Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Book Review: The Saga of Swamp Thing Book 1 by A. Moore et al.

The Saga of Swamp Thing Book One written by Alan Moore with art by Stephen Bissette, John Totleben, Dan Day, and Rick Veitch

Alec Holland was a scientist working in the Louisiana swamps trying to invent a special formula to transform deserts into forests. Naturally, a bad guy wants the formula and bombs out Hollands' lab. Holland is coated in the formula but falls into the swamp. Soon enough, Swamp Thing rises out of the swamp. He's a humanoid vegetation horror.

Soon to be legendary for writing Watchmen, Alan Moore took over writing the DC Comic Saga of the Swamp Thing with issue 20 in the early 1980s. He had a plan for the creature, so his first issue ties up loose plot threads and ends with the death of Swamp Thing. What better way to reset a character than to kill him?  Moore reinvents Swamp Thing's identity in an interesting and creative way. Swamp Thing has a lot more character depth than a reader would expect.

One might guess that Swamp Thing is some environmental superhero. While he does fight evil, Swamp Thing doesn't wear tights or have big fight scenes. He's more like Frankenstein's monster shambling through situations where he rights the wrongs he finds. The tone is filled with madness and horror and demons (some literal demons!). The environment can be just as much a problem as a thing to be protected. The book isn't uplifting but is fascinating. It's at least as much a horror book as a superhero book.

The art is very evocative and supports the tone well. The writing is very poetic, giving a gothic horror flavor. I enjoyed the book a lot and will read more of Moore's run on Swamp Thing.

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