Volume 2

Covering the first 50 issues (1982-1986)…

Swamp Thing was resurrected in a 2nd series in an attempt to capitalise on the imminent Wes Craven feature film. Martin Pasko wrote the first 19 issues before being replaced by Alan Moore who, in his 2nd issue, changed the origin of the character and greatly opened up the possibilities of the series. Backed primarily by the artistic team of Steve Bissette and John Totleben, Moore’s stories brought the comic critical acclaim. When the Comics Code Authority rejected issue #29, it was decided that Swamp Thing would be published without the approval of the Code from #31 onwards, making it the first mainstream comic series to do so. These first 50 issues would introduce the concepts of the Green and the Parliament of Trees, as well as providing the first appearance of the character John Constantine.

The series won multiple awards in 1985 & 1986 with the establishment of Moore, Bissette, and Totleben as the creative team.

Jack Kirby Awards:

  • 1985 Best Single Issue for Swamp Thing Annual #2.
  • 1985 Best Cover for Swamp Thing #34 by Steve Bissette and John Totleben.
  • 1985 Best Art Team – Steve Bissette and John Totleben, for Swamp Thing.
  • 1985 & 1986 Best Writer – Alan Moore, for Swamp Thing.
  • 1985 & 1986 Best Continuing Series.

Eagle Awards:

  • 1986 Favourite Writer (both American & British Sections) – Alan Moore.
  • 1986 Favourite Comic Book (American Section).
  • 1986 Favourite Comic Cover (American Section) for Swamp Thing #34.
  • 1986 Favourite Supporting Character (American Section) – John Constantine, Swamp Thing.

Appearances that I consider to be fairly minor are indented. The below titles were published by DC Comics unless otherwise noted.

The Saga of Swamp Thing Annual #1
“Annual”, Early 1982
Wes Craven, Bruce Jones [w], Mark Texeira, Tony DeZuniga [p], Richard Hescox [c]
Scientists Alec Holland and his sister Linda work on a secret formula that encourages plant growth. Anton Arcane’s henchmen attack the facility, killing Linda, while Alec is transformed into Swamp Thing. Swamp Thing is aided by agent Alice Cable in finding and confronting Arcane. Arcane drinks some of the formula and is transformed into a wolf-like creature before battling, and being killed by, Swamp Thing.
An adaptation of the 1982 film, this is obviously not in continuity. Among other changes, Swamp Thing’s origin story has been retold with Linda as Alec’s sister, and Cable as a female love interest – an amalgam of Matt Cable and Abby Arcane. Abby and Swamp Thing make mention of a film being made about him in #94 (Apr. 1990) and #117 (Mar. 1992).

