Both Anton and the current bearer of the Rot, Abigail Arcane get their stories fleshed out in this issue. Anton’s story is far more interesting than Abigail’s, but they both stories play into each other seamlessly. There are only two complaints I have against this book. One is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the overall Villains Month plot. This is literally just another Swamp Thing issue and its set entirely in Anton’s prison so we don’t even get to see what’s going on in the world currently. Second, this book is just one big excuse to get Anton out of prison. To make it even more frustrating, he escapes via a trope I absolutely hate: protagonist goes to antagonist to get information, protagonist lets his/her guard down, antagonist escapes. In short, the bad guy gets away because the hero does something stupid. It’s everywhere but it never gets any less frustrating.
Final Verdict: Rotten to the Core