Swamp Thing 34 (1985)
“Rite of Spring”
This issue is amongst my favorites, solidifing my love for introspective, character-building Swamp Thing stories that take place in Houma. It paints a wonderful picture of what life could be like for the lumbering plant monster. Could a muck-man find a partner and live a normal life? Moore, Totleben, Bissette (and the rest) deliver a world where such a scenario exists; if only for a moment.
The book begins at Terrebonne Parish General Hospital. We’re caught up on Matt Cable’s condition alongside Abby. Perhaps she was expecting it. His body was broken after the accident, then held together by Arcane’s forces. Moore writes the most beautiful words…
What happened to Cable is tragic but he put Abby through Hell and back. Abby wants a try at a normal life. She returns to the swamp to be with Alec.
The book is crafted and skillfully executed by all involved. Moore makes you fall further in love with the partnership Abby and Alec are building—and forced into by all the evil scenarios they’ve been in—while he continues to develop the two characters.
Back in the swamp, Abby is comfortable enough to express how she feels toward Alec. Their exchange is tender, memorable and a landmark moment within the Abigail Holland/Swamp Thing legacy.
When re-reading Moore’s run, I enjoy noting his choices in character development and the “firsts” he provides the Swamp Thing world. For instance, Moore provides insight into what it tastes like to kiss Swamp Thing.
It’s no small feet that Moore’s pseudo-science is written/portrayed so well. We find a sweet potato-as a conduit for love-to be not only believable but endearing. Swamp Thing and Abigail are able to evolve their relationship with the help of the hallucinogenic sweet potato. It’s a sensational, whimsical, beautiful scenario.
Moore established the powers that ST’s tubers posses back in Swamp Thing 22. A similar tuber brought Jason Woodrue closer in contact with the Green but deeper into madness. In this issue, Swamp Thing carefully grows and chooses the tuber Abby eats. By ingesting the vegetable, she absorbs some of Swamp Thing’s subconscious.
The story and visuals burst into bloom in this book. The series regulars (Bissette, Totleben and the rest) are back and they put on a show. It is their most ambitious book since starting on the title. The page designs and panel layouts present the reader with an interactive, page-turning experience that works in tandem with Abby’s hallucinogenic experience.
Alan Moore provides a beautiful, poetic and indelible script. Like most comics, you’d feel like a fly on the wall while reading, but the creative team makes the reader a part of the experience. Abby’s trip allows her and the reader to explore Swamp Thing’s world, as well as her emotions. They tap into the essence of planet Earth and all life within. Abby helps us navigate through her experience by describing the majestic view playing-out before her. The lines between reality and hallucination become blurred. The physical forms of Swamp Thing and Abby become skewed. The two lovers become one. The whole processes plays out like a metaphor of the two trying to shed their past trauma, growing forward into a loving union and a new world.
The trip comes to an end. The two lovers try to gain a sense of composure. Abby breaks the silence, “does this mean we’re going out?”
This letter from Dick Giordano breaks the news of Alan Moore’s Watchmen, still in the works.
The letters pages are running over and it’s now up to two whole pages! Fans can’t get enough and they’ve got some wonderful things to say.
I tried to take clear enough photos so you can read the fan letters and responses.
Editor, Karen Berger hints at the new features and powers that will be developed within the Swamp Thing world.
Fellow Swamp Thing fan, Rex Gambill makes an appearance in this issue! Rex is a huge Swampy fan and I’ve been in contact with him for a number of years. He wrote this letter when he was a kid. Hi Rex!