Sunday, May 15, 2011

Review: Comic Book Classic: Saga Of The Swamp Thing Volume 1



In the  late 1980's DC comics created a companion imprint to their comic book line called Vertigo. The purpose of this imprint was to pursue more adult comics, many of them containing horror and supernatural themes. DC also cultivated a tremendous amount of young gifted writers, many of them British: Grant, Morrison, Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore. 
Alan's work on Swamp Thing is a groundbreaking series that showcases how this four color , 32 page issues is truly an art form. This hardcover volume is a great introduction to the series. Reprinting issues 20-27 this is a great starting point for new readers.
Issue 20: "Loose Ends" ties up the story threads prior to Alan's taking over the book. the brief stirrings of where this series is headed are showcased in this volume. we see a contemplative Alec Holland journeying to see the body of his foe Arcane. We also see some scenes with Abby a friend of Alec's dealing with the repercussions of the last few weeks and her husband Matt's strange behavior.
Issue 21 "Anatomy Lesson" is also a stand out issue. Alec has been shot and presumably killed. The Floronic Man Jason Woodrue is hired to reveal Alec's secrets. In this issue we learn the truth about who and what Alec truly is. A wonderful creepy tale . Moore's narrative strength shines in this tale. It contains wonderful atmospheric tension and foreshadowing.
Issues 22-24 is a great story arc concerning Jason Woodrue. Having tapped into the consciousness of "The Green" Jason is mad and murderous. This story arc also has a wonderful cameo by the Justice League. I loved seeing Alan bring Swamp Thing into the DC universe. Though Alec is mostly isolated this issue shows the interconnectedness of Swampy's word and the entire universe.
Issues 25-27 are my favorite in this anthology. It's a creepy three part horror tale. It showcases Abby's attempts to live a normal life. She has been spending a great deal of time with Alec, ignoring her husband and his strange moods. Abby has taken a job at Elysium Lawns a home for mentally troubled individuals. One boy in particular Paul has been drawing disturbing pictures of a creature called the Monkey King. A monster that lives off and instills fear in others.
The guest star in this story arc is Jason Blood and his counterpart The Demon Etrigan! Etrigan is one of my favorite DC characters I really enjoyed his appearance here. this story is an  adrenaline rush and a classic exploration of the horror stories that fit  nicely in Swamp Thing's world
A wonderful volume. Horror fans and those that enjoy graphic novels will really enjoy this series.
This One Thing
The art in this book is very different from the current comics and graphic novels current fans may be used to. It is a little rocky at the start but as the issues precede Stephen Bissette and John Totleben really begin tuning out some amazing work.




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