House Of Mystery (1951) #304
“The Night Has Eyes” (pp. 1-12), May 1982
Bruce Jones [w], Ernie Colón [p]
The vampire Andrew Bennett is staked when trying to stop Mary, Queen of Blood from kidnapping an industrialist’s grand-daughter. Rendered immobile, Andrew is placed inside a carnival funhouse until he can hypnotise a teenager into removing the stake. He flies to the Ferris Wheel as a bat and prevents the child from being transported by Mary’s gang. The Ferris Wheel is destroyed and casts the shadow of a crucifix on the funhouse, causing most of Mary’s vampiric gang to be killed.
The funhouse contains a fake Swamp Thing to scare visitors.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #1
“What Peace There May be in Silence”, May 1982
Martin Pasko [w], Tom Yeates [p]
Swamp Thing recalls the story of his transformation and recent events that involved his hand being severed by hunters. Swampy investigates the sound of gunfire and finds a man who has shot his wife and is accusing their young daughter of being demonic. Swamp Thing foils the man’s attack, killing him in the process, and takes the silent girl (Casey Clancy) into the town of Limbo, NC. Swampy causes a road accident and is set upon by the locals. Meanwhile, Harry Kay, who has arrived in Limbo seeking Swamp Thing, notifies his employer that a tissue analysis of Swampy’s severed hand indicates that Holland’s body is deteriorating.
For the first 13 issues of this series, the Swamp Thing story is backed by one about the Phantom Stranger. This issue also marks the first mention of Lizabeth Tremayne, a long-term character who first visually appears in issue #3.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #2
“Something to Live For”, June 1982
Martin Pasko [w], Tom Yeates [p]
Casey is kidnapped by Harry Kay while Swamp Thing fights the townsfolk. Swampy is led into a trap and is captured by Kay’s boss Grasp, who works for the Sunderland Corporation. Grasp threatens to kill Casey if Swamp Thing does not recite the biorestorative formula, which Grasp desires for economic and medical reasons. Grasp eventually orders Casey’s execution but the girl uses telekinesis to evade Kay and free Swamp Thing. The escapees start a fire in the lab and flee, evading Grasp and catching a train to Rosewood (the scene of some recent murders). At the end of the issue, Kay miraculously emerges from the lab fire.
The cover of this issue is a photographic still from the feature film.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #3
“A Town Has Turned to Blood”, July 1982
Martin Pasko [w], Tom Yeates [p]
Swamp Thing and Casey are attacked by vampires on the freight train and are separated. Swampy meets Larry Childress and his family of vampire hunters, the sole survivors of the town of Rosewood. During daylight, as the vampires sleep concealed within arcade game machines, Larry destroys the dam and floods the town, sacrificing his life and that of his son. Swamp Thing manages to get the young Bobby Childress to safety before continuing his journey in search of Casey. Meanwhile, Liz Tremayne, a journalist who has authored a popular book about Swamp Thing, arrives in a nearby Arkansas town to investigate a spate of child murders.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #4
“In the White Room”, August 1982
Martin Pasko [w], Tom Yeates [p]
After seeing a news story about Casey, Swamp Thing travels to Pineboro, Arkansas. Meanwhile, children’s entertainer Barnard “Uncle Barney” Stryker is imprisoned on suspicion of being the Pineboro Child-Stalker. It is later revealed that Stryker is possessed by a child murdering demon who he had summoned in a deal that would make him more successful. The demon kills the now-useless Stryker and possesses the the body of Liz Tremayne’s producer Paul Feldner. Casey escapes from a children’s home and is kidnapped by Feldner. Swamp Thing intervenes and offers himself as a host to the demon, before trapping himself in a refrigerator and destroying it. Liz eventually finds the survivors, and takes the injured Swamp Thing to the labs of her employer’s parent company, the Sunderland Corporation.
Reprinted in The Best Of DC #35 (Apr. 1983).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #5
“The Screams of Hungry Flesh”, September 1982
Martin Pasko [w], Tom Yeates [p]
Paul Feldner and Casey are missing after the events of the previous issue. Swamp Thing is amazingly healed of his injuries in a Sunderland clinic by Dr. Dennis Barclay. Swampy investigates some agonised moaning and discovers how the clinic’s miraculous healing really works: a patient’s injuries are psionically transferred to an artificially created human ‘receptor’, who is kept in a semi-comatose state in the lab’s basement. Having discovered the secret, Swamp Thing, Dennis and Liz attempt to flee but are stopped by Harry Kay, who has survived his burns through the use of a receptor. Kay and the guards are set upon by the receptors while Swampy, Dennis and Liz escape in an ambulance.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #6
“Sins on the Water”, October 1982
Martin Pasko [w], Tom Yeates [p]
Dennis poses as a doctor and gains access to Casey’s mother’s hospital room. Before she dies, she reveals that Casey’s name is actually Karen and gives Dennis a locket to help him locate and kill Casey. Swampy, Dennis and Liz are ambushed by Sunderland staff. Liz is captured and taken to a cruise ship where the Sunderland Executive Committee (including General Sunderland) is meeting, and where a dangerous tentacled creature is lurking. Swampy and Dennis stowaway on the boat. Swampy is attacked but defeats a tentacled monster, while Dennis locates a drugged Liz. Dennis and Liz attend a masquerade ball in costume and, when the guests are asked to unmask, discover that many of those on board are not human. Meanwhile, Kay’s head henchman Milton Grossman telepathically locates Casey and Feldner (who seems terrified and unable to escape Casey). Milton’s attack is repelled by Casey’s telekinetic abilities.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #7
“I Have Seen the Splintered Timbers of a Hundred Shattered Hulls”, November 1982
Martin Pasko [w], Tom Yeates [p]
Many of the ship’s guests begin to change into tentacled creatures. Kay discovers the costumed Dennis and Liz but lets them live. Swamp Thing finds a huge tentacled monster who communicates telepathically that it is an alien creature that merged with a virus spilled from a sunken Sunderland freighter. It tries to absorb Swamp Thing but he fends it off with his sap-blood and meets up with Liz and Dennis. They hatch a plan after an analysis of Swampy’s blood reveals that the bacteria that is killing him also kills the alien micro-organisms. Swampy dives to the bottom of the ocean where the alien monster is creating a spacecraft out of wrecked ships and sets off an explosion, which disperses a cloud of antigen and destroys all of the alien micro-organisms. Liz and Dennis escape in time on a lifeboat while Swampy washes up on an island. Meanwhile, Casey and Feldner (who is under her telepathic control) disable Milton Grossman and steal his car.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #8
“Here’s Lookin’ At You, Kid”, December 1982
Martin Pasko [w], Tom Yeates [p]
Swampy, Liz and Dennis wash up on a Caribbean island and find themselves in scenes from films such as King Kong, Citizen Kane and Casablanca. They eventually learn that the strange events are related to the presence of several Vietnam war veterans who can create physical matter using only their minds due to exposure to an experimental defoliant. After a disagreement and accidental shooting, the veterans start losing control of their mental constructs and we learn that the “island” is actually just the wreckage of the veterans’ ship. An injured veteran named Reef constructs a helicopter and helps Swampy and co. to escape before the “island” disintegrates. Meanwhile, Feldner tries to escape but is set alight by Casey.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #9
“Prelude to Holocaust”, January 1983
Martin Pasko [w], Jan Duursema, Tom Mandrake [p], Tom Yeates [c]
Kay takes Feldner’s burned body to a Sunderland lab to be healed using receptor technology, and we learn more details of the attack on Feldner: Casey, a born mute, telepathically explains to Kay that she is gaining strength from Sunderland employee David Marx, who she kidnaps and takes to Germany. Meanwhile, Reef dies and the helicopter disintegrates, but Swampy, Liz and Dennis survive. They read that Feldner has been burned and travel to Dennis’ old clinic in hopes of finding him but instead discover that “Kay” is actually Helmut Kripptmann, a Nazi war criminal. Kay and Milton appear and, when Swampy and co. refuse to co-operate with them, Milton uses psionic powers to make Swamp Thing attack Liz, Dennis and the recovered Feldner. Elsewhere, General Sunderland hires a man named Ellenbeck to kill Swampy and to dig up dirt on Kay and Milton.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #10
“Number of the Beast”, February 1983
Martin Pasko [w], Tom Yeates [p]
As Liz, Dennis and Feldner struggle against the choking roots of a manipulated Swamp Thing, Kay (hereafter referred to as Kripptmann) explains that Milton is a mutant with psychic abilities but that using those powers causes him physical deformities. Swamp Thing breaks free but agrees to help Kripptmann and Milton and they all travel to Germany in pursuit of Casey, who plans to recover the magic pendulum of Nazi occultist Ernst Von Ruhnstedt to bring about another holocaust. They find Casey (now able to fly and breathe fire) just in time to see her kill Marx and resurrect the Dachau concentration camp and the ghost of Von Ruhnstedt, who explains where she can find the pendulum. Casey escapes, with Swampy and co. surviving the ordeal and Kripptmann revealing that he is a concentration camp survivor. Meanwhile, Ellenbeck explains to General Sunderland that he is Grasp (last seen in issue #2) and agrees to seek out Swamp Thing and others and terminate them.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #11
“Heart of Stone, Feet of Clay”, March 1983
Martin Pasko [w], Tom Yeates [p]
Feldner reveals that Casey is the herald of the Antichrist and is trying to bring about Armageddon. Casey steals the pendulum from the home of Otto Mueller, and a demonic apparition kills the remaining occupant and transforms the house into a fortress. Kripptmann creates a Golem who tracks down and battles Casey. When she escapes, the Golem is drawn to Swampy’s locket and fights him. Liz and Dennis conduct some tests in Munich and discover that Swampy’s terminal bacterial infection was deliberately introduced into his body.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #12
“And Yet It Lives”, April 1983
Martin Pasko [w], Tom Yeates [p]
Swampy defeats the Golem by erasing the first letter carved into its forehead, but they reanimate the Golem again once Swampy has managed to remove the locket. Grasp attacks Liz and Dennis in Munich but lets them escape so they will lead him to the rest of the group. Casey summons Swampy and co. to a synagogue for a battle in which Casey and a number of Kripptman’s men die. The evil entity leaves Casey’s body and possesses Liz, causing a car crash just when Grasp was about to shoot them. It briefly possesses Swampy before everyone is magically transported to the fortress.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #13
“Lambs to the Slaughter”, May 1983
Martin Pasko [w], Tom Yeates [p]
Inside the fortress, Swampy foils Grasp’s attack on Dennis and Kripptmann. Everyone is attacked by a possessed Liz before she and Grasp disappear. The rest of the group experience dangerous visions while looking for Liz. Eventually, an apparition reveals its plan to make Grasp into the new Antichrist and summons a large monster. The Golem locates and attacks Liz on account of her wearing the locket, but Swampy uses the power of the locket to destroy the Golem. Grasp reveals that it was his plan all along to become an Antichrist, but Swampy snatches the pendulum and taps into its power, causing the death of the demonic spirit and Grasp. The survivors (Kripptmann, Dennis, Liz and Swampy) leave Felder in hospital to recover from the car crash before travelling back to the Louisiana swamp so that Swampy can recover.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #14
“Crystal Visions, Shattered Dreams!”, June 1983
Dan Mishkin [w], Bo Hampton, Scott Hampton [p], Tom Yeates [c]
Millionaire scientist Nathaniel Broder seemingly dies in front of his wife Sally during an experiment with silicon, but investigators are later unable to find his body. Workers from the lab dump barrels of silicon waste into the swamp, which causes the water to turn to sand. Swampy encounters and battles a crystalline man whose touch turns animals into crystal. After a chance meeting with Sally Broder, Swamp Thing realises that the crystal man is a confused Nathaniel Broder and tries to help him, but Nathaniel goes crazy with power and turns Swamp Thing to crystal. The Phantom Stranger appears to Sally with some typically enigmatic advice, before Nathaniel tries to transform him too.
The first issue of the series without a Phantom Stranger back-up story.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #15
“Empire Made of Sand”, July 1983
Dan Mishkin [w], Bo Hampton, Scott Hampton [p], Tom Yeates [c]
