I started reading Swamp Thing from the very beginning... sort of. When I was a kid, I liked superhero comics and not much else (no western, no war, etc.). I also gravitated toward Marvel, so Swamp Thing had two strikes against it right out of the gate (to mix a metaphor or two). I remember seeing titles such as Swamp Thing and Kamandi on the spinner racks but not giving them a second look (or even a first). Even when I walked into a comic book shop for the first time in my life several years later, it took some time for me to overcome my preconceived notions regarding such titles as Daredevil (Frank Miller's) and Swamp Thing (Alan Moore's). Then, in 1986, DC released the Roots of the Swamp Thing reprint series and i started at the very beginning (#1) if not exactly from the very beginning (1972). 

Skip ahead 15 years. I'm now married. My new bride is not wholly unfamiliar with comic books and is willing to read more. I recommended a list of 8 or 10 of my favorites (including the Wein/Wrightson and the Moore/Bisette/Totleben runs of Swamp Thing), most of which she read. I had tens of thousands of comics in my collection at that time, enough to keep us busy reading and discussing for years. But she became interested in comics I didn't have, such as the post-Moore Swamp Thing as well as the complete run of Fables (which I myself still have not read). We spent the next however-many-it-was months collecting backissues of Swamp Thing plus I added those two titles to my pull & hold. 

At this point Tracy has read literally hundreds more issues of Swamp Thing than I have. We don't have every issue (she finally lost interest after the "New 52"), but we have quite a few. Ironically,  it was "Brightest Day" which reignited my own interest, so some of the more recent issues she has not read. I like to "prorate" the cost of my comics by a) reading them multiple times, or b) giving them to my wife to read. We get the best value from those comic we both read multiple times. To that end, we have decided to work our way through every issue we own from 1972 to 2018.

We recently led a discussion through every issue/series in Terry Moore's "SiP-verse" but, if we complete it, this project is more than twice as long. We invite you along for the ride. 

Wein/Wrightson - p1

Nestor Redondo - p2

The "Mopee Thing" - p3

Miscellaneous - p4

Martin Pasko - p5

Alan Moore - p8

Rick Veitch - p25

Doug Wheeler - p31

Nancy Collins - p33

Grant Morrison & Mark Millar - p37

Mark Millar - p38

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I remember when I first read this, I was a little surprised at how far Alec's vengeance went. We were used to superheroes killing their enemies back then. 

This was also retty much where I stopped reading the series, for a variety of reasons (I had returned to the big city and there wasn't a convenient comics shop available plus I had little spending money). 

ISSUE #64:

This is it: the last Alan Moore issue and the last of the Absolute editions. I must admit, this isn't the ending I remembered at all. In fact, I remembered very little of this particular issue. On thig I definitely misremembered about the last storyline was the fate of Lex Luthor. the way I remembered it, it was the pre-Crisis LL in his prison greys who sent Swamp Thing into space, but the post-Crisis businessman Lex Luthor upon whom Swamp thing wreaked his revenge. Actually, the one issue in which LL appeared had both/either depiction, that is, his head looked pre-Crisis but his attire post. #64 brings Moore's run to a satisfying conclusion. Swampy and Abby go off to live in the swamp, Chester and Liz are together, with Liz showing definite signs of recovery.

Absolute v3 closes off with DCCP #85 (which I covered earlier), and essay by John Totleben about the art for issue #60, Moore's script for #60, Rick Veitch's sketchbook and and essay by Steve Oliff on the recoloring of the Absolute editions. 

I've read other stories where the main character or characters use their personal power to kill. It isn't self-defense exactly but it could be poetic justice. Especially in fiction where the reader knows the bad guys never go to jail.

I thought the two stories of Swamp Thing returning to Earth and Abby returning to the swamp in mourning were well done, weaving them together in the final panel. 

I remember this issue well, my favorite part being the treehouse Swamp Thing build for Abby in the middle of the isolated swamp. I've loved treehouses since I was a little kid. I would often daydream about what mine would look like. The bonus of Swamp Thing's treehouse is that he can control things and keep bugs out. ST, Abby, Chester, and Liz deserved a happy ending. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ISSUE #64:

This is it: the last Alan Moore issue and the last of the Absolute editions. I must admit, this isn't the ending I remembered at all. In fact, I remembered very little of this particular issue. 

ISSUE #62:

This issue provides a preview of what this title will look like in a few short months, with rick Veitch penciling and writing, and Alfredo Alcala on art. (Honestly, I hadn't remembered this issue was written by Veitch so it came as a mild surprise)

This was almost as painful to read (IMO) as #60. There is no flow to the writing. Back in the 70s I bought all of Kirby’s Fourth World books but, to the extent that I actually read them, didn’t enjoy them much.

