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
"Trask"? Any relation to Bolivar?
Probably an Earth-1/Earth-616 counterpart descended from the 18th century Reverend Trask.
ISSUES #19-20: This next chunk comes courtesy of writer Gerry Conway.
#19: Remember back in issue #5 when a man named "Jocko" cut off the swampt thing's arm with a scythe in Divinity, Maine? Gerry Conway does. His story postulates that, not only did Swamp thing grow a new arm, but that the severed arm grew a new Swamp Thing. This one is mindless, though, and the two are being drawn together.
Cable, Abby and bolt arrive in the town of Gatorberg, Florida ("The Orange Juice Capital of the Western Hemisphere!") where the latest Swamp Thing sighting has lead them. They stop in a Sloan's Diner where the owner, Burton Sloan, is abusive to his son, Junior, when he tells the three visitors that he saw the creature they're looking for in the swamp. Just then, Earl Hobart and his "gang" enter the diner to cause trouble. Hobart is an aging "Brando" wannabe with a potbelly. Cable and Bolt depart (leaving Abby behind to keep an eye on things in town), but are accosted by Junior Sloan who offers to take them to Benson's Swamp, where he spotted the creature.
The swamp is about two miles south of town, where a Seminole Indian named Ho-tah lives. Junior introduces them, but Ho-tah tells them he has been hunting and assures them there is no creature in the swamp. Cable and Bolt depart, but Junior stays behind and asks Ho-tah why he lied. Earlier in the day, Ho'tah confides in Junior that he had indeed been hunting, but he encountered the mindless swamp thing and took it under his wing.
Meanwhile, the real Swamp Thing is being drawn toward his counterpart directly through a government construction site. the government is building a secret defense installation, but the workers don't know that and we readers won't even find out until next issue. There is an altercation in which a bulldozer runs into a gasoline storage tank and explodes. Later, Abby overhears the workers tell the tale at Sloan's Diner.
Back in Benson's Swamp, Ho-tah poles Junior and the duplicate swamp thing in his skiff out to the "Grotto of Eternal Youth" explaining that Junior is the first white man ever to have seen it. This is actually a good cliffhanger on which to end the issue, but Conway explains that the issue was originally plotted as a 25 page story for a 50 cent giant (presumably with reprints), but at the last minute it was decided to cut the story to 18 pages of all-new material for 25 cents.
#20: Ho'tah tells Junior he was a young man when he first discovered the grotto 180 years ago. that same day, drunken settlers wiped out his village and killed his parents.
The real Swamp thing has a run-in with Hobart and his gang, but easily routes them.
Meanwhile, Matt Cable and Jefferson Bolt visit the construction site and meet Frank Halston, the foreman. The bulldozer cannot move a large boulder from where the foundation needs to go, so they decide to use explosives. The explosion is heard for miles around, but it also destroys the grotto which is on the other side of the construction site. Angered, Ho'tah sends the duplicate swamp thing to kill the white men responsible. (The doppleganger doesn't really understand, but responds to Ho'tah's emotions.) the two creatures meet face-to-face and begin to fight.
Back in town, Ho'tah goes to Sloan's Diner to vent his anger. Hobart and Sloan gang up on him, but it is Sloan who knocks him down. Ho'tah's head hits the curb, killing him. By this time, the fight has carried the creatures to the edge of the city. When the duplicate sees Ho'tah stuck down, it forgets the fight and rushes to his side. Just then, Cable, Bolt and Halston arrive in a jeep. Halston lobs a hand grenade (I guess), destroying both the swamp thing and Ho'tah's body. The real Swamp thing has remained out of sight during this altercation, and Cable, Bolt and Abby now assume that Alec Holland has been destroyed.
ISSUES #21-22: These nest two issues are written by Dave Michelinie again. I don't know whether Gerry Conway interrupted Michelinie's run with #19-20 or if Michelinie interrupted Conway's run with #21-22, but Conway will be back with #23.