Back at the lab, Sally Broder and Peter Murdock work on a cure to Nathaniel’s condition by studying the body of the crystalline Swamp Thing. Meanwhile, Nathaniel hatches a plan to tap into the world’s computer networks using his silicon body and internal circuitry. Peter finds out about Nathaniel’s plan and confronts him, only to be attacked. Swamp Thing manages to transform himself back out of his crystal state and battles Nathaniel, giving Peter time to warn Sally before he is killed. Swamp Thing helps Sally escape and, at the insistence of the Phantom Stranger, they carry out a plan to stop Nathaniel permanently, which involves playing a synthesiser at a frequency that causes him to shatter.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #16
“Stopover in a Place of Secret Truths”, August 1983
Martin Pasko [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p], Tom Yeates [c]
Swamp Thing visits Linda Holland’s grave, only to find her coffin empty. Swampy, Kripptmann, Dennis and Liz travel to Washington, D.C. believing that the government is to blame for the missing body and for Swampy’s earlier illness. Swamp Thing leaves the group and saves a child from a car accident. He soon meets Ida Harmon and her family, who are unfazed by his appearance. Swamp Thing is offered a magical mask that allows others to see the beauty of his soul in his outside appearance. Upon donning the mask, Swampy appears as Alec Holland. Several days pass in the strange village (but only hours in the real world) and Alec and Mallory Harmon fall in love. Alec is attacked by the jealous Frank who is also a monster under his mask. After accidentally killing Frank, Swampy reveals his true form to Mallory. The townspeople gather around and explain that Frank was an illusion and the whole situation was a test to see if Swampy would be honest to Mallory. All of the townsfolk wear masks to disguise hideous mutations. Though Swampy passed the test he decides to leave to help his friends. When he has gone, Mallory removes her mask to reveal that she was equally as beautiful underneath it and was truly in love with Swampy. Meanwhile, the rest of the group meet a persistently sleazy man named Dallas in a diner, while General Sunderland calls upon the help of Dwight Wicker at the D.D.I.
Abby (who last appeared in Swamp Thing #18 [Sept. 1975]) is the waitress in the diner, but is not introduced until next issue. It is mentioned that Swamp Thing has previously discovered a device designed to keep people away from the Holland graves, and that details would be in a forthcoming issue of DC Comics Presents. Since that particular issue was never printed, it remains an odd decision for Swampy to open his wife’s casket. This issue reprinted in The Best Of DC #52 (Sept. 1984).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #17
“…And Things That Go Bump in the Night”, October 1983
Martin Pasko [w], John Totleben [p], Stephen Bissette [p, c] Tom Yeates [c]
Swamp Thing is reunited with Abby, who is now married to Matthew Cable. On the way to meeting Liz and Dennis, they are set upon by a monster and Swampy fends it off. They meet up with Matt, now a guilt-ridden alcoholic, who had believed Swampy to be dead. (Matt and Abby had witnessed the destruction of Swampy’s duplicate in Swamp Thing #20 [Jan. 1976]). Matt explains that his old D.D.I boss (Wicker) has subcontracted the Sunderland Corporation to destroy any evidence of Swampy’s existence, and that Matt and Abby have been on the run. When Matt passes out, another monster appears and attacks them. On the way to get medical supplies, Dennis reveals to Liz that he had once administered electroshock treatment to Matt. Matt awakens and explains that Linda’s body had been removed for an autopsy, before he experiences the D.T.s and more strange phenomena occurs. Meanwhile, Kripptmann steps into a bear trap and is captured by Arcane and his Un-Men and brought aboard a strange aircraft.
This issue marks the return of Anton Arcane, who last appeared in Swamp Thing #10 (May/June 1974).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #18
“The Man Who Would Not Die!”, November 1983
Len Wein, Martin Pasko [w], Bernie Wrightson, Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p], Tom Yeates [c]
As Swamp Thing and Matt battle strange monsters, Arcane tells Kripptmann the story of his last encounter with Swampy (Swamp Thing #10, 1974). Matt Cable comes to realise that the strange monsters that have been appearing are physical manifestations of his delusions, and that he can control them to an extent.
This is a reprint of Swamp Thing #10 (May/June 1974), framed in four pages of new material to present it as a flashback.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #19
“And the Meek Shall Inherit…”, December 1983
Martin Pasko [w], Stephen Bissette [w, p], John Totleben [p], Tom Yeates [c]
Matt uses his newfound powers to awaken the injured Swamp Thing and rescue Abby from a fire. Dennis reveals more details to Liz about his time working in the clinic and believes that the electroshock treatment he was ordered to administer on Matt Cable was supposed to induce amnesia. Their car breaks down and Dennis expresses his guilt about what he did to Matt. Arcane explains to Kripptmann that, after he was ripped apart, his Un-Men put him back together and he fashioned himself a new insectoid body. Kripptmann is wrapped up in a cocoon by the Un-Men and Arcane manages to capture Abby and paralyse Swampy. Arcane wants to punish Abby for abandoning the family and so begins to turn her into one of the Un-Men, while attempting to transfer minds with Swampy so that he will have a powerful new body. However, Kripptmann emerges from the cocoon as a partial insect and propels himself into the mind exchange mechanism, killing himself and Arcane before the latter is consumed by his Un-Men. Swampy and Abby escape the aircraft just before it crashes.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #20
“Loose Ends”, January 1984
Alan Moore [w], Dan Day [p], Tom Yeates [c]
Swamp Thing finds the body of Arcane in order to confirm his death. Dennis and Liz, having spent the night in the car, decide to abandon Swampy and the others and make a new life for themselves. While staying in a motel, they run into Dallas (last seen briefly in #16), who offers to get Liz something from their room. The room explodes and Dennis and Liz narrowly avoid the Sunderland agents who appear to check that the ‘hit’ was successful. Matt assures Abby that he has now overcome his delusions and that everything will be okay, but when she has left he drinks again and uses his hallucinations for sexual pleasure. Wicker and Sunderland send an army in to destroy the group, destroying Abby and Matt’s house and eventually shooting Swamp Thing until he appears lifeless.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #21
“The Anatomy Lesson”, February 1984
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p], Tom Yeates [c]
Swamp Thing’s body is taken to Sunderland’s headquarters in Washington where he is examined by Jason Woodrue (a.k.a the Floronic Man), a human/plant hybrid who can control vegetable matter.  Traces of the Biorestorative formula are found within Linda Holland’s exhumed body, but tests find that the chemical has no effect on human tissue.  Woodrue performs an autopsy on Swampy and finds humanlike internal organs that do not actually function.  He comes to the conclusion that, when Holland plunged into the swamp and was consumed by the organisms within it, the plants took on his consciousness and, altered by the formula, grew to form a humanlike body believing itself to be Alec Holland.  Woodrue reports to Sunderland but is fired.  In retaliation, he thaws out Swamp Thing who reads the report and, angered, kills General Sunderland.
Reprinted in The Best Of DC #61 (June, 1985), Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #1 (B&W, Nov. 1996), and in a ‘Millennium Edition’ (Nov. 2000).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #22
“Swamped”, March 1984
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p], Tom Yeates [c]
Abby and Matt find Swamp Thing motionless and rooted to the ground in the swamp, and Woodrue explains to them what Swampy has found out about himself.  Swampy has strange dreams about holding on to his humanity even though he had never truly been human.  Matt continues to drink and have visions, while trying to hide this from Abby.  Through Swamp Thing, Woodrue manages to tap into the plant consciousness of the world and begins to reject the human side of himself.
Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #2 (B&W, Dec. 1996).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #23
“Another Green World”, April 1984
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p], Tom Yeates [c]
Swamp Thing’s consciousness finds peace in the Green, though he senses an unpleasant presence there that he later learns to be Woodrue.  Woodrue begins attacking humans,  then travels to Lacroix, Louisiana and triggers a series of house explosions when he causes indoor plants to begin producing oxygen at an accelerated rate.  When vegetation begins to attack Abby, Swamp Thing awakens and confronts Woodrue.
Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #3 (B&W, Jan. 1997).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #24
“Roots”, May 1984
Alan Moore [w], John Totleben [p], Stephen Bissette [p, c], Tom Yeates [c]
The Justice League watch a video of Woodrue attacking Lacroix.  Woodrue explains that he has increased the world’s oxygen levels, which will kill off the weak and force the survivors to stop using technology lest they trigger further explosions.  As the Justice League debate what to do, Swamp Thing physically battles with Woodrue, breaking his arm.  Swampy then explains that plants and humans need each other and that Woodrue is hurting the Green.  Woodrue, upset and realising his error, disconnects from the green and runs away screaming.  He is later taken off to Arkham Asylum by Superman and Green Lantern.  Swamp Thing expresses to Abby that is beginning to feel more content with his new situation.
Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #4 (B&W, Feb. 1997).  For some reason, reprints of this issue omitted the text from the final panel.  This was finally remedied in the 2012 paperback collection (ISBN:1401220835).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #25
“The Sleep of Reason…”, June 1984
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p]
Jason Blood arrives in Baton Rouge and accurately predicts the bizarre death of a local salesman.  Abby gets a job at Elysium Lawns Center for Autistic children where she meets a disturbed boy named Paul who draws pictures of a monstrous white monkey.  Blood discovers that Paul’s parents were murdered by a demonic being (referred to as Kamara, the Monkey King) who they accidentally summoned through a Ouija board.  The Monkey King visits Paul at Elysium Lawns and proceeds to feed off of the fear of the other children. Meanwhile, Swamp Thing feels uneasy, while tensions continue to rise between Abby and Matt.
Sometimes referred to be the first appearance of John Constantine, whose likeness (or, more accurately, someone who looks like Sting) appears on page 21. He is first properly introduced in #37 (June 1985). Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #5 (B&W, Mar. 1997).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #26
“…A Time of Running…”, July 1984
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p]
Blood meets with Abby and tries to explain the danger that Paul poses.  Abby goes to Elysium Lawns and finds that all of the children are very agitated and drawing pictures of the white monkey.  Abby goes home and fights with Matt, then enlists the help of Swamp Thing to help her watch over the children.  Inside the Centre, the Monkey King is growing powerful as it impersonates each child’s greatest fear and feeds off of their reaction.  Etrigan the Demon appears in order to battle the Monkey King.  Meanwhile, Matt Cable, drunk and regretful of his fight with Abby, decides to drive to the Centre but crashes his car on the way.
Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #6 (B&W, Apr. 1997).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #27
“…By Demons Driven!”, August 1984
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p]
As Etrigan and Swamp Thing battle the Monkey King, Abby flees with Paul.  Etrigan catches up with them and tries to kill Paul to stop the monster but is stopped by Swamp Thing.  While they battle, the Monkey King attacks Abby (appearing to her as a drunken Matt Cable) but is destroyed by Paul whose sudden lack of fear towards the monster renders it powerless.  Before Etrigan leaves, he hints to Abby that a greater evil is behind the appearance of the Monkey King.  Abby chases Etrigan to get further information, but he has already changed back into Jason Blood and is unable to help.  Meanwhile, dying in the wreckage of his car, Matt is visited by a yellow fly who promises to help him live in exchange for something not yet revealed.  At the end of the issue, Matt, now unharmed, picks Abby up in the undamaged car.
Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #7 (B&W, May 1997).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #28
“The Burial”, September 1984
Alan Moore [w], Shawn McManus [p], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [c]
Abby tells Swamp Thing that Matt has changed for the better and that she’s doing well.  Swampy is visited by the ghost of Alec Holland, who leads him to the lab in the swamp where he and Linda were killed.  Swampy has visions of Alec’s death but is unable to intervene.  Alec emerges from the swamp as a ghostly monster, who directs Swampy to Alec’s skeletal remains.  Swamp Thing then buries Alec’s body, laying the spirit to rest.
Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #8 (B&W, June 1997).

