Alec, Brujería, Kali Ma and Me

Hellblazer 22 (2018)

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I was pleasantly surprised to see a Swamp Thing appearance in Hellblazer earlier this month. Although it was a flashback panel, Swamp Thing is seen in all his glory fighting against the Brujería. It’s quite an Indiana Jones moment for all involved.
See ST 48 cover for similar imagery.

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This flashback comes by way of Negral the demon, who is-yet again-seeking revenge on John Constantine. He explains John’s past influence on demon related encounters.

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John works in the dirtiest and most divisive scenarios he can find and a clean, cartoonish Hellblazer book doesn’t quite feel at home, or right by  the characters involved. It’s like the aesthetic downplays the dire situation of John and the cast of hellish characters. It’s only one of the various reasons why I’ve stopped reading the current Hellblazer series. It’s had its lumps and plot twists, but not for the better. I hope the title will once again hold the weight it used to. I’ve been pondering the current Hellblazer series in relation to Swamp Thing not having an on-going series. I’m entertained in thinking that Swamp Thing is more relevant and gaining more momentum in not having his own series. When we see Swamp Thing pop-up in books he’s the saving grace to such characters as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman (ref. New 52current day). Swamp Thing is acting as a guiding force and go-to for catastrophic as well as internal/personal struggles. You can’t beat that. And I understand that Hellblazer/Constantine was never intended to be that kind of a book/character but he would perhaps have a more poignant existence if not in an on-going series.

The plot threads that seemed exciting within this series have fallen away, unresolved and the plot that remains leaves Constantine sidestepping antagonists (like demonic mob-families), one after another. It’s as if Constantine is in a fight simulator, and rather than the character being developed, he’s just rolling with the punches. I really hope for more for the character. He’s extremely fun, versatile and a strength to the DCU.

Ricansruction: Rebuilding Puerto Rico

Ricansruction: Reminiscing & Rebuilding Puerto Rico (2018)

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Not having an on-going series isn’t slowing Swamp Thing down. This week, Greg Capullo announced he has been working on Justice League Dark variant covers and he hopes to start working on a Swamp Thing book as soon as he and Scott Snyder wrap up their work on Batman. A slew of appearances are headed our way in the coming months as well! Swamp Thing will make an appearance in Justice League, Justice League Dark, Scooby-Doo Team-up, and many others! Be sure to reference the Swamp Thing Pull List for all the latest releases.
Now, on to Ricanstruction!

This beautiful comic anthology is filled with heart warming stories of team-work and perseverance, from Puerto Rico’s past and toward its future in recovery. Comic book author Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez spearheaded the anthology to help the ongoing recovery and humanitarian efforts. All proceeds benefit Puerto Rico’s rebuilding process.

Throughout the book, La Borinqueña (the featured character from Miranda-Rodriguez) teams-up with a ton of DC Superheroes to save the island of Puerto Rico after being devastated by hurricane Maria. Miranda-Rodriquez has said, “La Borinqueña was created to raise awareness of the effects of climate change and how it would affect Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.”
This thick anthology is filled with beautiful artwork and stories and includes stars such as comic author Gabby Rivera, actress Rosario Dawson, novelist Esmerelda Santiago, and MANY more. You won’t want to miss getting a copy of this!
And another little perk… Swamp Thing appears in two stories! Let’s dig in.

“Metamorphosis”
The Puerto Rican rainforest has been through a lot since hurricane Maria devastated the island’s landscape. The last thing the forest needs now is Solomon Grundy trouncing around.
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That’s where Metamorpho and La Borinqueña step in! La Borinqueña reminds Metamorpho that in battling Grundy, the fragile eco-system needs to be protected. The frogs-indigenous to only the Puerto Rican rainforest-are the source of vital medicine. Grundy must be contained while keeping the surrounding environment protected. This calls for a little ingenuity.
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Metamorpho calls on a friend to help detain Grundy… and it’s Swamp Thing!
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Continue reading “Ricansruction: Rebuilding Puerto Rico”

Swamp Thing 33 – Lineage Launched

Swamp Thing 33
“Abandoned Houses”

It’s not quite fitting to call this Sophisticated Suspense of an issue, filler. Although a great deal of the book is a flashback—reprinting Wrightson and Wein’s classic 8-page story from HOS 92—, Alan Moore does something really special. He cracks open the Swamp Thing folklore/lineage.

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With Bissette and Totleben taking a breather since the Annual 2, Ron Randall takes over the reigns in the visuals department for this issue. Totleben takes care of the cover. Not only is it an homage to Wrightson’s House of Secrets 92 cover, it further illustrates the concepts Moore unveils in this issue; Swamp Thing and Abby are involved in a greater purpose throughout time.