#21: This issue begins with the Swamp Thing in outer space on a spaceship to which he has been teleported. The ship belongs to Solus, an exiled outcast of his own planet and the ship (platform, really) is his prison. He killed his older brother, the rightful heir to the throne, and the elders exiled him rather than executed him. Solus is, like the mutant children from #14, fishbelly white. He is nearly immortal and his people took the added precaution of implanting little gem-like nodules all over his body which are rigged to explode should he ever touch soil. He cannot control the platform but, over the years, he has learned to work the transporter, which he uses to gather slaves from a variety of worlds.
His latest slave is Swamp Thing. It's not clear what he uses these "slaves" for, except for a beautiful winged woman named Cellanth whom he uses for sex. This time, she uses his control rod to free the other slaves. their plan was that she would distract Solus while the others flee, sacrificing herself. Swamp Thing objects, and suddenly attacks the other slaves. But his actions are not his own; Solus is hip to the plan and is controlling Swamp Thing's actions. He then uses his powers to cause Cellanth to dance herself to death.
He immediately regrets his actions, and begins to eject his slaves into open space one by one. the slaves have rigged the ship to explode, however, and a preliminary explosion throws solus over the side, but still within the force field, cling for life. While he is thus occupied, the other slaves teleport away to their respective home planets. Swamp thing takes pity on Solus, but Solus attacks him, touching him in the process, thereby trigging the "must not touch soil" failsafe of his explosive implants. Before the ship explodes, Swamp Thing uses the teleporter and lands in Arizona.
#22: No sooner does he arrive than he is attacked by soldiers wearing hazmat suits and flown away in a futuristic helicopter. He is taken to Project: Safehaven, a secret government facility built inside a mountain. Safehaven is run by Dr. Daniel Solomon, who invented a new kind of bomb. When the bomb was tested, the fallout infected an isolated city, turning the residents into yellow-skinned mutants. These mutants are radioactive to the degree that, should they come in contact with the outside world, the virus they are carrying would release a devastating plague. The government named the virus after him, and put him in charge of caring for the "sideshow freaks."
Swamp Thing is befriended by Kate, a leader of the mutant community. Kate is opposed by John, her son, who wants to reveal their existence to the world at large, even at risk of unleashing a plague which would kill millions. Kate and John, it turns out, are Dr. Solomon's wife and son. Eventually Dr. Solomon is forced to kill his son in order to safeguard the world from the virus he is responsible for. Then he allows the Swamp Thing to leave the facility and sets it to self-destruct.
The last page takes place in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon, Swamp Thing having apparently walked there from Arizona. He is on his way to the Holland family home, a place to which he had vowed years before never to return.
NEXT: "MOPEE THING"
When the bomb was tested, the fallout infected an isolated city, turning the residents into yellow-skinned mutants.
I can't help but think the city was Springfield and the mutants were The Simpsons.
I know I bought this entire run. Whether I read them all is another question. I was beginning to have huge numbers of unread comics which led to my quitting cold turkey in 1979.
I like that idea.
Richard Willis said:
When the bomb was tested, the fallout infected an isolated city, turning the residents into yellow-skinned mutants.
I can't help but think the city was Springfield and the mutants were The Simpsons.
THE MOPEE THING:
I'm sure most of you reading this know what a "Mopee" is, but Tracy doesn't, so allow me to briefly explain. The term comes from "The Real Origin of the Flash" (Flash #167, FEB 1967), in which a little green-clad elf appears and claims to have caused the accident that gave Barry Allen his powers. The idea of a "heavenly help-mate" was so universally rejected by both fans and the company that it was ignored and never mentioned in continuity again. After that, any story which introduces such an element has come to be called a "Mopee" and Swamp Thing is about to enter Mopee territory.
ISSUES #23-24: The cover of #23 suggests to me nothing so much as one of those Atlas/Seaboard Periodicals titles which changed direction a couple of issues in in a desperate attempt to retain readership. (Chances are good, despite what the cover blurb claims, that nobody asked for this.)