DC Sampler (1983) #2-#3
“The Saga of the Swamp Thing”, September 1984
“The Saga of the Swamp Thing”, October 1984
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p]
#2 includes a two-page colour illustration of a swamp (without Swamp Thing), accompanied by text.  #3 includes a three-page illustration cryptically describing Swamp Thing’s origins and some of the events of the series thus far.
These are merely advertisements in DC promotional magazines but I have included them here because the work is original and beautiful.  The pages from #2 were subsequently reprinted in B&W in The Comics Journal #93 (Sept. 1984) and Comics Interview #12 (1984).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #29
“Love and Death”, October 1984
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p]
Matt shows Abby a house he has bought for them, and takes her to the office of his new employer, Blackriver Recorporations, before the couple return home and have sex.  The next day Abby finds a book in the library detailing the grisly murder spree and subsequent death of one of Matt’s co-workers (Sally Parks) who she had recently met.  She suspects that Matt too might actually be dead and has been replaced by somebody else, which would account for his recent change in attitude.  Sickened, she returns home and passes out scrubbing herself bloody with a wire brush.  She awakens and tries to leave the house but is stopped by Matt and the others, who now appear as corpses. Matt reveals that he is actually Abby’s uncle Arcane.
Perhaps initially due to the presence of zombies in the issue, and then definitely due to the allusions to incest in the plot, this issue was rejected by the Comics Code Authority. DC decided to release the title anyway, without the Code’s Stamp of Approval on the cover. Issue #30 was already approved by the CCA but, from #31 onwards, DC no longer sought approval for this title. Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #9 (B&W, July 1997).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #30
“A Halo of Flies”, November 1984
Alan Moore [w], Alfredo Alcala [p], Stephen Bissette [p, c], John Totleben [c]
Arcane recounts his death (in #19 [Dec. 1983]) and journey to a hellish underworld before his return to Earth as a disembodied spirit.  He then summoned the Monkey King and orchestrated Matt Cable’s car accident in order to possess him.  Abby is dragged to hell as shockwaves of evil spread out from the area and cause violent and supernatural events to occur.  Arcane taunts Swamp Thing, who enters the house to find Abby dead.
The last Swamp Thing issue released with the Comics Code approval stamp on the cover. Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #10 (B&W, Aug. 1997). In early versions of this issue in the trade paperback collections, page 12 (which references the upcoming ‘Crisis…’ crossover) is omitted.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #31
“The Brimstone Ballet”, December 1984
Alan Moore [w], Rick Veitch [p], John Totleben [p, c], Stephen Bissette [c]
Arcane, still in possession of Matt Cable’s body and powers, explains to Swamp Thing that he has condemned Abby’s soul to Hell, just as he had helped Sally Parks et al. to escape it.  Swampy flees to the swamp and, empowered by the environment, proceeds to physically beat Arcane.  With Arcane and the evil forces around him weakened, Matt is able to take control over his body again, banishing Arcane back to Hell.  Matt uses his powers to restore Abby physically but finds that her soul is still missing.  Still critically injured from his car crash, Matt is later found unconscious by police as Swamp Thing carries the vegetative Abby away.
The second issue released without the approval of the Comics Code Authority. From now until #56 (Jan. 1987), the cover carried the text ‘Sophisticated Suspense’, denoting that the comic was targeted at mature readers. From #57, the cover explicitly states ‘For Mature Readers’. Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #11 (B&W, Sept. 1997). In early versions of this issue in the trade paperback collections, page 9 (which references the upcoming ‘Crisis…’ crossover) is omitted.

