The Saga of the Swamp Thing 23 (1984)
Another Green World
Swamp Thing’s still in a deep sleep, his consciousness traveling the currents of the green, exploring and questioning the depths of his being. Moore establishes Swamp Thing in the world of the green, redefining it as well as the red; plants vs animals.
This issue ushered in the era of Bissette and Tottleben’s gorgeous splash pages. Their dramatic title pages and splash pages have been repurposed/used on trades, shirts, posters, ads, etc. The amazing artwork certainly helped to draw me in as a fan when I first discovered Swampy.
“somewhere quiet… somewhere green and timeless…”
Meanwhile: Woodrue, insane with power is misappropriating his recently obtained power and knowledge of the green for evil; very dark, dark stuff…
The soap opera like scenario playing out for the key cast is perfectly woven together. Abbigail is handicapped physically and emotionally by Matt Cable. She reels from the loss of her friend, Alec and is at risk from the treacherous/diabolical ways of the Floronic Man. It’s a long road filled with torment for Abby and it doesn’t get better for a long time. When Moore takes over the title, he establishes Abbigail Arcane as an extremely resilient character. She has not been portrayed as such in the past. Moore puts her through hell of course, but he also reveals a powerful woman that fights for those she loves; for their lives. She keeps seeing the worst, she keeps pushing forward.
I love how Moore writes the grim scene unraveling in Lacroix, LA. The narrator recalls the events, addressing the timeline as a documentarian would. It has always come off as detached and emotionless making the read of this sorry so enjoyable and creepy.
Woodrue begins his reign of terror by controlling the vegetation, destroying the small town’s meager infrastructure.
Woodrue has demands. The event is to be recorded…
Woodrue demands the townspeople of Lacroix to return to their homes. Baracaded in by Woodrue, the wildly growing plants and household vegetation begin to overproduce pure oxygen. William Ansligner is forced to document Woodrue’s reign of destruction and death. His family, his town, burns; reduced to hell on earth.
It takes Woodrue 43 minutes to turn the small, quite town inside out.
Young William Anslinger is forced to take the footage to the neighboring town of Chenille.
Anslinger will never again live a normal life, nor will Sgt Luther Galen.
The footage of the carnage is devastating, other worldly.
Sgt Luther Galen calls Washington. Washington calls the Justice League
Moore diverges from the action to depict Sgt Luther Galen’s reaction to Ansliger’s gruesome footage. Actions speaking louder than words, the spooky, one-page scene is beautifully told by Moore.
Terrified, the Galen’s try to destroy all plant material around their home, unaware that it is virtually impossible to do so. Woodrue’s power knows no bounds.
Meanwhile, Swamp Thing -sensing the great unbalance in the green, Abby’s distress and a lil’ self-realization- is reanimated.
Another amazing splash page
Swamp Thing has learned what he truly is (-see SOTST 21) and he is not Alec Holland.
Swamp thing heads for Houma.
Woodrue’s wrath awaits…
Another beautiful splash page! Swamp Thing arrives on the scene to confront and stop Woodrue.
The letters page couldn’t be more favorable! Fans are loving the new direction Swampy has taken.