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
It didn't but Arcane does say he won't be needed again until the final moments.
The Stranger reminds The Word that he still has the Parliament of Vapors to deal with. We haven't seen that yet.
Arcane was summoned on a large chessboard. In this issue, the conversation with Raven takes place on a flat circle of stone. The art is still harsh and now it is inconsistent.
The Baron said:
I'm assuming that this scene ends with Arcane saying, "You dimwitted bastard, I can't believe you fell for that!" Then he runs away and Swampy chases him while Yakety Sax plays in the background.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
Back in the swamp, Swamp thing confronts Arcane in another WORDY conversation, the practical upshot of is that (get this) Arcane has found God. Seriously. Arcane asks a favor of Swamp Thing and he grants it; he grows a replica of Arcane's original human body. When Arcane returns Raven's body to him, he cures it of cancer because he's such a swell guy. Elsewhere, Constantine seeks the "wishing matches" (whatever the hell they are) from El Senor Blake.
It was Abby who turned her daughter over to the government and Woodrue. They plan to experiment on her.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
ISSUE #169: Constantine and Woodrue have a conversation about the former's quest to find the "wishing matches" (which are matches with grant a wish when struck... duh). After that, Constantine tracks down Blake and does acquire the matches.
Meanwhile, we learn the entire thing about Tefé being conceived to be a human/plant hybrid elemental is one huge EYKIW. She was actually created to combat The Word. (Her father didn't even know.) She confirms to Abby that, yes, her father does plan to destroy humanity (but only to make a better world!) and she's got his back, putting Abby in the position of having to choose between her daughter and Life As We Know It.
Contantine confronts Swamp Thing (or I guess he's officially been the "Erl King" since #166) and strikes a match to light a cigarette and "wishes" him back to Alec Holland just before The Word arrives to kill him. He also reveals that "some slag" (himself, I guess) alerted the government where to find Tefé and she is now in custody. Tracy's home now and that's a good cliffhanger to end on. I'll wrap this up tomorrow.
I finished ISSUE #171 and have nothing more to add to Jeff's comments.
Tracy and I have discussed it and we have decided to put this discussion on hiatus for a while. I know our original stated intention had been to read every appearance of Swamp Thing from 1972 through 2018, but consider: we've read the original series (24 issues), the second series (171), seven annuals, seven issues of Challengers of the Unknown, and seven "miscellaneous" comics (including issues of The Brave & the Bold, DC Comics Presents, House of Secrets and two unpublished stories) for a total of 216 comics. We fully intend to return to this discussion someday; we're just taking a little break is all.