Swamp Thing Annual #2
“Down Amongst The Dead Men”, January 1985
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p]
Swamp Thing travels to Hell to recover Abby’s soul, passing through the Green and into the afterlife.  He meets Deadman in an area reserved for the recently dead, and then the Phantom Stranger.  The Stranger takes Swampy to an aspect of Heaven where they meet Alec Holland, whose soul had found its way there since the burial (in #28).  Swampy and the Phantom Stranger proceed to Hell, where they are temporarily stopped by gatekeeper The Spectre until the Stranger convinces him to let them pass.  The Stranger departs when they reach Hell and meet the demon Etrigan, who agrees to accompany Swamp Thing in exchange for a flower that was picked from Heaven.  Swampy and Etrigan encounter the tormented General Sunderland (killed in #21) and Arcane, and soon Abby.  Etrigan helps Swampy and Abby escape Hell, and Abby awakens back in the swamp unaware of all that has happened.
Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #12 (B&W, Oct. 1997).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #32
“Pog”, January 1985
Alan Moore [w], Shawn McManus [p], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [c]
Small aliens, led by one named Pog, land a large turtle-shaped spacecraft on Earth.  They encounter Swamp Thing and, frightened, knock him unconscious.  When he awakens, Pog and Swampy manage to communicate through drawings.  Pog relates the story of their homeworld, where creatures lived in harmony with each other and their environment until one species decided to enslave or kill all others.  A representative from each surviving species then left their planet in search of a new world in which to reproduce and stave off extinction.  Swampy takes Pog to the city of Baton Rouge to illustrate that Earth too has a destructive dominant species.  Meanwhile, alligator-shaped alien Bartle swims in the swamp but is killed by some of Earth’s alligators who it mistakes for friends.  Swampy and Pog bury Bartle and the aliens decide to leave Earth to find a more hospitable planet.
The issue serves as a tribute to the Walt Kelly comic strip Pogo, with the aliens resembling the swamp-dwelling characters from that series in both name and appearance.  Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #13 (B&W, Nov. 1997).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #33
“Abandoned Houses”, February 1985
Len Wein, Alan Moore [w], Bernie Wrightson, Ron Randall [p], John Totleben [c]
We learn that Matt Cable is now in a coma, while Abby has a strange dream of being in a graveyard.  She meets brothers Cain and Abel, who are guides to, respectively, the houses of Mystery and Secrets.  Abby chooses a tour of the House of Secrets with Abel, who shares with her the story of Alex Olsen (from House of Secrets #92).  He explains that there have been many plant elementals before the Alec Holland Swamp Thing.  Abel attempts to help Abby back to wakefulness with this knowledge intact but is stopped and killed by Cain.  When Abby awakens, she cannot remember the story.
This includes a reprint of House Of Secrets #92 (June/July 1971), framed by 12 pages of new material and a 3 page ‘Special Poster Gallery’ at the end. This issue marks the first mention of the existence of previous Swamp Things, and so establishes a link to the House of Secrets origin story that had previously been considered outside of continuity.  Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #14 (B&W, Dec. 1997).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #34
“Rite of Spring”, March 1985
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p]
Abby visits Matt in hospital and learns that he is not expected to come out of his coma.  She meets with Swamp Thing and admits her feelings for him, which Swampy reciprocates.  At Swampy’s invitation, Abby ingests one of the tubers that grow on him.  As the two embrace, Abby has a psychedelic experience where she is able to see the living world from his perspective.
Reprinted in The Best of DC #71 (Apr. 1986) and Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #15 (B&W, Jan. 1998).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #35
“The Nuke-Face Papers, Part 1”, April 1985
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p]
A radioactive hobo referred to as Nukeface travels from Blossomville, PA to Louisiana in search of a stash of toxic waste that he seems to be addicted to.  He meets another transient and accidentally kills him after offering him some of his poisonous drink.  Wallace Monroe, who works for the company that buried the waste, also travels to Louisiana, and expresses guilt for the disappearances of homeless people around the PA dumping site.  Nukeface meets and touches Swamp Thing, severely injuring him.
Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #16 (B&W, Feb. 1998).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #36
“The Nukeface Papers, Part 2”, May 1985
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p]
Before he rots away due to Nukeface’s touch, Swamp Thing manages to communicate to Abby that he is going to try and leave his body and generate a new one.  Monroe learns that a local wino has disappeared and also hears Nukeface mentioned by locals, so begins to suspect that his PA troubles have followed him to Louisiana.  His pregnant wife goes for a walk in the swamp to find Nukeface sleeping, and keeps him company overnight.  After he is reunited with his wife, Monroe fears that the unborn baby may have been injured due to radiation exposure.  Meanwhile, Nukeface awakens and goes in search of more waste.
Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #17 (B&W, Mar. 1998).  This is the last appearance of Nukeface but Steve Bissette later proposed another story idea involving the character, which can be found here.

