Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

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SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #13-19: #13 provides a soft ending to the arc that has been building since issue #1 (that is, it brings to an end the main plot, but there are still some unresolved sub-plots). #14-15 are a two-part fill-in. With issue #16, the series begins to coalesce into what it will be remembered for. Stephen Bissette and John Totleben join the team. A waitress with two black streaks in her otherwise white hair is shown working at the local diner. Her nametag reads “Abby.” In issue #17, Alec is reunited with Abby and Matt, and he learns that they are married. Cliffhanger: Arcane!

For issue #18 the “Dreaded Deadline Doom” must have struck. A four page framing sequence surrounds a reprint of Arcane’s last appearance. For issue #19, Bissette is credited as “co-plotter.” I wonder why writer Martin Pasko left the series…? Apparently, bringing Abby and Matt back into the story was Pasko’s idea because it happened while he was writer. Then again, it may have been dictated by editor Len Wein. It just seems odd to me that Pasko left without wrapping up the Sunderland Corporation arc.

#16 is not necessarily a good jumping ion point for new readers (I know, because that’s where I tried to retroactively “jump on” years ago), but I think if one were to follow the story from Abigail’s point of view, skipping from #20 of the original series to #16 of the new series makes a certain kind of sense. Writers often plot to their artist’s strengths, and #16 contains a number of creepy monsters, Stephen Bisette’s forte. As I already mentioned, Bissette is credited as co-plotter of #19 and it has a lot more creepy monsters, so draw what conclusions you will from that.

NEXT: Alan Moore

Red Thorn Vol. 2: Mad Gods and Scotsmen
David Baillie, writer; Meghan Hetrick, artist; Ryan Kelly, guest artist (Issue #12); Nick Filardi, colorist
Vertigo Comics, 2017

Baillie and Hetrick's Scottish fantasy concludes in this second six-issue collection. It may feel a bit rushed at times, but at least a lot happens as everything gets resolved. Red Thorn proves to be far more altruistic than he appeared, ultimately sacrificing himself to defeat the god Belatucadros and restore the balance between Earth and the Otherworld. Isla's fate (and that of her sister Lauren) prove far more interesting than they first appeared. Everything is resolved in a satisfying way, and the possibility of sequels is left open. Ryan Kelly's guest artist spot is handled in the time-honored way of giving him all the scenes in one of the worlds in one issue, while Hetrick illustrates the other. Rather than playing up the artistic contrast he chose to use an illustration style similar to Hetrick's, so all of the characters are on-model.

POGO: Animal Comics #22. Howland and Churchy enlist Pogo in a scheme to break Albert of the habit of leaving “see-gar” butts all over the swamp.

SKY MASTERS OF THE SPACE FORCE: After a two-week sequence about the base’s armadillo mascot to lighten the mood, the next story deals with a Russian defector. The Russian is a space pilot and will arrive in a stolen missile, but what is actually inside the capsule surprises everyone.

THE SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #20: Alan Moore comes aboard with a story appropriately titled “Loose Ends.” In it, Moore writes supporting characters Liz and Dennis out of the story in order to play up Abby and Matt. Rereading this issue I am reminded of just how good of a writer Alan Moore is, not just his prose in general but his dialogue as well. His Swamp Thing is the first comic I remember being truly impressed with the realistic dialogue.

Off Topic: In one scene, the 1973 donald Sutherland movie Don’t Look Now is referenced. Every time I read this issue I make a mental not to see this movie, but I still haven’t done so. Any opinions about it?

It is in issue #21, “Anatomy Lesson”, that Alan Moore redefines what the Swamp Thing is and always has been. It’s a pivotal issue and a good jumping on point. Consequently, #20 is often left out of various reprint projects. That is a mistake. At the very least, ending as it does with the Swamp Thing’s “death”, it is a good place to end the arc begun in issue #1. (It’s not, really; that’s issue #21.)

NEXT: “Anatomy Lesson”

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Off Topic: In one scene, the 1973 donald Sutherland movie Don’t Look Now is referenced. Every time I read this issue I make a mental not to see this movie, but I still haven’t done so. Any opinions about it?

Decent movie but I recommend not seeing it. There are just some things you can't unsee.

Don't Look Now, IMO, is a must see movie. Like Hitchcock's The Birds, it is based upon a short story by  Daphne du Maurier. 

