Thanks to DC’s Deluxe line of hardcovers, I have been able to finally read Alan Moore’s run on Saga Of The Swamp Thing. True, the trade paperbacks have been easily available for many years now and I have borrowed them on occasion from friends, but for some reason or another I just never got around to reading them until now. I guess it was because the only thing I knew about Swamp Thing were the bad movies and TV shows of the 1980’s an d that just didn’t interest me. Now so many years later I have come to understand the brilliance of this series and it must be placed high upon the pedestal with Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns and Sandman.
Moore started on issue #20 and continued on with #21-58, 60-61, 63-64, Annual #2. DC Comics are four volumes in and it looks like it’ll go six total. So far it’s a journey into mystery, ecology, religion, magic and even superheroes. Here in Book 4, Moore has hit his stride. By now he has established an updated origin for Alec Holland and introduced all the key players including Abby, John Constantine, Arcane, Matt Cable, Deadman and The Phantom Stranger. We now enter Holland’s search for his true meaning in life and his place in “the green”. In these pages is the multi-part story called American Gothic where Swamp Thing must fight the battle of good vs. bad with many of his superheroes friends including Zatanna, Dr. Occult, Etrigan, Sargon, Dr. Fate The Spectre and others. But in-between comes the seminal Parliament Of Trees story from #47 where we meet other earth elementals including the original Swamp Thing Alex Olsen from House of Secrets #92. Holland ultimately leaves with more questions then answers but he does get an understanding of what he must do – it basically boils down to fighting evil.
As far as the book, itself, goes, it’s quiet special. It has a very nice Introduction by pop culture writer Charles Sharr Murray and a Forward by Neil Gaiman, who knows something about mystery and macabre. It also collects #39, which is the tie-in issue to Crisis On Infinite Earths. Why special? Because DC has yet to collect the crossovers in any sort of manner. Perhaps DC will publish a nice set of trade paperbacks complete with all 106 Crisis issues someday. The book also collects #50, an Anniversary double sized issue and the last comic in Book 4.
With Swamp Thing coming back to DC Universe proper, there is no better time then now get caught up with a classic character and one of the greatest comic book runs of all time.
Saga Of The Swamp Thing Book Four
Written by Alan Moore
Art by Stephen Bissette, John Totlebon, Stan Woch, Rick Veitch, Alfredo Alcala, Ron Randall and Tom Mandrake
224 pages, $24.99, DC Comics
Collects Swamp Thing #43-50 (Volume 2)
Roots Of The Swamp Thing