Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Swamp Thing #23

Yay! Free opium!

My cat Judas wanted to write the commentary for this issue but I told him that was too gimmicky. That was like something an 80s comedian would do for his stand-up routine on an episode of Star Search.

80s Comic: "So did I tell you that my cat became a stand-up comedian? Yeah, he's not too bad either. I do an impression of him. Do you want to hear it?"
Audience: *Applauds wildly*
80s Comic: "*pretends to lick hand and slick back hair* Good evening, ladies and gentlerats. No, no. I kid. I also spit up hairballs in the Monkey Warden's slip-on paw protectors. I also poo in a box but, hey, who doesn't? Oh, that's right! The hairless Monkey Warden! He poops in his bowl of drinking water! What's up with that? Am I right? Meow?"
Audience: *Applauding because the jokes aren't funny but still feeling like they should show some kind of appreciation for his ability to know things cats do*
80s Comic: *sits on the ground and licks at his crotch for an uncomfortable forty seconds*
Ed McMahon: *busting a gut laughing off-camera because he's fucking drunk by the 2:00 PM taping*
80s Comic: "Meow. What's up with dogs? It's like they're constantly trying out for a job they already have! Relax, buddy! You've got the gig! What's with all the fetching and running about? The Monkey Warden is going to bring you food even if you 'accidentally' draw blood jumping on its face while getting into bed with her. You don't have to constantly be 'on'! Us cats have been mooching on these idiots for thousands of years and haven't done a lick of work! They haven't thrown us out yet! Seriously, you'd worry less if you learned your Hisstory."
Audience: *Applauds wildly to show they understood a stupid fucking pun*
80s Comic: "Thank you! It's been a wonderful three minutes! You've all been terrific!"
Ed McMahon: "Let's hear it one more time for Whoop Doodle McCrumblestuff! Next, a five year old singer that's going to kick the comedian's fucking ass!"

Even if I did let my cat do the commentary, it would just be pages and pages of licking obsessively with short interludes of a staring at a random spot on the wall and then screaming at the top of his voice demanding something that I'll never guess in a million years.

Me: "Oh, you want some scratchies? Good kitty."
Me: "Are you hungry? Here's some food."
Me: "Let me clean your litter box."
Me: "Oh so cute. Do you want me to sacrifice another homeless person to Bast?"
Me: "How about I just fucking ignore you?"
Judas: *goes back to licking himself when I break eye contact*

Oh great. Judas just puked a bit in his crunchy food as he was eating and then just kept right on digging in. Maybe I should have named him Jimi.

"No pictures, bitch!"

I just took that picture with my laptop webcam. He practically lives on my desk. Although I have put my foot down with regards to the litter box. That stays in the other room.

Oh my god. You're killing me, buddy.

Enough about the stupid cat! I have a Whisky Tree to read about!

This is what happens to people who drink from the Whisky Tree. I know, I know. It's hard to believe a Whisky Tree has a downside.

John Constantine is the besotted ruler of a small Scottish Town where all the inhabitants have been possessed by the fruit of The Seeder's Whisky Tree. Swamp Thing, being the character on the cover of the comic book, was supposed to save the day and return everything to the economically depressed status quo because he cares more about "balance" than "human lives." What kind of a man-plant is he? He's like Spock! Always ignoring the human side he's completely ashamed of. But Constantine cut The Swamp Thing off from the Green and now he's withering away in a jail cell.

For someone who always sides with the plants, Swamp Thing still prefers to look like a human. Perhaps it's just his natural form and thus the easiest to maintain with the least amount of effort.

The only power Swamp Thing has left is that power remaining within his current form since he can't access the Miracle Gro of the Green. He can't break out of jail because he's currently runway model thin but luckily he's seen the episode of The Brady Bunch where the family visits a ghost town and winds up in jail. He grows a nice long stick to grab the ring of keys off the passed out guard.

I know what that is!

After making me think up the term "cock ring of keys," Swamp Thing frees himself from the Sober Tank. On his way to confront Constantine, he saves little Reginald Crawford from a man shoving the devil's drink down Reggie's throat. The Devil's Drink would be man spooge. Or Whisky Tree Sap. Maybe both. It's hard to tell sometimes if it's the author and the scene alluding to the possibility of a child being sexually assaulted or it's my repressed memories forcing their interpretation on the events.