#23: Sabre is the "chief enforcer" for a clandestine group called "Colossus" (an obvious replacement for "The Conclave"). He used to be a government agent, he is missing a hand, and he is nursing a vendetta against the Swamp Thing. He reports to "Councilman Red". Colossus also controls an "Elemental" called Thrudvang the Earth Master". (There are apparently a group of Elementals, although Thrudvang is the only one we ever see.)
Meanwhile, the Swamp Thing is making his way to the house of Alec Holland's brother, Edward, just outside the quiet college town of Quin, Oregon. Edward Holland considers himself to be a superior scientist to Alec, yet it was Alec who received the fame and recognition (not to mention the government contracts). Not expecting to find anyone else at home, the Swamp Thing walks right in the front door where he encounters Edward's assistant, Ruth Monroe, who faints dead away. Ruth is first shown as lounging around the house wearing a pair of white bell-bottom jeans, white go-go boots and a white bikini top. She also bears a striking resemblance to Linda Holland, Alec's wife.
My first thought was, "'Assistant'... yeah, right," but Ruth graduated magna cum laude with a degree in bio-chemistry, and she refers to her boss as "Mr. Holland." Despite her fainting spell, she considers herself a strong feminist who owes her success to her mother. who died shortly before Ruth graduated. She and Alec (yes, I said "Alec") will come to bond over their shared losses.
Edward Holland is convinced he can cure his brother's affliction, which he proceeds to do by recreating the conditions responsible for the transformation in the first place, up to and including filling a wading pool with swamp water. After the bomb taped to a table filled with chemicals explodes, the burning Swamp Thing runs outside and douses himself in the pool. For some reason, this procedure works, and the Swamp Thing begins to change back to Alec Holland. It is at this point Sabre chooses to attack.
Sabre, we learn, is actually John Zero (from issue #13) who illogically blames the Swamp thing for his lack of success in government work, which is why he switched sides. Colossus was able to track Swamp Thing by a transmitter implanted beneath his skin. We were told early on that "all will be explained," but that aspect wasn't, really. Sabre falls into the pool of chemicals, is badly burned and captured. Swamp Thing fully reverts to Alec Holland while Thrudvang waits on deck. This is also Nestor Redondo's last issue as artist.
#24: This issue is written by David Anthony Craft (following Gerry Conway's plot) and drawn by Ernie Chua. A Colossus agent named Solomon Smith frees Sabre from police custody. Colossus is now represented by Councilman Blue in addition to Councilman Red. Colossus' plans are to duplicate the bio-restorative formula and create an army of mercenary super-soldiers for sale to the highest bidder. Sabre and Smith's primary objective is to capture the Swamp Thing, and their secondary objective is to rein in Thrudvang, who is out in the field but cannot be controlled. Sabre proposes that he and Smith turn against Colossus, and Smith appears to agree, at least for the time being.
At some point I should mention that a love triangle develops between the two Holland brothers and Ruth Monroe, a triangle that goes exactly nowhere since this is the last issue of the series. It is Alec Holland who tricks Thrudvang onto a rope bridge then cuts it, plunging the Elemental into the McKenzie River Gorge below. The next issue blurb promises "Hawkman vs. Swamp Thing," but we aren't any more likely to see that than we are what happened with Sabre and Smith.
Now, if you happen to read these stories for the first time in the Bronze Age Swamp Thing Omnibus (as I did in 2017), you're likely to wonder how Alec Holland became the Swamp Thing again, because the very next issue in that collection is Saga of the Swamp Thing #1, which begins with the restored status quo of the creature living back in the Louisiana bayou. I did a little research at the time and discovered that, between series, Swamp Thing guest-starred in Challengers of the Unknown #83-87, and a little more research revealed that the Challs mag had recently been revived with #81. Completist that I am, I sought out #81-87, but it took me a while to track them all down and I had to access multiple sources, both online and in person. I completed this mini-quest in fairly short order, but I didn't read them until yesterday.
