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Saga of the Swamp Thing Book 4


Written by Alan Moore; Art by Stephen Bissette, Rick Veitch, John Totleben, Stan Woch, Tatjana Wood and others; Original Series Cover Art by Stephen Bissette & John Totleben

Feb 08, 2011 Alan Moore Bookmark and Share

The latest Saga of the Swamp Thing hardcover edition (issues #43-50) would have easily received a higher rating if it weren’t for the faded newspaper-style paper quality. I know it’s recycled paper stock, but the colors and inks make this seem like a book that’s been sitting on my shelf for a few years instead of a brand-new edition. Regardless of this fact, Book 4 is a riveting and metaphysical trip. It’s also the culmination of Alan Moore’s year-long “American Gothic” storyline that he built up in previous volumes.

Swamp Thing unearths his Buddhism-tinged history with “The Green” when he confronts The Parliament of Trees. He also battles the Brujeria, a clandestine foe that was pulling the strings in Book 3. The team-up between Swamp Thing and Hellblazer’s John Constantine is pretty damn inspired, and the mid-‘80s Crisis of Infinite Earths tie-in manages to avoid clunkiness and be quite philosophical. DC’s supernatural superheroes (such as The Phantom Stranger, The Spectre, and The Demon) show up as well. These issues proved as a driving catalyst for the more mature themes of DC’s Vertigo line.

Some of the hard-hitting social critique of earlier issues is pushed aside here for more of an over-arching apocalyptic through-line. Thankfully, fans of that type of storytelling can grasp onto Issue #45 (“Ghost Dance”). In that story, Swamp Thing steps out of the lime light and Moore focuses on two couples in San Miguel, California trapped in the haunted, six-acre mansion of Amy Cambridge, a long-deceased family member of the Cambridge Repeater Rifle designer’s family. The obvious gun control slant of the narrative was not taken kindly in certain areas of gun-crazy America. Well done, Moore.

If you want to seek out excellent examples of the comic book medium, pick up Saga of the Swamp Thing. Moore’s prose is elegant, throught-provoking, haunting, and even funny at times. Also, the art by Stephen Bissette, Rick Veitch, John Totleben, Stan Woch, Tatjana Wood, and others is eye-poppingly good. The panels are as fluid as a fetid bog and ridiculously inventive. Too bad Book 4 is presented on such flimsy and faded paper.( /

Author rating: 8/10

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February 8th 2011

Your reading of this volume of Swamp Thing can be tremendously enhanced by following along with the annotations at

February 22nd 2011

Agreed. The only thing wrong with book 4 is it’s somewhat diminished paper quality. It’s a letdown, sure, but certainly not a dealbreaker; especially for those fans who’ve already plunked down roughly $75 for the 1st 3 volumes. It’s just a little sad to see the physical quality of the books diminish as the series goes on. I hope book 5 fixes 4’s problems instead of exacerbating them.

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