Swamp Thing 31 (December 1984)

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Rick Veitch comes on–not sure if he joins here or is just filling in–for a very difficult issue.

Moore implies two challenges for Swampy this issue–the returned Arcane and Abby’s death. But it turns out there’s only one actual challenge (to Swamp Thing). So Moore has to balance Swamp Thing knowing something the reader cannot but also make its revelation organic. It can’t be a cheat.

Veitch’s style is probably better for the action-orientated nature of the issue; his figures are strong, his Swamp Thing not quite as mucky as Bissette’s has been. And, as is so important in Moore’s Swamp Thing, Veitch is able to deliver the tragic landscapes.

Moore nicely mixes various points of view–Swamp Thing in first and some different approaches to third. The variations never feel like a ruse to pull off the revelation.

It’s excellent, but clearly a bridging issue.

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The Saga of the Swamp Thing 30 (November 1984)

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In many ways, this issue is an exercise more than a full issue. It is not, actually, a full narrative gesture, not in the way Moore has established himself on Swamp Thing. It reads very quickly and one of the reasons it does is because Moore does not encourage lingering.

Arcane is back and he’s bringing hell to Earth. Notice the lower case hell and the uppercase Earth. Much of the issue is single panel snapshots of people about to do awful things to one another. Really, really awful things. Moore and Bissette do not show these things… because the reader’s imagination will do far better (at being worse) than anything illustrated.

The issue also shows how well Moore understands the DC Universe, whether it’s a tie-in to Crisis or a cameo from the Joker. Moore gets it, maybe better than anyone else.

It’s great work, but completely disturbing.

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