All seven issues are written by Gerry Conway. The first two are drawn by Mike Nasser, and the remaining five by Keith Giffin. For those of you who may not know, Challengers of the Unknown was the creation of Jack Kirby. the Challs first appeared in four tryout issues of Showcase in 1957 before being awarded their own series. Kirby left after eight issues, but the series had a long run as a solo comic, reverting to reprints at the end before being cancelled. I just realized yesterday that the revival series sprung directly from three issues of Super-Team Family (#10-12 if you're interested; I will not be buying those). The revival series must be where old series go to die because, in addition to the Challs themselves, Swamp thing, Deadman and Rip Hunter would all settle there... briefly.
Alec Holland/Swamp Thing doesn't appear at all in #81. the action is #82 shifts to Perdition, PA (the location of Swamp Thing #8), but Swamp Thing appears only in flashback (including a single panel inked by Berni Wrightson). Also, for some reason, Richard Nixon appears as a tractor salesman. #83 reveals that Alec Holland has gone public and is now working for the government again on his bio-restorative formula. He and Ruth are definitely a couple now (Edward isn't mentioned), but don't get to used to having her around because we will never see her again.
Dustin Clayburne, a "spoiled little richboy" and a "would-be Challenger", lures Alec to Perdition, where he changes back to Swamp Thing permanently. (He had already begun to change, simply because the treatment his bother devised had begun to "wear off".) In #84, Rama Kusha sends Deadman to Perdition but, by the time he gets there, the evil has already been defeated. Deadman decides to hang with the Challs for a while, even though none of them know he's there and won't find out. Prof Haley, the Challs nominal leader, has become infected with a fungus and is now confined to a wheelchair.
Meanwhile, Swamp Thing is being mentally controlled by Multi-Man, one of the Challs' old foes. Deadman tries to inhabit Swamp Thing's body but can't because Multi-Man's consciousness is already there. Instead, when Swamp thing wanders close enough to Multi-Man's original body, Deadman sticks an arm into each, short circuiting the psychic link. In #85, Rocky and Red fight over June, and Red quits the team. A giant radioactive cube appears in Toronto, leaving only Rocky, Ace and June (plus Swamp Thing and Deadman) to investigate. The wheelchair-bound Prof stays behind at Challenger Mountain.
As the Challs arrive in Toronto a monster emerges from the cube. By the time they defeat it, neither the monster nor the cube are radioactive any longer, so they transport them both back to their headquarters. Using carbon dating, Prof determines (because the result yielded a negative number!) that the cube came from 12 million years in the future. I don't think carbon dating works that way, but I'm no scientist. Prof suggests Rip Hunter (Time Master, last seen in issue #29 of his own series, 1965) should be able to help them, so the rest of the team departs for Rip's base in Colorado. As soon as they leave, another time cube/monster appears behind Prof.
At Rip's HQ, Swamp Thing presses a button on a console which causes a time sphere to appear. Inside is the skeleton of a future man, and the time sphere no longer works. As they attempt to repair the time machine, cubes and monsters begin to appear all over the planet. Once they get it working, the three Challs (plus Swamp Thing and Deadman) travel to the year 12,000,000 to confront the "Sunset Lords" (who are disposing of radioactive mutants from their genetic breeding labs by sending them into the past) with the aid of Rip Hunter and the rebel leader, Lucas Lawspeaker.
"Meanwhile" in the present, Prof dons a motorized combat suit to fight the monster which is attacking him. In Metropolis, Red regrets his decision to quit the team and returns to challenger Mountain just in time to help Prof. After they defeat it, they activate the JLA emergency signal. Shown responding to the signal are Batman, Green Lantern, Lightray and the Demon. (Don't ask me; I just summarize.) After the monsters have been defeated and the rest of the team returns from the future, the final caption reads: "And upon returning, the Challengers are once again reunited! Rip Hunter and crew, the Swamp Thing and Deadman bid farewell to the death-cheaters and leave--to pursue their individual fates--each going his separate way--into the pages of history."