That wasn't a joke about child molestation! That was an acknowledgment of possible memories I can't know I have because they may or may not have been repressed! And I'd rather believe that than believe that I read a scene in a comic book about an overly aggressive man trying to shove something down the throat of a small child and instantly think there's something perverse about it!

Whew! This scene is definitely about a man trying to corrupt a minor! I can go back to repressing the idea that I have repressed memories!

Constantine sends out a man hunt for Swamp Thing. But they won't find him because he's a plant and not a man! Although he's also a monster and Constantine sends them out with torches. And I think angry mobs with torches always catch the monster. Hopefully the Swamp Thing has more tricks up his sleeve than his penis.

Ha ha! I was way ahead of you, Swamp Thing! If there's one thing my mom taught me about, it's resentment! But if there are two things, the other one is monster movies!

The Swamp Thing's next trick is to put all of his essence into a seed and pop it off into the wind. So it looks like he does only have the one trick up his sleeve.

The Swamp Thing's seed grows up out of the ground near Constantine. It grows erect and blossoms and unfurls into a beautiful pink flower which presses itself firmly against Constantine's lips, releasing its sweet smelling essence directly into his mouth, again and again and again.

This isn't just a horror book! It's also pornography!

I didn't know all you had to do was shove a poppy into your face to get wasted! Oh wait. Comic books! I should stop thinking comic books should be written as research materials. Besides, The Swamp Thing can twist plants into doing whatever he wants. And if he wants the poppy to ejaculate opiates directly out of its budding flower and into Constantine's eager lungs, Swamp Thing can make that happen.

With all of the sexual undercurrent in this issue, it's beginning to read a lot like Bernie Wrightson's original vision of The Swamp Thing. As the seventies were getting underway, Len Wein told Bernie he had a vision of a new horror character years ago but had to sit on the idea while the Comics Code Authority was outlawing monsters. But now that the Code was loosening up some of their rules, he figured it was time to bring out this character. "Imagine," he said, "a man inside a vegetable!" So Bernie hit the drawing table and came back with a man with his penis lodged squarely into a squash. "Like this?" he questioned, unable to hide the excitement he was feeling about this possible new character. What I'm saying is his pants looked like a scene out of The Second Great Awakening. "Oh God no!" screamed Len who was having a lunch meeting with Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway. "I meant some kind of a Swamp Thing! Not some porno Man-thing!" Bernie slunk off to try again, his excitement for the project suddenly waning. "I'm still going to make it all veiny," he proclaimed as he shuffled off to try again.

With Constantine now tanked up on heroin, the spell cutting off Swamp Thing from the Green is broken. He grows into a monstrously large monster with the knowledge that he can stop the Seeder's Whisky Tree plans once and for all. While he considers his plan, The Green pipes up in the back of his head. It is the voice that all Avatars (Green, Red and Gray) must fight against lest they find themselves overreaching and becoming another Anton Arcane. The Green pushes him to kill them all, use their Redness to feed the Green. But Swamp Thing still has that touch of humanity and the connection to The Red that allows him to feel empathy towards the meat monsters. He tempers his justice with forgiveness and merely destroys The Whisky Tree before it destroys all of England. I think this is some kind of Temperance Propaganda!

When Swamp Thing returns to Louisiana, he ponders the other voice he heard as he finished dealing with the town. He knows they weren't all his thoughts but he doesn't have much time to think about it (my thoughts are in the paragraph above! Those weren't his thoughts or the comic book explicating them!) before he has to deal with Cappuccino again. She's strung up in a tree and beat up because The Seeder had wandered by to battle Swamp Thing but Swamp Thing wasn't there. So Swampy won't be helping out Cappuccino any time soon. Because he has to deal with The Seeder next! Except next month is Anton Arcane's Villain Month appearance, so hopefully I'll remember everything that was happening in this comic by the time it gets back to the regular plot.

Swamp Thing #23 Rating: +2 Ranking. Charles Soule is kicking some serious plant butt on this comic book. Not only did he get some nice horror bits in this month, he also put in some sexy plant on human sex stuff! I'm going to try to fall back to sleep for a bit. Maybe if I think about it enough as I doze off, I can dream about Swamp Thing's flower face fucking Constantine! Now where'd I put the rubber sheets?

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