In this issue, Moore uses the downtime in the story-arc to develop Swamp Thing’s rich history, pulling the curtain back on the powerful folklore behind the character. He establishes the historical relevance of Dr Alec Holland, and his role as “Earth’s Elemental Champion”.
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The story…
The last we saw Abigail Cable she was being retrieved from hell by the one thing in her life that loves her, Swamp Thing. It’s been an extremely trying time for Abby.
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Although Swamp Thing is able to provide her with protection, he can not provide her a warm, safe place to rest her head. Abby Cable has returned back from hell and now resides at s small apartment in Houma, Louisiana. Her husband Matt is in a coma at the local hospital. She’s still working at Elysian Fields, trying to navigate normalcy and maintain her sanity.

She enters The Dreaming.
She is greeted by Cain and Abel, the caretakers of the Houses of Mystery and Secrets. They present her with a choice…
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Cain explains, “your subconscious has directed you here to learn something important”. She can see what’s in store within the House of Mystery or the House of Secrets.
Continue reading “Swamp Thing 33 – Lineage Launched”

Swamp Thing 32

Swamp Thing 32 (1986)
“Pog”

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After the intensity of the Swamp Thing Annual #2, Moore and the story-arc tapped the breaks for a couple issues (ST 32 & 33). It’s been said that Bissette and Totleben had been falling behind on the series schedule; due to the extensive craft & detail they’d put into each book, and perhaps other professional commitments. But, it’s also not abnormal for a few filler issues between story arcs.
Editor, Karen Berger confirms this within the letters page.
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This issue was illustrated by Shawn McManus while Bissette and Totleben took care of the cover.
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Location: Louisiana swamp, 1 3/4 miles from Baton Rogue…
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Moore creates a seemingly cute, whimsical scenario focused on a group of small space travelers who’ve been on a tireless journey to find a new “Lady” (home planet/Mother Earth). The scenario-and their new familiar looking Lady (Earth)-is not what it seems and what once felt like salvation becomes a nightmare.
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The terrain seems to be suitable. The little alien crew members are restless and eager to explore what looks like an ideal environment.

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It’s interesting and fun to read this issue after the barrage of chaos that occurred in the preceding Swamp Thing Annual, and issues following up to. It’d be justifiable if confused as if you’d missed an issue after Abby returned home. Swamp Thing was able to escape Hell but he’s being detained by… cute little alien creatures.
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Initially, Moore’s use of Walt Kelley’s Pogo-like characters seems as random as it gets. But, Moore crafts an amazing, tender homage through the little, nature-loving creatures.

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Swamp Thing and the alien, Pog are kindred spirits. Words do not need to define yearning for a sense of home or belonging; something Swamp Thing will forever struggle with. Throughout the story, Moore brilliantly reverses the translation talk bubbles. We now know what the aliens are saying and Moore has given us such a world that we understand what Swamp Thing is conveying.

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Much of the story is a byproduct of the terrible realization that Earth is no home at all for the Pog and his crew. Earth is brutal like the Lady they left behind. The crudity of the humans is much like the primates they fled from. Through this seemingly brutal landscape, Moore depicts inescapable cruelty as well as environmental issues; man’s impact on the environment.
Continue reading “Swamp Thing 32”

Swamp Thing Annual 2

Swamp Thing Annual 2 (1987)
Down Amongst The Dead Men

The only thing in Swamp Thing’s life that is normal, steadfast or makes any sense is Abigail Cable. She’s evolved into the glue that helps hold together the humanity and the muck. In this Annual, Swamp Thing goes to hell and back to save her.
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It was clear that Moore’s scope to develop the complexities of Swamp Thing was seemingly limitless. When I first read this book I remember being blown away by Swamp Thing’s ability to harness his powers and quickly understand his capabilities. It’s the complex, quickly moving continuity that I now judge other books by. Moore doesn’t linger on exposition. It’s full speed ahead…
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When figuring out how to make his way down to hell, Swamp Thing doesn’t seem completely out of his element. The concept is wild but from the get go (issue 20), Moore established that things aren’t what they seem. Swamp Thing is no longer the physical make-up of Alec Holland and the Swamp Thing universe became much more complex. Moore made it very easy to buy into the new direction and suspend disbelief. When he involved Jason Blood/Demon, Phantom Stranger and Deadman, the characters held a sense of greater wisdom. They provided direction and aid for Swamp Thing but also held their cards close to their chest, acting as cryptic guidance. Paired with a character (Swamp Thing) that is quickly developing his seemingly endless abilities, the mythology feels established and Moore has only scratched the surface. A misunderstood good guy with the powers of a god, involved in something even greater than he, is pretty darn intriguing.
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Continue reading “Swamp Thing Annual 2”

