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Swamp Thing: Love and Death (Book 2)

Alan Moore is a genius. A scary, angry looking genius. Swamp Thing has some of his best stories. He didn’t create the character or the comic, he just made it awesome. Love and Death is the second compilation of his Swamp Thing comics. When Moore first took over, he changed the Swamp Thing from being a man turned into a plant monster into a plant monster that was never a human and just thought it was

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The collection starts with a bang as the Swamp Thing comes to terms with the fact that he was never Alec Holland. He finds the body of the man he thought he was and buries him. It marks the end of an era; Swamp Thing is no longer a Len Wein character, now he has evolved into a much deeper and darker character. The whole comic becomes more adult. It’s not for little kids. It’s for adult readers, the first comic to be published monthly without the Comics Code Authority Seal of Approval.

There’s a three-issue arc about Abigail dying. The Swamp Thing goes through extraordinary events to bring her back. He ventures into the afterlife and makes his way down to Hell. Hell is terrifying and horrifying, and it reminded me of the Hell scenes in What Dreams May Come. I know that movie came out way after this comic, but I saw the movie first so shut up.

This is when my review gets lazy. There are a few other stories in this compilation too. One’s about cute little aliens arriving in the Swamp. There’s one where you discover that there’s been more than one Swamp Thing. There’s one about Abigail and the Swamp Thing doing weird things that no human should do with a plant monster. There’s really no way to do Alan Moore justice by paraphrasing material of this caliber, I just hope that you are slightly intrigued and decide to read Swamp Thing.

If you like Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, you will like Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing. You might even recognize a few characters that they both use. The Swamp Thing universe takes you places. There are internal struggles and external battles. The storylines have unlimited potential. The Swamp Thing goes to Hell and back and ends up hooking up with a sack of meat. There’s really nothing that Moore can’t do and make feasible.

Critically Rated at 16/17

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Saga of the Swamp Thing: Book 1

Len Wein created swamp Thing, but it took Alan Moore to make Swamp Thing an interesting character. The original Swamp Thing was the story of a scientist named Alec Holland who gets transformed into a plant and becomes the Swamp Thing. Moore revamps his origin and turns the Swamp Thing into a plant that thinks its Alec Holland. Now the Swamp Thing never was human, it just absorbed Holland’s memories and turned itself into a humanoid. He must deal with the fact that his identity is an illusion, that he’s not supposed to be self-aware.

Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing Book 1 is composed of issues #21-27 of the comic. His take on Swamp Thing begins with the total deconstruction of the character. An evil businessman has the Swamp Thing’s body, and he hires Dr. Woodrue (the Floronic Man) to figure out how Alec Holland became the Swamp Thing. Woodrue isn’t entirely human; he is a little bit of a plant too, making him the ideal one to research the Swamp Thing.  Woodrue discovers that Planarian worms are responsible for transferring his consciousness into the swamp, and the plants tried to mimic his human form, turning themselves into the Swamp Thing.

The Swamp Thing escapes from being experimented on, and Woodrue goes psycho and becomes a threat. He starts attacking small towns and waging war on humans, using his control of plants as a weapon. He’s the opposite of the Swamp Thing, a parody of what he stands for.

After the Woodrue arc is done, Jason Blood/the Demon shows up. The second part of the story makes it apparent that the Swamp Thing is a horror comic. He deals with demons and black magic. It’s a lot different than what you would expect from a comic with a title like this.

Moore’s story is complex. He goes into the minds of characters and you see what they see. You see Woodrue’s descent into madness. You see the Swamp Thing’s fear as he discovers that he can’t regain his humanity, because he was never human to begin with. The Swamp Thing takes place in the DC universe. Superman and some other members of the Justice League make cameos, but the story is not about them. It’s about the Swamp Thing. It’s about monsters and things that go bump in the night. It‘s about what it means to be human.

The Swamp Thing is kind of an obscure comic character. People know about him, but they don’t know what he’s about. Read Alan Moore’s stories about him, andyou will see that he deserves to be as iconic as Superman or Spider-Man. If you like monsters, demons, and Monkey Kings scaring the shit out of little kids, you will like this comic.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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