When I first read the Bronze Age Swamp Thing Omnibus, I thought these issues of Challengers of the Unknown (at least #83-87) should have been included, for continuity's sake (i.e., to smooth the transition between Swamp Thing #24 and Saga of the Swamp Thing #1). Now that I have read them, I feel that they should have at least been summarized. whereas I don't think they should be included in their entirety in a Swamp Thing collection, these seven issues (plus the three Super-Team Family stories) would make a dandy little trade paperback, if for no other reason than to see this example of early Keith Giffen artwork presented on high quality paperstock.
Regarding Swamp Thing continuity specifically, what's in and what's out? Swamp Thing's reversion to Alec Holland (which would include Edward Holland and Ruth Monroe, #23-24) is definitely "Mopee" territory. But the last page of #22 shows Swamp Thing approaching his brother's house, so that's gotta be out, too. Honestly, I would not object to cutting #21-22 in their entirety. #20 ends with the Swamp Thing in Florida, and Matt Cable and Abby Arcane thinking he is dead. (Bolt, too, for that matter but we've seen the last of him.) That way, he only has to get from Florida back to Louisiana, rather than from Arizona (#21) or Oregon (#24). Hell, although I do admire Nestor Redondo's art, you'd probably be best served by skipping from #10 (the last Berni Wrightson issue, Louisiana) directly into SotST #1.
Tracy will get caught up with Swamp Thing #14-24 this weekend, but I'm gong to leave it up to her whether or not she wants to read Challengers of the Unknown #83-87.
I JUST FOUND OUT that, in 2018, "DC decided to split up the ‘Bronze Age Omnibus’ into smaller books and add further content. In addition to the material collected in the Omnibus, these volumes include Challengers of the Unknown #81-87 and The Brave and the Bold #122 and #176 [and DC Comics Presents #8]. Vol. 2 also prints the script and unfinished art from the unpublished Swamp Thing #25 (1976) for the first time."
I have B&B #122 and #176 but I sure would like to read DCCP #8 and the script for #25 (plus I wouldn't mind "upgrading" those Challs issues, either). Tomorrow is FCBD. Maybe I'll check to see if the tpb of v2 is in stock.
"Honestly, I would not object to cutting #21-22 in their entirety."
From Wikipedia: "In issue #6 [of Saga of the Swamp Thing], editor Len Wein declared, in response to a published letter, that Alec never had a brother and that every Swamp Thing series story after issue #21 of the original series never happened.
There is no outrage from the community about the nuclear waste dumped and poisoning their part of planet Earth. There is no outrage for these gross experiments on children. No demand for clean-up or justice. Two grieving boys who have supernatural powers left on the edge of the swamp, alone, near monsterous creatures changed by the poison, to grow up abandoned. What could possibly be wrong with that?!
Jeff of Earth-J said:
ISSUES #14-18: The next five-issue chunk is written by Dave Michelinie and, per Tracy's request, I will be dividing it up into five bite-size chunks.
#14: "Dawn on the bayou: a pale sun crowns twisted treetops with halos of tentative gold, leaving little light to spill through the gnarled branches, to touch the rot and the slime below... rot and slime--and a brooding moss-draped mockery known simply as... the Swamp Thing."
With that bit of narration, David Michelinie's tenure begins with a story that serves as a metaphor for just about any kind of intolerance you'd care to put in its place. Years ago, outside the town of Prelude, LA, hermit Jeb Wheeler witnessed someone dumping a suitcase into the swamp. He fishes it out of the water to find three children inside, a little girl and her two younger brothers. Their skin is white, but not Caucasian white... fishbelly white. they also a sunken eyes, practically no noses, pointy ears and webbed fingers. The girl's name is Delta, and her brothers are Seth and Jeremy. They are also empathic, telekinetic and can manipulate nature to a degree.
Everything is fine until Mr. Wheeler dies and the children come into town. As the story opens, they are being chased by a mob led by Rafe Taggert. Swamp Thing routes them, but the townsfolk blame the children for the mutations running rampant through the swamp (which are caused by radioactive waste, not the bio-restorative formula it is established). the children have previously made friends with Jimbo, the son of Prelude's mayor. Taggert organizes another mob, this time equipped with flame throwers. They set fire to the the Wheelers' house, but only Jimbo, who had come to warn them, was inside at the time. Delta sacrifices herself to save Jimbo's life and, in "gratitude," he promises to build a cabin for the two boys somewhere out in the swamp.