Detective 445 said:

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Off Topic: In one scene, the 1973 donald Sutherland movie Don’t Look Now is referenced. Every time I read this issue I make a mental not to see this movie, but I still haven’t done so. Any opinions about it?

Decent movie but I recommend not seeing it. There are just some things you can't unsee.

You've (both) convinced me. Look for my thoughts on Don't Look Now in a future post to the "Movies I Have Seen Lately" discussion.

THE SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #21: As I indicated yesterday, “The Anatomy Lesson” is both a beginning and an end. On the one hand, it caps off the “Sunderland” plotline that has been lurking behind the scenes since issue #1. On the other, it redefines what the Swamp Thing is, and sets the direction for the character which continues to this day. Alan Moore brings in Jason Woodrue (a.k.a. the Floronic Man) to serve as POV character for new readers: “There… gray, brittle, tattooed by frost, quite dead… this was my first glimpse of the… Swamp Thing.” The importance of this issue cannot be overstated.

I read the first two issues of the new Marvel Two-In-One series starring the Thing and the Human Torch and they were really good. Ben and Johnny play off each other well as can be expected. Here we see two Marvel legends at a crossroads, trying to figure out their place in a FF-less MU, besides just joining whatever team is available.

Another pivotal character is Doctor Doom or the Infamous Iron Man, if you like. He still has contempt for these two but is trying to overcome it. Or is he?

The second issue has Googam, Son of Goom in it so that's a plus! Put him in a book regularly!

What I liked most is the portrayal of Reed Richards, once in a holographic message then in a flashback. It's the most human Reed we've seen in awhile. Strangely there's little mention of Sue.

Now that Disney bought Fox films, we should see the Fantastic Four together again soon but this book is a neat placeholder until that time.

SWAMP THING WINTER SPECIAL #1: If you’ve been reading my recent posts to this thread you known I am in the midst of a lengthy Swamp Thing reading project. That has really put me in the mood to read this special, featuring, as it does, Len Wein’s final work on the character he co-created. The Tom King/Jason Fabok story was nothing to sneeze at, either. Speaking of which, I enjoyed the moodiness of it, but I’m not sure I fully understood it.

The unfinished Wein/Jones collaboration was their ninth (including two “Convergence” issues and a recent six-issue mini-series) and was intended to be the start of an ongoing. Isn’t Kelly Jones the most appropriate artist for Swamp Thing short of Berni Wrightson? He finished illustrating Wein’s story but Wein died before he could script it, so it is presented her as is… along with the plot itself. I usually am not too interested in reading writer’s plot, but in this case it’s interesting to compare the visuals Wein called for with what Jones delivered.

If nothing else, it has put me in the mood to read the other six (or eight) Wein/Jones Swamp Things. Such a shame that we’ll never get to read what Wein had planned next.

INFINITY COUNTDOWN: ADAM WARLOCK #1: See “Infinity Countdown Begins” discussion for my comments.

The Walking Dead Vol. 27: The Whisperer War 

The inevitable war with the Whisperers. They attack in a way that is consistent with how they operate, so it's not the overt battle we've seen before in the series. Strategy points to Dwight for figuring out a way to use that against them.

So, I bought and read the Multiversity Trade.

Pretty much what I expected it to be considering it's a Grant Morrison book. I DID really like the Pax Americana issue and that's probably because it featured the Charlton characters, which I love!

Not crazy about the ending, though. Just overall a weird reading experience and it felt incomplete.

The Fuse Vol. 3: Perihelion
Antony Johnston, writer; Justin Greenwood, artist; Shari Chankhamma, colorist; Ryan Ferrier, letterer
Image Comics, 2016

Perihelion is the day when the Fuse space station is closest to the Sun, a huge celebration (think Carnival) traditionally celebrated by most of the population. So it's "all hands on deck" for the police, and Ristovych and Dietrich find themselves on the run all day long. They catch two homicides--their usual beat--plus crowd control and a hostage situation. They manage to catch a serial killer, and save his latest victim while they're at it. At the very end we are reminded that Dietrich is still working on his own agenda, to find Yvonne Dietrich. The collection also includes Tabloid: A Tale From Fuse, which was originally published in one-page installments as a back-up story in issues #7-12 of The Fuse.

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