Tag Archives: swamp thing

Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? (comic)

Superman is the most important comic book character of all time. He basically launched the comics industry and became a global phenomenon. He transcends the page; he’s an icon, a symbol. But how does his story end? Well, we got to find out back in 1986 when DC decided to simplify things and get rid of the multiverse and reboot their history. They brought in Alan Moore to write Superman’s final adventure of the Silver Age and bring his story to a close. Moore uses a framing device with a reporter interviewing an older Lois Lane about the last time she saw Superman, who has been missing for ten years and assumed dead. The story flashes back to Superman’s final days. Most of his major foes have been defeated and are out of the picture. But then they start coming back, and they are more twisted than ever before. They discover his secret identity and start attacking the people that Clark cares about most, some of them even die. Superman must find a way to save the day, and he does (cause he’s fucking Superman) but he pays the ultimate price.

            Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? is one of the most important comics in Superman’s long history. It’s a good read for casual fans and it’s essential reading for comic nerds. There’s a trade paperback that contains both Superman #423 and Action Comics #583, and as a bonus they throw in two more standalone stories. The Jungle Line is about Superman suffering from a strange Kryptonian flu and getting saved by the Swamp Thing. And there’s another one called For the Man Who Has Everything, which is Superman’s “what if” story showing what his life on Krypton would have been like if it never blew up.

            So if you ever wondered how the saga of Superman would end, this is the story for you. It has This is Alan Moore at the top of his game working on a Superman story to end all Superman stories. It has great artwork too. Curt Swan’s sketches are brought to life by inkers George Pérez and Kurt Schaffenberger. My biggest complaint is that it’s too short. You start reading and it and BAM! It’s over and you were just getting into it. You don’t want it to end, and then it’s over before you know it. But it sticks with you. It’s a great way to say good-bye to Superman. Even though he never really went away… you know there’s a new Superman movie coming out?

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Swamp Thing: The Curse (Book 3)

Alan Moore is a remarkable storyteller and Swamp Thing contains some of his best work. This volume collects issues #35-42 of Saga of the Swamp Thing. The Swamp Thing meets a new ally named John Constantine, and he deals with a few new things that go bump in the night. The Swamp Thing is a horror comic, and this is a great showcase of what horror comics can be.

The first story is about a crazy guy named Nukeface. He’s addicted to a toxic sludge that a shady business is discreetly disposing of. He tries to share some of his delicious poison with the Swamp Thing and it ends up disintegrating him. But the Swamp Thing learns a new trick, his consciousness is not a part of his physical form and he can essentially recreate a new body for himself. He learns that he is capable of leaving his body in one place and re-growing a new one in another place.

The mysterious John Constantine shows up. He offers the Swamp Thing knowledge about what he is and what he is capable, in exchange for the Swamp Thing going around and stopping evil from spreading across America. Constantine sends the Swamp Thing to Rosewood, Illinois. A few years ago, something evil came to the town and they flooded it in order to destroy the evil. Now the town of Rosewood lies underwater, but the evil managed to thrive. This short story has one of the best interpretations of vampires that I’ve ever come across in literature. Moore twists vampire lore to make them unique creations. Vampires die because of oxygen and sunlight. It makes sense that they would thrive underwater. Driving a stake through its heart kills it because it causes oxygen to enter the heart directly.

The Swamp Thing is able to defeat the underwater vampires, and Constantine sends him on his next mission. The Swamp Thing must deal with The Curse. A lady named Phoebe is having her period and is pissed off and angry at her husband. Throughout the day, she is feeling more and more rage, and more and more detached until she reaches the breaking point and is transformed into a werewolf. This is a cool variation on the werewolf legends… werewolves transform once a month and you can argue that women do the same. This isn’t a sexist story, you have to read between the lines.

The last story in this volume is about a TV show about life of a plantation in the South. A new show is being filmed in the Swamp Thing’s hometown. There are a few celebrities in town and a bunch of the townspeople are hired on extras to portray the plantation’s slaves. Before too long, the actors are having trouble staying in character and it appears that the plantation’s tragic past is being relived through the people involved with the show. The past catches up with the present, and the dead start to rise to seek justice.

Saga of the Swamp Thing is a horror comic. The world is going to hell, and the Swamp Thing is one of the few things that can save it. I’ve seen vampires and werewolves and zombies a thousand times before. But I’ve never seen them depicted like this. They are unique and still recognizable. Alan Moore creates a world where the impossible can happen at any moment, and if it does, you’ll be glad if a walking/talking plant is willing to save you.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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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

.

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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