Young Monsters in Love – review and analysis

Young Monsters in Love (2018)
-The following contains spoilers-

Along with the Winter Special, Swamp Thing fans were treated to another excellent story last week. Young Monsters in Love features, “Heart Shaped Box” a beautifully crafted story by Mark Russell and Frazier Irving. Those who expected the story to follow the narrative depicted on the cover by Kelley Jones were probably surprised by what they found within the book. I was.
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I’ve not seen such a crafted and stylized Swamp Thing book since Jon Muth’s “Roots”. Frazer Irving portrays Houma in a beautiful, twisted, Rockwellian, Dave McKean-like style. It’s delightful, inviting as it is mysterious, heart warming and slightly off-kilter.
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Swamp Thing is in love. He’s fallen for a botanist and has worked up the nerve to give her a valentine. Houma native and friend, Guillaume helps Swampy get a card from the general store.

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Unfortunately Swamp Thing isn’t impressed by the store’s silly selection.

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Russell and Irving take an eight page story and make it feel like so much more. The world they’ve developed is intriguing and I wanted to see so much more of it; even before finishing the story.  That’s what is magical about this short story. It’s like a good movie, you never want it to end.
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Continue reading “Young Monsters in Love – review and analysis”

A look into the Swamp Thing Winter Special – review and analysis

Swamp Thing Winter Special (2018)
-The following contains spoilers-

The Winter Special came out on Wednesday and I was extremely excited to read Len’s last story with Kelley Jones, as well as Tom King and Jason Fabok’s one-shot, “The Talk of the Saints”. The book is a wonderful tribute to Len and Bernie, capturing the magic and effort they put into the character.
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Wein & Jones open up a fun filled can of worms, bringing Solomon Grundy, Matt Cable, Jim Gordon and Batman along for the ride in this first issue of what could have been a beautiful run. My imagination runs wild with what Len would have cooked up for our favorite muck man. I hope this unfinished storyline acts as a catalyst for a new on-going Swamp Thing series. Len certainly provides the spark.
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Before Len and Kelley tell their tale, Editor Rebecca Taylor introduces the story with a beautiful editor’s note.
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Len and Kelley’s story picks up where issue 6 (series 6) left off. Swamp Thing is in Houma and seems to be adjusting quite well, post-Arcane attack. Matt Cable has finally recovered from the trauma he sustained while being possessed by Anton Arcane.
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Swamp Thing pays Cable a visit as he’s preparing to check out of the hospital. Kelley Jones depicts a whimsical and grotesque Swampy, as he makes his way into Cable’s room. I’ve always loved Jones’ Swamp Thing designs. He provides the most imaginative and entertaining visuals, while staying within the realm of Horror that Bernie Wrightson established for the character.
Continue reading “A look into the Swamp Thing Winter Special – review and analysis”

DC Holiday Special 2017

Swamp Thing
“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…
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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.
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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.
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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…
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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.
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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.
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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.
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“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.
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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.
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The Hellblazer 15 features Barley Thing

The Hellblazer 15 (2017)
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The latest Swamp Thing appearance comes in the form of a drunken, alternate reality situation.

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The series still hasn’t done much since it began. It’s another Constantine muck-about, feeling like a place holder. This unfortunately sounds more negative than I intend. I greatly appreciate the efforts put into my favorite characters and books, but It feels like each issue has been an uninteresting glimpse into a much more interesting story.

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Constantine hops into a cadaver to visit a demon bar, where he drinks mead. The mead allows John to manipulate his reality (booze? really…huh) but not without the demons working on an angle too.
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In one of Constantine’s mead trips, he encounters the JLA. They’re hoping to retrieve John’s spirit. Swampy looks like the Incredible Hulk.
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In this reality, Swamp Thing might be in the JLA. He’s helped out plenty already, he deserves a spot.

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This issue seems over complicated and repeats scenarios that we’ve seen Constantine in so many times before; even in recent books like, Section 8 and the New 52 Constantine series. Seeing John slugging down whiskey, scratching his butt while getting out of bed is like having to watch Bruce Wayne’s origin story. Constantine told through a different lense would been refreshing.

During the melee with the JLA, Constantine finds refuge in a bar. Swamp Thing finds his way in as, Barley Man!
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With a few more swigs of magical mead, the fight is over and John’s naked in bed.
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Swamp Thing’s Metal 2

Dark Nights: Metal 2 (2017)

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Like most of Swampy’s recent appearances, this one is fleeting and seemingly random, but very cool! JR Jr even drew a variant cover featuring Swamp Thing (above).

The Parliament of Trees was referenced in the prelude to Dark Nights: Metal and we didn’t have to wait long to see Swamp Thing within this, issue 2!

