"All good things must come to an end", as the old saying goes. Though I must say that I am saddened to get to the end of Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing run. Much like the titular muck encrusted monstrosity, I feel like I have come to the end of a perilous journey, fraught with complexities, intense emotions, and a deep feeling of sorrow by the time that it’s done.
I’m saddened to see that there probably won’t be anything that’ll ever come remotely close to the quality of Alan’s strange little run on this swamp creature, despite how hard many people try. There will be good runs after Alan’s on Swamp Thing, yes. There will even be the occasional great run after Moore’s Swamp Thing. But I find it highly implausible that there will be anything quite like Alan’s Swamp Thing, as hard as they try to recreate it. I don’t believe there will ever be another story quite like "The Anatomy Lesson", or another Pog, or another Monkey King. I could go on.
Sadly, the sixth book/volume is not quite as strong as the other five. Alan was just beginning work on the seminal Watchmen, and one could definitely tell that Alan’s focus was there more than it was on Swamp Thing. Yet, Alan still manages to do what he can with what he has left, and plays in the science fiction realm, which is my favorite genre. Alan’s knack for toying with conventions plays into this volume as well, but it isn’t quite as strong in this volume. The stories didn’t quite have the flare or touching sincerity of some of the other stories that I mentioned before, though I was quite interested to see Alan bring back more obscure characters like Adam Strange and Hawkman in this volume. As I’ve mentioned before, I often enjoy when writers bring back older, obscure characters. It brings a unique touch to the series and offers new, fresh ideas to be explored with these characters, and to also expose these characters to new audiences.
Rich Veitch’s art still remains to be a worthy successor to Bissette and Totleben’s superbly unsettling artwork, with Alfredo Alcala providing inks that are both respectful to Veitch yet allusive to the classic style of this series. But the art also takes a much more psychedelic tone as well, going into some completely new directions in terms of the draughtsmanship. Bissette and Totleben did return for a few issues, with Bissette even writing an issue, which he did a very good job with. Veitch would also write an issue as well, which was also pretty good.
Aside from this volume being not as strong as the others, there are still some strong moments that are worth mentioning. Some of my favorite moments include when Abby reunites with her father, the appearances of Adam Strange and Hawkman, when Swamp Thing and Adam Strange bid farewell to each other, when Abby and Swamp Thing finally reunite, and the end of the volume, where Swamp Thing muses about his place in the world. There simply couldn't have been another ending.
Despite this volume not being as strong, Alan waited until the end to pull no punches, writing a heartfelt, tender conclusion to the saga of the titular Swamp Thing. It’s one of the few comics that actually had me feeling emotional during the end. Of course, we never like when a story that we love ends, but Swamp Thing felt like more than just a story that I enjoyed. It was a journey that Alan, Swampy, and I took and it was fun while it lasted...but now it’s all over, and now I must find something else to read.
I’m also saddened by the end as I find that it’s the end of a part of Alan that I wish that we could’ve seen more of. The dreamer who would have completely reinvigorated American comics and sent its properties off into an entirely new direction. We lost the optimistic Alan, who so believed that his beloved medium could be more than the limitations that were placed on it, and gave everything that he had in order to do just that. Though I suppose there is a sweetness to it in that Alan did change American comics, as well as comics in general and that his efforts did come to be worthwhile. But of course, I am still saddened that this retrospective journey is at an end.
But, as one blue demigod put it, nothing ever truly ends, does it?
Alan Moore's Saga of The Swamp Thing Book 6 collects issues 57-64, and can be found on Amazon, Comixology, or your Local Comic Shop.
Britton Summers spent much of his childhood collecting action figures and toys, and through that hobby discovered a love for comic books that's continued to this day. His love of storytelling led him to want to become a writer, so he is currently in college pursuing a degree in Journalism and Broadcasting. Britton lives in Oklahoma with his parents, dog Alexis, and cat Jerry.