ISSUE #63:

The title of this issue's story is "Loose Ends (Reprise)" which itself sets certain expectations, except this time, instead of wrapping up Martin Pasko's loose ends, Alan Moore is tying up his own. Swamp Thing returns to Earth, but before he reunites with Abby, he seeks revenge against four of the men involved in the attack against him, working his way up the chain to Wicker of the D.D.I. (Swamp Thing "says it with roses" as the the slogan goes... then peach blossoms, then grass, then a sandwich.)

I was amused that Wicker got rid of the grass and all the plants, yet forgot the tomato or red pepper in his sandwich. They all deserved what they got.

While all this is going on, Abby pays a visit to Matt who is still comatose. We look in on Chester, who  meets Liz for the first time. (Liz has progressed to the point at which she is able to sit in a tub filled with four inches of water.) Chester runs into the guy to whom he gave a slice of tuber in #43 whose wife was dying of cancer. He finds Abby at the hospital and decide to take a walk in the swamp, which is when and where Swamp Thing and Abby are reunited.

Yay!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ISSUE #64:

#64 brings Moore's run to a satisfying conclusion. Swampy and Abby go off to live in the swamp, Chester and Liz are together, with Liz showing definite signs of recovery.

Tracy of Moon-T said:

I remember this issue well, my favorite part being the treehouse Swamp Thing build for Abby in the middle of the isolated swamp. I've loved treehouses since I was a little kid. I would often daydream about what mine would look like. The bonus of Swamp Thing's treehouse is that he can control things and keep bugs out. ST, Abby, Chester, and Liz deserved a happy ending. 

I agree that he wrapped up his run very nicely. 

It was a bit of a surprise that Swamp Thing killed those enemies of his outright, and so brutally at that.

But it makes a lot of sense, particularly when the link to #20's story is so explicit.  Until Moore came in most Swamp Thing stories had a hard time avoiding some strong cliches.  He was persecuted by faceless organizations with access to vicious agents and impressive firepower who were interested in perverting him or the science that made him possible for nefarious purposes.  That meant hiding hopelessly until he found someone who he could trust. As often as not those people ended up betraying him.  He somehow survived, be it by the help of noble allies, sheer luck or mysterious supernatural events.  Rinse, repeat.

It is a powerful storytelling engine, but a very predictable and limited one. Fairly depressing too.

But that is very much behind him now.  Swamp Thing has transcended the limitations of even his own body.  He can easily level entire cities if he decides that such violent acts are called for.  And there is little that anyone can do to avoid his lethal wrath once it comes into being.

From a storytelling perspective, that results in a decisive shift.  Swamp Thing's challenges are no longer human in nature or scope.  He is very much inhuman except when it comes to his feelings towards Abby.  And the challenges that he faces are far beyond human in reach and depth, He is now a force of nature and will be interested in healing or facing other supernatural and superhuman forces, no less.

Tracy of Moon-T said:

I've read other stories where the main character or characters use their personal power to kill. It isn't self-defense exactly but it could be poetic justice. Especially in fiction where the reader knows the bad guys never go to jail.

I thought the two stories of Swamp Thing returning to Earth and Abby returning to the swamp in mourning were well done, weaving them together in the final panel. 

Another thing that strikes me about #63 is that Swamp thing let Lex Luthor get off scot free! Metatextually, of course, Swamp Thing couldn't kill Superman's arch enemy. Consequently, he couldn't even confront him after visiting such horrific fates on the others, right down to the guy who fired the weapon, so the guy who invented the weapon had to be ignored.

ISSUE #65:

Throughout most of my life, I've had trouble dropping titles after favorite creators leave but, for whatever reason, I dropped Swamp Thing cold turkey with #64. That seems strange to me in retrospect, not only for the reason I already mentioned but because I was familiar with (and liked) other series by Rick Veitch. As I have mentioned before, Swamp Thing was one of the earliest series I recommended to my wife after we were married. That plan kind of backfired on me, though, because instead of moving on to any of the thousands of comics I already owned, she wanted to continue reading this series which I didn't. That decision set us off on a backissue quest, the first one we undertook together. The issues weren't too hard to find, although we did have to shop multiple "brick & mortar" stores as well as shop online. Fortunately, we were able to find most of the issues at cover price or maybe a quarter above (with one notable exception). I like to "prorate" my comic book purchases down by reading them multiple times, and if we both read them, so much the better. Throughout the end of this series, although it will be my first time reading them, it will be Tracy's second, so that's three bangs for our bucks (so to speak). 