The Saga of Swamp Thing #37
“Growth Patterns”, June 1985
Alan Moore [w], Rick Veitch [p], John Totleben [p, c], Stephen Bissette [c]
With Abby’s assistance, Swamp Thing slowly generates a new body.  A mysterious man named John Constantine learns from his friends that an evil force is preparing to return to the world.  Speaking with Emma, Constantine mentions that the South American people who are magically summoning this entity first need to increase the belief-levels of the general populace, and will do so by bringing vampires, werewolves etc. into the public consciousness.  Constantine visits Swamp Thing and offers him knowledge of his new powers in exchange for his help.  Meanwhile, a creature that Emma has been drawing seems to escape from the page and chases her out of a window to her death.
The first appearance of John Constantine. Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #18 (B&W, Apr. 1998).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #38
“Still Waters”, July 1985
Alan Moore [w], Stan Woch [p], John Totleben [p, c], Stephen Bissette [c]
Swamp Thing uses his new-found skill to travel via the Green to the underwater city of Rosewood, Illinois, and then generates a new body to meet Constantine.  In Rosewood, a group of boys go swimming but one (Nicky) is attacked by vampires who live underwater in the drowned town.  His friend Howard tries to help but is captured.  The vampires bring food to a large mother vampire swollen with eggs, and she procreates with a male vampire before both die.  The eggs begin to hatch and Swamp Thing enters the water.
The town of Rosewood was previously visited in issue #3 (July 1982), when it was flooded in an attempt to rid it of vampires.  Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #19 (B&W, May 1998).

