- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Titan Books Ltd; New edition edition (25 March 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0857682350
- ISBN-13: 978-0857682352
- Product Dimensions: 18 x 26.7 x 2.7 cm
- Customer Reviews: 67 customer ratings
Saga of the Swamp Thing: Bk. 4 Paperback – 25 March 2011
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Saga of the Swamp Thing - The fourth volume collects issues #43-50, in which Swamp Thing's quest for self-discovery comes to its shattering conclusion. A harbinger of doom has been released with the sole charge of waking an evil beyond comprehension, and John Constantine, Deadman, The Phantom Stranger, The Spectre and other masters of the occult must unite.
Top international reviews
This volume contains eight issues which culminate the climax and conclusion of Moore's American Gothic series. The climax confounded many readers at the time, despite the constant (and guided by new character John Constantine) foreshadowing of it. Here the ongoing story is the thing with only three standalone issues, one a scathing attack on gun culture, another dealing with a serial killer which was later developed and amplified by Neil Gaiman in The Sandman.
Speaking of whom, he is one of two writers who contribute introductions to the book. And here is where my grouch wakes up and gets ugly. The presentation of this series is not all that it could be and that it deserves. The paper quality is poor, little better, if that, than the paper of the original comic. The introductions were written for earlier paperback reprints of this series back in the late 80's. Something new would have been nice. Also the 8 issues per volume seems a little meager to me.
But don't let that put you off. It is what it is and it's likely to be the definitive presentation of Swamp Thing for some time so get it while you can. Every comics fan should have this series.
This volume concludes the "American Gothic" story arc that introduced John Constantine, the Hellblazer Hellblazer: Original Sins. The story tied in with the Crisis on Infinite earth and briefly introduced the "tights brigade" to Swamp Thing as they battle that huge turning point in the Dc Universe but focuses much more on a number of magical characters, including the Phantom Stranger, Deadman, The Spectre amongst others) as they join with Swamp Thing to combat the end of all things.
This series introduced John Constantine, who would go on to feature in his own series (eventually under the Vertigo label) which is still running to this day and is one of my favourite ever series. John is introduced fully formed, with the charm and humour he's still known for and with many of the friends that John would curse in one way or another over the years. I'm not sure if Alan realised quite what a brilliant character he'd introduced there. It says so much for his talent that a character brought in for one arc and then dispensed with is something many writers might go an entire career without creating.
It's another brilliant run of work from Moore, written and characterised with his usual flair. Engrossing and highly recommended.
"Bogeymen" features a serial killer which we never see his face since the story is always told by his point of view, what he sees and thinks. He mentions previous encounters with colleagues, which Gaiman used in the Doll House arc of Sandman.
"Ghost Dance" is one of the best stories of Moore, taking advantage of the American love of guns to tell the story of the house of a gun manufactoring dynasty (who really existed), haunted by by those who were slaughtered over the years by their guns, endlessly repeating the deaths. Break visitors are confronted with their weaknesses and betrayals.
"Revelations" is part of the crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths and Mooore will show that battle between light and darkness is much worse than the nightmare of meeting the multiple earths.
In "The Parliament of Trees" Swamp Thing went to Brazil, led by Constantine, to find a board of ancestral trees that share the same origin with the creature and finally revealed his true nature. However the meeting is frustrating because the monster does not understand what it is passed to his by his mates.
In "A Murder of Crows" Constantine and his allies along with Swamp Thing will try to stop a group of magicians known as Brujeria in Patagonia. Their plan is to awake the darkness that exists before the creation of the world to confront God. As we know Moore is not intimidated by metaphysical themes. All goes wrong and the mages, even defeated, can conjure the spell that will awake darkness. The next story "The Summoning," Moore vent his nerd side as a connoisseur of obscure Golden Age characters and summons all mystics DC characters like Baron Winter, Sargon the Sorcerer, Dr. Occult, Zatara and his daughter Zatana to help Constantine on Earth, while the Swamp Thing stands in the limits of hell with Edrigan, Spectre, the Stranger, Deadman and the Doctor Fate to face the darkness awakened and ready to swallow light.
In the special edition we have the conclusion of the battle between light and darkness, "The End" where all the allies of Swamp are knocked out one by one and two colleagues of Constantine are incinerated. So Moore came with a disturbing final (and somewhat heretical), offering the proposition that evil and good are parts of the same spectrum, and light and darkness are complements of the same divine being.