Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Classics - Swamp Thing Annual #2

   Before the creation of the Swamp Thing, most of DC's so-called horror comics were pretty tame.

   The original stories by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson pushed the horror envelope, and then in the '80s Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and John Totleben pushed horror comics into new and frightening territory.

   This massive annual from 1985 is a great example of the power of that creative team. It takes the Swamp Thing on a quest that carries him to the gates of heaven, the depths of hell and all points in-between. He hopes to rescue his beloved Abigail - her body still lives, bot her soul has been cast into hell.

   During the journey he runs into a pantheon of supernatural characters in the DC universe, including Deadman, the Phantom Stranger, the Spectre and the Demon.

   Each is reimagined into a much more fearful or mysterious figure than ever before. Moore manages to pump more life into them in a few pages that most writers managed in years of stories.

   For the first time in a mainstream comic, we get a look at the true horrors of hell - and the Swamp Thing gets to see the suffering of some of his past opponents.

   The art is simply stunning. Bissette and Totleben create some amazing compositions here, but always with a gritty, real-world edge to the characters and settings. They were born to create stunning vistas and compelling stories - and it's amazing to see how effortlessly they go from horror to scenes of gentle beauty.

   After this story, none of these characters were ever the same. A door to a more adult, genuinely unsettling horror had been opened, and it was never to be closed again.

Grade: A


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An amazing issue...