Issues #65-70 have been collected in a tpb titled "Regenisis" but we will continue our pace of one issue (or two) per day and see how that goes. Actually, Veitch's solo run gets off to a good start, with Swamp Thing and Abby both undertaking solo journeys of discovery. Swamp Thing pays a visit to the Parliament of trees to let them know he is still alive. Unfortunately, they have brought into being a new swamp elemental to take his place. Apparently there's some sort of Vampire Slayer/Highlander rule about only one existing at a time, and the Parliament tells Swamp Thing he must abort it. (No metaphor here.) He exercises his freedom of choice, however, and leaves the gestating elemental alive. 

Meanwhile back in the swamp, Abby eats one of Swamp Thing's tubers in an effort to contact him, and ends up kissing John Constantine. (Don't ask.) Swamp Thing returns and tells Constantine in no uncertain terms that he is done with him, but he ends up inadvertently insulting Abby  in the process. (He also informs Constantine about the new swamp elemental.)

ANNUAL #3:

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this annual because it's more of a love letters to DC's sundry "ape characters" than it is a proper Swamp Thing story, but this is the point at which it occurs in continuity. Only eight of the story's 41 pages (plus five panels) deal directly with the Swamp Thing/Abby relationship, but those pages do flow seamlessly from #65. After Swamp Thing inadvertently insulted Abby in #65, Abby inadvertently insults Swamp Thing in the annual. they have a little tiff, then they make up. The excellent Brian Bolland cover notwithstanding, this annual can be easily be skipped in a comprehensive read of the series. (I have advised Tracy to read only the eight relevant pages if she wishes.) 

Swamp Thing and Abby reset their relationship after insulting each other. Of course, it remains to be seen if ST will retire and stay with Abby instead of wandering when she is asleep.

Constantine deals in knowledge but for all his experience, Swamp Thing forgets this. He sheds his current body, conveniently covered in tubers, at John's feet, after a parting shot about letting the new Earth elemental deal with the problems of man. 

ISSUE #66:

Picking up wit the aftermath of their tiff, Swamp Thing and Abby commune in an entirely different way than ever before, more or less switching consciousnesses. Abby goes to "Heaven" and meets Alec Holland. she is just in time to witness Linda Holland reincarnating. Alec also takes her to "Hell." Swamp Thing becomes distracted by being in Abby's human body and fears he has lost her. She returns, however, the consciousness of the new swamp elemental in tow waiting to be "born." 

Meanwhile, Constantine secretly visits the Floronic Man in Arkham and plies him with the tuber he acquired last issue for information about the new elemental. All of this is done against the backdrop of text taken from a pop-psychology book written by one Dr. Robert Huntoon. As it turns out, Dr. Huntoon is now working at Arkham Asylum gathering material for his next book. As it further turns out, Huntoon, a.k.a. "Piggy", is also a former classmate of Constantine's. Constantine is caught on camera by Arkham's new surveillance system and is captured by Huntoon, but escapes in the confusion when Batman delivers Killer Croc.

I'm really enjoying these post-Moore issues so far. I don't know what I was thinking dropping the title back in 1987. these stories are certain no worse than the post-Wein/Wrightson ones (although I wouldn't've known that then). 

ISSUE #67:

Despite appearances, that is not the incredible Hulk on the cover. It is, in fact, Solomon Grundy (on loan from Infinity, Inc.). Grundy's body has been inhabited by the new swamp elemental (now referred to as "Sprout") which followed Abby back from the Afterlife. But Sprout is having a difficult time controlling Grundy's body with Grundy's mind (such as it is) still there. It's possible Grundy was intended to have been a swamp elemental himself 100 years ago, but a critical element was missing from his origin: fire. Sprout hopes to introduce this element in order to facilitate a more cohesive assimilation. Sprout is grateful to the Swamp Thing for sparing its life, but Grundy doesn't feel that way. Neither does the Parliament of Trees.

Swamp Thing and Abby pursue their own agendas this issue, with Swamp Thing visiting the Parliament of Trees and Abby  going to visit Chester and Liz. Roy Raymond (now the host of an exploitative TV show) tries to hire Cajun riverman Gene "Labo" Labostrie as a guide, but he refuses. He does, however, paddle Abby to Houma. Meanwhile, Swamp thing encounters Grundy/Sprout in Slaughter Swamp. Swamp Thing is defeated and Grundy and Sprout end up being split apart. Constantine appears and clues Swamp Thing in that it is the Parliament of Trees who is out to get him. (Dialogue also makes clear that Swamp thing does not know about Luthor's involvement in the D.D.I.'s attack which banished him to space for a time.)

Apparently, Wes Craven's Swamp Thing movie exists in the DCU. Contantine's review of it: a "grotty dimwitted clod of a film to add to the cultural wasteland.") Also this issue features a six-page preview of Hellblazer, Constantine's solo magazine. 

The only thing I found interesting in this issue is Sprout. It's interaction with others is a new twist to the comic. 

Not being disrespectful, but......

The Jolly Green Giant and Sprout.

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