Swamp Thing #39
“Fish Story”, August 1985
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p]
Underwater, Swamp Thing witnesses the birth of vampire hatchlings, which then devour each other until one large vampiric monster remains.  The parents and friends of the missing boys go in search for them, and discover that Nicky is preparing to sacrifice Howard to the monster.  The monster destroys Swamp Thing and makes its way to the surface to attack the boys’ families.  Meanwhile, Swampy grows to a great size and moves the edge of the lake that covers Rosewood, joining it to a river.  The running water causes all of the vampires to dissolve.  Swampy finds Constantine, who expresses concern that Howard and his parents have managed to escape the ordeal, as they will spread news of the vampires around the area, playing into the wishes of the South Americans who have orchestrated these strange occurrences.
Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #20 (B&W, June 1998).

Swamp Thing #40
“The Curse”, September 1985
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p]
In Maine, a woman named Phoebe, sick of society’s degrading attitudes towards women, and of her relationship with sexist Roy, is transformed into a werewolf and goes on a destructive rampage.  Swamp Thing attempts to intervene and help her, but Phoebe commits suicide by throwing herself on a kitchen knife display.
Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #21 (B&W, July 1998).

DC Comics Presents (1978) #85
“The Jungle Line”, September 1985
Alan Moore [w], Rick Veitch [p]
Superman begins to lose his powers after he is exposed to a dangerous Kryptonian fungus called Bloodmorel.  He decides that he is dying and travels to the U.S. south in order to live out his last days away from other superheroes.  Superman crashes his car and is found by Swamp Thing but when Superman awakens he feverishly hallucinates and attacks Swampy.  Swampy helps him to calm down and rest and eventually the fever passes.  The next day, Superman’s powers are restored and he flies home with no memory of Swampy’s intervention.
Reprinted in various trade paperbacks including ‘The Greatest Team-Up Stories Ever Told’ (1990), ‘Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow’ (1997), and ‘Across the Universe: DC Universe Stories of Alan Moore’ (2003, and republished under varying titles several times since).

Swamp Thing #41
“Southern Change”, October 1985
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, Alfredo Alcala [p], John Totleben [c]
A television crew arrives in Louisiana to film a drama on the site of an old plantation.  Tension rise between actors Angela Lamb, Richard Deal and Billy Carlton and they begin to have visions, falling into the roles of the property’s historical owners Charlotte and Wesley Jackson, and the slave worker William.  Locals who have been hired as extras, including Abby’s Elysium Lawns co-worker Alice, begin performing strange rites.  Eventually, Richard (as Wesley) takes Billy (as William) to the basement to be flayed, re-enacting an event that happened on the property years ago.
Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #22 (B&W, Aug. 1998).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #42
“Strange Fruit”, November 1985
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben, Ron Randall [p]
The corpses of slaves rise from a nearby graveyard and descend upon the plantation house to demand their freedom.  Abby enters the house to warn the actors but she is stabbed by Wesley/Richard.  Abby recovers when she realises that the knife was only a prop and that she is caught up in the group’s illusory roleplay.  Wesley/Richard goes out to attack the zombie slaves, and learns that the same events have happened on the plantation previously, and that everyone is doomed to repeat the night of suffering until the cycle is broken.  Swamp Thing intervenes and is shot, but manages to burn down the house (killing Wesley/Richard and a number of the zombies) and breaks the spell.  We later learn that a number of zombies have escaped, including Alice’s father who gets a job at a cinema.
Page 20 contains a mistake where the flayed torso of William/Billy has been coloured the same as his head.  This was corrected in the collected editions.  Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #23 (B&W, Sept. 1998).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #43
“Windfall”, December 1985
Alan Moore [w], Stan Woch, Ron Randall [p], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [c]
A hippy named Chester finds one of Swampy’s tubers and identifies it as possible hallucinogen.  He gives part of it to a friend whose wife, Sandy, is terminally ill, and another part to an acquaintance, Milo.  Milo ingests the tuber and experiences the death and transformation of Alec Holland.  Then, haunted by further horrific visions, he runs into the street and is killed.  Sandy, on the other hand, eats the plant and has a positive experience, dying peacefully and without fear after becoming aware of the interconnectedness of all things.  Chester learns about these relative experiences and decides not to eat the remaining portion of the tuber.
The first appearance of Chester Williams. Reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #24 (B&W, Oct. 1998).

The Saga of Swamp Thing #44
“Bogeymen”, January 1986
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben, Ron Randall [p]
While Swamp Thing awaits news from Constantine, a serial killer called the Bogeyman, who can remarkably recall the eyes of his 164 victims, kills again.  Swampy pursues the killer until the Bogeyman drowns in mud, whereupon he meets the vengeful spirits of his victims.
Events of the ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ are referred to, but this is not an official part of the crossover.  The Bogeyman is later referred to in Sandman #14 (Mar. 1990), where an impostor shows up to a serial killer convention.

All-Star Squadron (1981) #53
“Worlds In Turmoil”, January 1986
Roy Thomas [w], Arvell Jones [p]
In 1942 on Earth-Two, Superman is unable to prevent the Monster Society of Evil from breaking the villainous The Dummy out of prison. Later, Oom The Mighty takes over as leader of the gang, and the deposed Mr. Mind flees the universe. Superman meets with the All-Star Squadron who explain that the Justice Society of America are missing, and that they saw other heroes disappear into an energy source in the sky. Various heroes from across the Multiverse are transported to the Monitor’s ship, and the Earth-Two heroes then travel to Earth-One to help stop the Red Tornado’s wave of destruction.
Part of the ‘Crisis On Infinite Earths’ crossover. Swamp Thing appears in one panel on the Monitor’s ship, recreating the scene from Crisis On Infinite Earths #5 (Aug. 1985)

The Saga of Swamp Thing #45
“Ghost Dance”, February 1986
Alan Moore [w], Stan Woch, Alfredo Alcala [p], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [c]
Two couples visit a huge abandoned house that was reportedly built upon continuously for 40 years by Amy Cambridge to appease ghosts of those killed by her family’s invention, the Cambridge Repeater rifle.  While investigating the inside of the labyrinthine house, one couple (Rod and Judy) are killed by ghosts.  Acting on a tip from Constantine, Swampy appears at the house and finds the survivors (David and Linda).  Upon learning that the ghosts once warned Amy Cambridge that the ‘hammers must never stop’, Swamp Thing bangs on a table at the centre of the house until the ghosts leave the building.  David and Linda are reunited, but Linda is more concerned with the loss of her secret lover Rod.  Later we see David purchase a gun, with which to presumably murder Linda.

Crisis On Infinite Earths (1985) #1-12
April 1985-March 1986
Marv Wolfman [w], George Perez [p]
To prevent the Anti-Monitor from destroying all planets in the Multiverse, a plan is hatched to merge the last 5 parallel Earths into a combined, stronger Earth. During the conflict, many superheroes are killed and others are written out of existence, but the plan is carried out successfully.
The ‘Crisis…’ was an attempt by DC to do away with the concept of the Multiverse, which was originally created to explain away some of the continuity problems but was deemed to be too confusing for new readers. The ‘Crisis…’ crossover was used to clean up the convoluted histories of some characters and allowed origin stories to be retold. Swamp Thing’s continuity was not really altered by the event, but #46 ties directly into the crossover. Swamp Thing appears in a couple of panels in issue #5 (Aug. 1985) of the limited ‘Crisis…’ series, when Earth’s heroes congregate on the Monitor’s ship. This scene is later depicted in several other issues, including:

  • All-Star Squadron #53 (Jan. 1986)
  • Swamp Thing #46 (Mar. 1986)
  • Legends of the DC Universe: Crisis On Infinite Earths (Feb. 1999)
  • JLA: Incarnations #5 (Nov. 2001)

See those entries for further information.  Swampy also appears on a couple of pages of ‘The Monitor Tapes…’ section of issue #10 (Jan. 1986) and on the covers of #5 and #7 (Oct. 1985).

