Swamp Thing 50 (July 1986)

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While touted as an anniversary issue, Swamp Thing barely figures into this story. Moore’s upfront about his limited role–the comic opens with Cain and Abel, after all. It again features guest appearances from the DC supernatural set, with a couple deaths involved.

Moore eventually does make it all about Swamp Thing, but in a relatively quiet way. His experiences and questions about himself inform the greater story, which is a really big one. It’s an all action issue, but the most important action is very quiet dialogue.

What’s strangest about the issue is the lack of intensity. Moore’s done a lot with ominous, disturbing details, but they aren’t present here. Demons are again reduced to funny looking creatures, for example. The supernatural landscape is nowhere near as disturbing as the human one Moore’s been moving through.

Moore brings the fantastical down to manageable size.

It’s excellent, if cloyingly existential.

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Swamp Thing 49 (June 1986)

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This issue, though the cover does nothing to reveal it, features guest appearances from lots of DC’s supernatural characters. Moore skips his cliffhanger regarding Abby’s arrest–some things are clearly best left until after the end of the universe–and instead shows Swampy and Constantine rallying the troops.

For the most part, the issue is rather straightforward. Swamp Thing gets the more mysterious characters together, Constantine has a party. There’s very little flourish to Moore’s characterizations. The writing is all strong, but not playful. Well, except when he goes over Zatanna and Constantine’s romantic history.

Moore concentrates on the third person narration of the bird (it’s bringing the end of the world) and that approach works. It lets him set a tone and return to it, while still including the fantastic (people walking across a giant Spectre).

On the art, Woch and Alcala do well.

It’s a good priming issue.

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