“The Echo of the Abyss”
Whenever a Holiday Special is released I always think, “there’s going to be a Christmas tree in the mix, there’s gotta be a Swamp Thing reference hidden in there somewhere.” Seems like a no brainer; just hide an inverted triangular nose/mouth shape amidst some shiny red ornaments. No such luck on the Swampy fur tree in this DC Holiday Special, but Swamp Thing is well represented as mistletoe…
The Holiday Special houses eleven “festive fables” but I was only focused on one. I held off on writing about the short Swamp Thing holiday story because I didn’t want to spoil the good time for anyone. It’s such a short story, it wouldn’t take much to do so.
“The Echo of the Abyss” depicts Christmas for the crew members of Space Station Archer. They’ve been quarantined for the past six months because a nuclear war looms back on Earth. Supplies are running low along with moral. With it being Christmas and the news —of what seems like eminent doom for life on, and within proximity to Earth—from back home, crewman Ciampo is having a tough time keeping it together.
Ciampo brought mistletoe aboard the Archer to celebrate the holidays. It appears Swamp Thing either stowed away via mistletoe or surfed through cosmic, organic matter to Space Station Archer. Either way, we’ve seen him do it before and he’s ready to spread some Christmas cheer and a little can-do attitude.
Hearing the news from planet Earth, Ciampo stares into the abyss and sees only despair. His holiday spirit is swallowed by impending doom and negative thoughts. Rather than waiting to meet his demise, Ciampo decides to take matters into his hands and expedite the process. But, Swamp Thing is right on his heels…
Swampy’s generation from the mistletoe is kind of gnarly and really cool! The first few panels of Swampy emerging from the mistletoe reminds me of Richard Corben’s work, but quickly turns into more of a new52 rendition.
In Ciampo’s panicked state of mind, he wants to beat death to the chase by plunging into the void, and dragging the crew of Space Station Archer with him. Swamp Thing intervenes, asking Ciampo to appeal to humanity and look for hope, not darkness.
Swampy tries his damnedest but Ciampo is off the rails and he needs to be tied up until he can calm down. Thankfully, Swampy uses the green to ease his mind and leach out the negative thoughts… kind of like instant meditation brought to you by the Green.
“before, I only saw death. Now I only see life.”
Swamp Thing saves the Space Station from Ciampo’s tantrum and fortifies the space stations organic-based supplies. He may have saved the day but I’m not entirely sure how the crew members will fare in the days to come. During battle, he says to Ciampo, “Death… is a phase… but it’s not your time.” Perhaps Swamp Thing will swing down to Earth and provide the same hope for those with their triggers on the nuclear weapons. Perhaps Swamp Thing wanted to give the crew members of Space Station Archer one final glimpse of happiness and hope before it all goes to hell.
One thing is for sure, I really enjoyed this story. What rang out to me most was Swamp Thing urging Ciampo to keep his composure under fire. I’ve always felt, it’s not so much what you face in life but how you face it. A lot can be said for someone by how they handle difficult situations. Staying true to your morals, lifting others up in a time of turmoil, and contributing to the solution, not the problem are traits that usher hope into the future.
I hope everyone, everywhere (even The Bearded Men of Space Station 11) has a wonderful holiday season.