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For those unfamiliar with the Metal series, Batman is in search of a powerful, ancient, other-worldly metal substance and he’s found himself in a, ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ scenario. The planet is at risk and all hands are on deck. Some DCU Heroes aim to stop Batman from finding the metal that could destroy mankind and who knows what else. Those allied with Batman are doing all they can to assist him in finding the metal, to destroy what lies behind it. It’s a little convoluted but I’m on board and am enjoying the series so far.
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Batman is being tracked by the JLA within the Amazon Rainforest.
Sound familiar? That’s right, it’s home to the Parliament of Trees! It appears, Batman and his crew of helpers have lured the JLA into the Amazon and they’re in for a surprise!

prepare for “the terrible Green beat-down”!
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Continue reading “Swamp Thing’s Metal 2”

Swamp Thing: The Gortons Fisherman

Harley Quinn 25th Anniversary Special 1 (2017)
Harley Quinn & Friends in… Somewhere That’s Green
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Within Harley’s Anniversary issue lies a short story featuring Swamp Thing. This story is bonkers in the best way! I stopped a few times to laugh and ask, “what the hell is going on?”. I waited a week to write about it, hoping folks have had a chance to check it out. If you haven’t yet, please notice spoilers await.

I’ve not heard much chat about this appearances from fellow muck maniacs. It’s an extremely fun and flippant Swampy appearance that seems fitting, in light of his recent, random appearances (comics as well as film). I’m thinking it may fall in the ol’ parody category.

New York is in a panic, bracing for impact as hurricane Jenny approaches. Harley and Ivy are cool as cucumbers, while the locals are shedding their humanity.
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Harley and Ivy navigate through the pre-storm chaos to the produce section.
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Speaking of cool cucumbers, Swampy doesn’t spring from produce stands enough. More of that would be great.
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Swampy’s come for Dr Isley, looking to take her within the Green to assist in stopping hurricane Jenny. I bet he’s thinking, “with our powers… combined… we can… pull a Captain Planet… maneuver!”
Continue reading “Swamp Thing: The Gortons Fisherman”

DC Bombshells 33

I’m having a tough time keeping the ST pull list updated with all of the recent Swamp Thing appearances. Not a bad problem to have for us muck maniacs. This week, DC’s Bombshells, “The Seige of Leningrad” came to a conclusion. Numerous plot points were woven together and written quite beautifully. From the strife and termoil within the storyline grew an uplifting message. Since I’ve only been reading the issues that feature Swamp Thing and Poison Ivy, I’m looking forward to circling back and fill in the gaps of what I’ve been missing out on.
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I’m happy to announce, that after 3 issues of single panel appearances, Swamp Thing has been upgraded to multi-panel status! When I started reading the book last night, I did think that this first page could surely be the only panel he’d appear in; still wrestling with those damn tanks.
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“Swamp Thing, the most reliable Nazi ass-kicking character in the DCUs! Tanks? No problem. Villains? Gulp…” Yes! Swamp Thing gets to eat someone in this issue!
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If you have not read this book and plan to do so, there be spoilers ahead, matey.

Continue reading “DC Bombshells 33”

Batman and Harley Quinn

This movie is Swamp Thing Easter egg heaven! I was so excited by all the references that I’ve rewatched the move twice already. To top it off, my other two favorite characters, Poison Ivy and Floronic Man are the featured villains! My blinders were on for this one. It would take a whole lot for me to dislike the movie.
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Critics and fans will no doubt be miffed by aspects of this film. Zany and unorthodox are descriptors that popped in my head as I watched. It’s surprisingly sexual, violent, funny, and the language -I’d consider to be- for adults. The movie is filled with goofy, whimsical non-sequiturs that feel surreal at times, like something out of Twin Peaks. For these reasons, and so much more, is why I enjoyed this movie so much. Bruce Timm and the creative team present a fun adventure surround by beautiful animation and fun characters. It isn’t quite the world we know from the Batman animated series, but it’s familiar enough that it feels like home.

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The intro sequence is really fun. It was animated by Nate Theis, a college classmate of mine.

The skinny: Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue have teamed up to save the earth. Their dangerous and unorthodox plan involves synthesizing Alec Holland’s bio-restorative formula and unleashing it upon earth. But first, they’ll need to find the formula. As Jason Woodrue and Pamela Isley leave a wake of destruction, Batman and Nightwing join the case. The two crime fighters need help tracking down Ivy, and no one knows Ivy better than Harley Quinn!

The movie opens at S.T.A.R. Labs. Woodrue wastes no time in killing the security guards while Ivy scours the Lab’s database for information on Holland’s groundbreaking work in the field of Biology.

Within minutes of the film starting, Alec Holland is revealed! S.T.A.R. Labs has the lowdown on Alec and Linda. The case files are retrieved by Ivy and later explained by Batman at the scene of the crime.
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Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Continue reading “Batman and Harley Quinn”