This piece of nonsense was hard to plow through. It took me a while to get through it because the dialog was atrocious. I kept losing interest.
Matt Cable and Abigail have returned to the swamp to find Alec. Except they have little opportunity to talk with him or present their hopes to help him. Of course we have to have a misguided priest, the occult, and a demon.
It's as if even the writer does not want to hash out the muck of Cable's failure to the Hollands.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
#15: Cable, Abby, Bolt and Luke (their guide) search for the Swamp Thing, who has just been struck by lightning. He is found by Father Jonathon Bliss, who helps him back to the ruins of his church. His church, he explains, was attacks by vandals, "vandals" he admits who were once his congregation. All is not as it seems (as you may have guessed), but Swamp Thing's first clue should have been that all the crosses in the church are hung upside-down. Bliss has turned to black magic (and a demon named Nebiros) to bring about Armageddon so that god can take over and sort it all out. Nebiros' physical body cannot exist in this plane, so his plan is to take over the Swamp Thing's.
Cable, Abby and Luke (Bolt has gone off on his own by this point) see Swamp thing outside the church and approach him for a reunion. It is not Alec Holland's mind in the Swamp thing's body at this point, though; it is Nebiros'. Holland's consciousness is in a soul jar nearby, and the first thing Nebiros does is to extract Luke's soul, killing him. Cable breaks the jar, holland's mind returns to Swamp thing's body and Nebiros inhabits the priest. Bliss's body cannot stand the stress, however, and quickly burns out. Outside, Cable, Abby and Swamp Thing see Bolt's body dangling beneath a helicopter.
"C'mon Abby, if that freaky helicopter that snatched Bolt*..."
* as shown last issue
Oy! The writers manage to stick one of these in every issue, as if readers are too dumb to know that action happens in every issue. The * is dumb. Annoying. * Stay tuned for more opinions.
Mysterious feet appear on the beach where Swamp Thing has washed ashore. Oh, Nestor, seriously? Those are the ugliest shoes I've ever seen in a comic book. Next, in a big panel, Laganna is revealed as a beautiful woman dressed in a few pieces of cloth and gold, and a white pair of open-toed granny orthopedic shoes. Hideous. Maybe Nestor decided they were the most practical option for a jungle camp of outcasts.
Once again, Cable, Abby, and ST are in the same issue but that story is not making much progress.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
#16: Swamp Thing is knocked unconscious and we are treated to a flashback in which Cable, somehow, managed to track the helicopter to an island in the Caribbean, coincidentally the same one Swamp Thing is about to wash up on as fate (or David Michelinie) would have it. He awakens in the custody of the People's Liberation Army of the island of Kala Pago. One of the generals, Adam Rook, has a long boring history as a mercenary and initially came to the island to fight for the other side. the other general, who introduces herself as "Laganna, the high priestess of the people off Sepp," has come dressed for sword and sorcery cosplay. Her plan is to use her talisman to raise an army of zombies.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on Kala Pago, Bolt is being held hostage by a mysterious man in a wheelchair and a scientist by the name of Dr. Pretorius. I can only assume "Dr. Pretorius" is a pseudonym; he looks just like Emil Hamilton, later of S.T.A.R. Labs. (I like to think he is Emil Hamilton.) The attack by the P.L.A. fails, Rook dies on-panel and Lasanna off. At the very end, the mysterious mastermind holding Bolt hostage is revealed to me... Nathan Ellery of the Conclave!
ISSUE #18: Another story with a book of the occult and demons. Michelinie finally wrote some dialog that I can identify with instead of mad ravings of the power-hungry.
"No, mother, his fear killed him. His fear of change. He couldn't understand that the old has to make way for the new, whether in seasons, ideas, or people. It's a fact of life."