Swamp Thing #46
“Revelations”, March 1986
Alan Moore [w], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p]
After surveying the chaos on Earth caused by the events of the ‘Crisis…’, Swampy and Constantine are transported to the Monitor’s satellite to hear Alex Luthor’s plan to merge the Multiverses into one universe.  Constantine and the Phantom Stranger explain that, after this physical threat has passed, there will be still be a threat to the metaphysical realms.  Constantine explains further that the South American cult (now revealed as the Brujería) have been increasing society’s belief in the paranormal in order to unleash an evil entity that will destroy Heaven.  He also reveals the location of the Parliament Of Trees, who will give Swamp Thing further information about his powers and purpose.  Meanwhile, Constantine’s associate Sister Anne-Marie is killed by an Invunche – the same creature that killed Emma in issue #37 (June 1985).
An official part of the ‘Crisis On Infinite Earths’ crossover.

The Outsiders (1985) #6
“The Outsiders At The Bat” (back-up story), April 1986
Mike W. Barr [w], Jim Engel [p]
Describes the events of a baseball game, in rhyming verse, between The Outsiders and team of villains.
Swamp Thing appears as a spectator.  Reprinted in
Adventures of the Outsiders #44 (Apr. 1987).

Swamp Thing #47
“The Parliament Of Trees”, April 1986
Alan Moore [w], Stan Woch, Ron Randall [p], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [c]
Swampy travels to Brazil and meets the Parliament of Trees, who primarily converse with him telepathically.  He learns that other elementals have come before him, including Alex Olsen (whose story is told in House of Secrets #92 [June/July 1971], and then reprinted in #33 [Feb. 1985]) and Albert Höllerer (his immediate predecessor).  Each story of transformation involves a man dying in flames.  Swamp Thing recognises the immense collective knowledge of the Parliament and gains insight into his further powers, but does not learn what to do to defeat the coming evil.  Meanwhile, a photographer sells photos of Swampy and Abby romantically kissing to a local newspaper.  The editors don’t believe that the Swamp Thing is real, but they recognise Abby from her work with children at Elysium Lawns and decide to print the pictures anyway.
The first appearance of the Parliament of Trees.  Albert Höllerer is based on the Hillman Periodicals version of ‘The Heap’.  The Heap was a German WWI pilot who was shot down and then arose as a swamp monster during the second World War.  Moore’s Albert Höllerer was a German WWII pilot who was shot down and became an elemental in 1942, which is the year The Heap first appeared in Air Fighters #3 (Dec. 1942).
The members of the Parliament depicted on the cover are also based on comic swamp monsters. Alongside the Heap-like creature, there is Man-Thing (Marvel), Morlock 2001 (Atlas), and the Ghost Swamp monster from
Web of Evil #13 (1954, Quality).

Swamp Thing #48
“A Murder Of Crows”, May 1986
Alan Moore [w], John Totleben [p, c], Stephen Bissette [c]
Swampy, Constantine, and his acquaintances Frank and Judith meet in Chile to confront the Brujería, but are separated upon entering a cave.  Constantine is knocked unconscious by an Invunche and awakens to find that Judith has double-crossed him, killing the rest of their circle for the chance to be transformed into a bird by the Brujería.  Swamp Thing appears in time to forestall Constantine’s death, but not to prevent Judith from undergoing a transformation into a crow and escaping with a pearl that will be used to summon the ‘primordial shadow’.  Meanwhile, Abby is arrested after photos of her with Swampy appear in a local paper.

Swamp Thing #49
“The Summoning”, June 1986
Alan Moore [w], Stan Woch, Alfredo Alcala [p], Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [c]
After Swampy destroys the Brujería, he and Constantine discuss preparations to fight the primordial shadow when it arrives.  Constantine convinces Baron Winter to lend his house for a magical ritual, and then enlists the help of Sargon the Sorcerer, Zatara, and Zatanna.  Swamp Thing, meanwhile, gathers Deadman, Phantom Stranger, The Spectre and Etrigan, who explains that Hell is divided about whose side to stand with in the oncoming battle.  Constantine’s group, which now includes Dr. Occult and Mento, meet at Winter’s mansion, and Mento uses his powers to witness the pearl being used to summon the evil force before the messenger crow perishes.

Swamp Thing #50
“The End”, July 1986
Alan Moore [w], Rick Veitch, Stephen Bissette, John Totleben [p]
The magicians in Winter’s mansion hold hands and channel their powers through Mento to aid their allies in Hell, who now include Dr. Fate, a cavalry of Rhymers led by Etrigan, some angels, and an army of demons.  The giant dark being advances and briefly consumes, in turn, Etrigan, Dr. Fate, and The Spectre.  Each time, it asks a question of them, learning a little more about itself and its nature, but later evicts them from the darkness unconscious.  Noticing them watching from the physical world, the shadow also sends surges of energy at the magicians, first killing Sargon and then Zatara, who sacrifices himself to save Zatanna.  Back in Hell, Swamp Thing enters the shadow of his own will.  When asked questions by the dark entity, Swamp Thing replies that he doesn’t know why evil exists, but remembers the words of the Parliament and suggests it may be from where virtue grows. The shadow lets Swamp Thing leave, and we see that the giant black shape is only the tip of an enormous finger.  As the immense dark hand reaches up to Heaven, a similarly-sized golden hand reaches down. In the end, the dark and light seem to cancel each other out, with neither winning and things returning to normal, excepting the deaths of the two magicians and traumatisation of Mento.

Next: Issues #51-100 (1986-1990)… ▸

[w] denotes writer, [p] denotes penciller, but I have included both penciller and inker if both are credited equally as artists. [c] denotes cover artist, but I have mostly only included the last in instances where Swampy is illustrated by someone other than the inside penciller.