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. 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.
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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”

Swamp Thing 31

Swamp Thing 31 (1984)
Brimstone Ballet

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Brimstone Ballet depicts Swamp Thing coming to terms with Arcane’s arrival into the land of the living (again) and Abby’s sudden departure from the land of the living. Arcane has taken her soul and sent it into the depths of hell. Swamp Thing also comes to terms with his powers in this first issue of… “Sophisticated Suspense”

In issue 30 we last saw Swamp Thing taking Abby’s lifeless body into his arms. this issue continues, with Swampy carrying her down the staircase, outside into the snow and away from the house of horrors that Arcane built. Surrounded by demonic Un-Men, Swampy tries to make sense of it all while Arcane toys with his emotions.
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The title page introduces us to a melee erupting from Abby and “Matt’s” new home. Swampy fights his way out.
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The little demon/Un-Man (below, left) looks a lot like Baytor from Garth Ennis’ Section 8. The fella’ on the right looks way in over his head.
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Arcane turns the screws, toying with Swampy. For a moment, he tries to trick Swamp Thing into ripping off Abby’s head, saying that she is not real, but a construct he created using Matt Cable’s powers.
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Arcane continues to taunt Swamp Thing.
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DC kicks the code

Saga of the Swamp Thing 29 (1984)
Love and Death

There are a number of reasons why this book is great but it’s special in that DC released it without the Comics Code approval. With this issue, Swamp Thing takes another significant step in leaving his mark in comic book history. Moving forward, DC decided to stop submitting the book for Comics Code approval. This further allowed the creative team to explore taboo subject matter and the nightmarish situations within Swamp Thing’s world.
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I can recall the progression of most Swamp books but I tend to forget the pacing of the stories. Rereading the chronology revitalizes my excitement for the story telling and craftsmanship. This issue is a great example. It’s terrifying what Abby goes through and Moore tells the terrifying experience all too well. So well that it would  eventually make him the subject of intense debate on how he depicts and perceives women.

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I’ve read this book numerous times and it still seems to kick my brain around. This is the seemingly cursed, nightmare life of the Arcane family. None of them get out unscathed…
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Continue reading “DC kicks the code”

Swamp Thing 27 (series 2)

Saga of the Swamp Thing 27 (1984)
By Demons Driven

Gone, gone the form of man. Oh, look it’s Etrigan… breaking through another window. The tale involving the Monkey King carries on as Etrigan takes invasive maneuvers at Elysium Lawns.
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The evidence is there. Jason Blood’s Morning After Window Repair biz could be a lucrative venture. His arial entrance is repeated on the cover of John Byrne’s Wonder Woman 107 (1996).
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Pandemonium’s broken out at the children’s hospital. Two demons and a vegetable monster duke it out while Abby and the kids of the Elysium Lawns hospital find a safe place away from the chaos.
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It’s clear that Etrigan is here to destroy the Monkey King but at what cost?!
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Abby’s new job is proving to be extremely stressful. Swamp Thing joins the fight so that she can get Paul to a safe place. Etrigan realizing the Monkey King is a manifestation, influenced by Paul, has no problem taking on the collateral damage. If he can’t beat the monkey, he’ll have to destroy Paul. Continue reading “Swamp Thing 27 (series 2)”

Saga of the Swamp Thing 26

The Saga of the Swamp Thing 26 (1984)
…A Time of Running

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Swamp Fact:
This issue, along with the previous issue 25, are the only books that deviate from the series two Swamp Thing logo until issue 57, where a question mark was added.

This swamp fact is brought to you by the informative fellas at the
Wednesday Comics Podcast.
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I don’t always have time to read the books I want every week which is why the Wednesday Comics Podcast is such a great resource for reviews and to catch up on what’s new. I appreciate good comics podcasts when I find them and I’ve recently teamed up with the Wednesday Comics Podcast to help spread the word regarding rootsoftheswampthing.com. Now… onto issue 26!

The book starts out with a frantic foot race to Elysium Lawns; Abby’s new place of employment. Swamp Thing pulls Abby through the marsh, hoping to stop the Monkey King before it’s too late.
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amazing layouts and beautiful splash pages…
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“It began with blood.”
Picking up where issue 25 left off: immediately after the marlin skewering of Harry Price, Jason Blood and Abigail Cable visit coffee. Continue reading “Saga of the Swamp Thing 26”

Saga of the Swamp Thing 25

The Saga of the Swamp Thing 25 (1984)
“The Sleep of Reason…”

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Swamp Thing isn’t the only one who’s settling back into Houma. Jason Blood has arrived via Greyhound, Abby is looking for employment and Matt Cable sinks deeper into his psychosis; living nightmare. The Monkey King is introduced, wreaking havoc within the realm of the dark arts and conveniently enough John Constantine makes an appearance; albeit, a small one. This Constantine sighting is a full year before his official first appearance in Swamp Thing 37 (June 1985). He can also be seen in DC Sampler #3 (November 1984), released 8months prior to ST 37. The creative team did a good job of planning the series out well in advance.
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Enter: Harold Price…
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Before we know of his intentions down in Louisiana, Blood uses most of his time to inform random people of their impending doom. …at least he warned them, I suppose.
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Jason Blood settles in.
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Continue reading “Saga of the Swamp Thing 25”