Swamp Thing 17 (1983)
…And Things that Go Bump in the Night
Issue #17 continues, back at the motel, as if Swamp Thing never went to the small town where monsters where disguised by face masks. Swampy’s crew waits for him to return so they can continue their plans in DC.
Coincidently, Abby leaves the cafe as Swamp Thing returns from the woods.
Finally, together again! I love this panel and how their excitement is captured through their silhouettes. A strong silhouette speaks volumes.
I love Swampy’s reaction to Abby being married to Matt Cable. He really shouldn’t be too surprised. After a brief moment of catch-up, Swamp Thing agrees to visit the Cable residence.
Similar to his trip to Germany, Swamp Thing gets boxed up and hauled off.
Upon arriving, the crew is attacked by a monster; a “thing from someone’s nightmare”.
It isn’t explained quite well but Kay travels separately and finds himself in quite the pickle. This pickle is more of a bear trap. He is being pursued by a large flying machine that ends up being a familiar face…
Back at the Cable residence, Matt is in terrible shape. The governent has put him through the ringer and he has put himself through hell as well. Living a nightmare of alcohol abuse fused with physical and psychological trauma. It’s not a pretty sight and it is the beginning of a quick decent into a personal hell.
Cable is surprised to see Swamp Thing again, thinking he had been dead all this time. Swamp Thing is ready to dish out some tough love. Matt hasn’t been treating himself or Abby well. They are living in squaller. Everyday, Abby comes home to an inebriated Matt Cable. The once strong, determined and prideful government agent is nothing more than a hollow, tormented shell of a human.
Swampy’s hand gestures make me chuckle. It looks as if he’s explaining a joke.
Needless to say, Cable’s life has suffered ever since he met Alec and Linda Holland. If he hadn’t been assigned to Houma, his life would be drastically different.
Like many Swamp Thing books, there is a great deal of exposition. Yet again, we are given Swampy’s origin story and the series of events leading up to this moment; an explanation that is tired and overworked. For Swampy fans that have read these books numerous times, it’s just not needed…. anyhoo
I love this profile of Swamp Thing. I could do without the root/umbilical chord imagery.
The flashbacks/catchup continues. The series of panels making up the severed arm is pretty darn cool.
In the flashback below, Dwight Wicker of the DDI (a defense branch of the US government) who’s Cable’s superior hatches a plan with Sunderland to destroy Holland and all involved with his biorestorative experiments in Houma. The involved parties include Matt Cable and pretty much everyone he and Alec care about. Sunderland, with the help of the US government try and sweep the mess under the rug. All of this information is eventually brought to Swamp Thing’s attention, proving that, indeed, Sunderland has been aided by the government; Swamp Thing vs the United States of America.
The flashback panel below is beautiful. The depiction of Abby is nearly photorealistic. The panel is yet another example of the artistry and craftsmanship that Bissette and Totleben bring to the series.
Racked with guilt, confusion and the heavy dose of reality he is faced with, Cable hits the booze even harder, locking himself in th bathroom. He passes out after an obnoxious outburst.
The trauma he has suffered has produced vivid and horrible nightmares that manifest into physical monsters, as we saw earlier in the book. This time a large purple dragon-like creature appears and attacks the Cable residence.
Meanwhile, Kay comes face to face with evil encarnant, Arcane! Arcane flys in style… bio-mechanical dragonfly style. Kay is captured and tortured
Before all hell breaks loose at the Cable residence, once again, Liz and Barclay travel back to the motel to pick up medical supplies to tend to Matt Cable. A few pages into the book, Swamp Thing threw the truck into a tree. Somehow the same truck is operational. They sure don’t make ’em like they used to.
Barclay tells Liz that he knows Cable and how he was the Dr that performed electro shock therapy on him. Everyone has their dark secrets.
Swamp Thing is able to vanquish the large purple dragon-like monster that Cable inadvertently conjoreded. When he comes to, he reveals to Swamp Thing that Linda’s body was dug up and exhumed.
Hearing the truth and how the pieces start to come together, Swamp Thing realizes what they are up against… and he is really ticked off.
Matt is hit with a wave of headaches and panic (attributed to delirium tremors) which creates more hallucinations and monsters. Abby and Swamp Thing come to realize that Matt is the one creating the strange beings that keep popping up, causing them harm.
Cable, Swamp Thing and Abby become overwhelmed by flying eyeballs and brains while Kay is at the mercy of Arcane’s Un-Men. We get a glimpse of the man himself in the final panel. He is such a great villain, so gnarly looking.