Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Swamp Thing Annual #2

Wait. What? I still have an Annual to read?!

So as I was rereading the commentary for Swamp Thing #24, I thought of a topic I wanted to discuss in this commentary. But now it's now and not then, so I've forgotten what that topic was supposed to be.

Time for a speed reading of Swamp Thing Annual #2!

The issue begins with a Narrator judging us for having to eat food. Forgive me for trying to keep my biological processes going! I would love to be a plant as well and just soak up the nutrients as I went about my daily life. It sure would save a lot of time! And money! Shit, if we got our nutrients directly from sunlight, we'd all be free of our corporate overlords! We could walk out on our jobs and shove our middle finger right in the boss's face! Or the boss's secretary's face, if he's in a meeting or something. Sure, there would still be people who would work long hours for large stacks of cash so they could buy luxury items. But just imagine not needing a fucking job at all?! Sun and water is all you need to live? I mean all you need to live without working to grow crops using sun and water. Because, really, sun and water is basically all you need to live now! But you need land too right now and that's a bit harder to come by what with governments and thieving property owners. Why isn't science working on chlorophyll implants? Oh, that's right. Because of what I just said. Because it would free us all from the shackles of capitalist work ethics.

The good old days is right! But then those fucking herbivores came along and had to shit on the Goddamned party. Literally! Those things shit everywhere!

Look at the pure bliss on that guy's face as he just soaks up the sun! So beautiful! Unless that look is because he's releasing pollen spores. Gross!

The plant's defense against the herbivore invasion was not to propagate in huge numbers, or to become poisonous, or to shift all of their energy into delicious little hanging sacks of sugar to distract the greedy, stupid plant eaters, as you might have guessed. No, the plant's defense was to kidnap one of the eaters and turn it into a meat/plant hybrid to protect them. That makes sense. We used that defense in junior high! Instead of hanging out with more and more nerds so we were less likely to be the one picked on by a bully, we showed the bully how to play Dungeons and Dragons and got him to join us! Or did we just dream of doing that? I can't remember due to all of the concussions from banging my head against porcelain during the twice-daily swirlies.

Eventually man reared his handsome, lovely locked head and the Green shit itself. That's when they created The Parliament of Trees so that they would have a reservoir of wisdom to combat the intelligence of mankind. Probably also the brutality. And the selfishness.

This must be The Seeder's Patron in the Parliament of Trees. He's quite the refined vegetable.

Except it's not. Not the patron of The Seeder, that is. He's still quite refined. It looks like the patron of Alec Holland. I should have known better. The Seeder's patron is probably a Venus Fly Trap with eight penises. I don't know why a plant needs penises but that's the picture that popped into my head. Stupid brain doesn't know anything about biology.

The patron's name was The Wolf and he must have been the Avatar of 1920s New York. Or maybe 1790s Philadelphia. Perhaps 1630s London? Apparently my brain doesn't know anything about historical decor either! Maybe if I knew what year Grape Earrings were in, I'd have a better guess. Stupid fucking brain! Stop playing so much Call of Duty and get thee to a library!

Benjamin Franklin was an Avatar?

The Wolf is giving Alec a tour of the Parliament of Trees before the big duel with The Seeder. He's also, I guess, going to give him some training. The Parliament members sure look different deep inside The Green then they do as skinny little saplings in the swamps of Louisiana.

The Wolf sends Alec on alone to attain wisdom from Lady Weeds. The Wolf is afraid of her because she is a lady. Or maybe because she's a weed. When Swamp Thing stumbles upon her, she, as The Wolf did, points out how shitty he's been as an Avatar even though he's full of potential. They acknowledge he could be a great Avatar but they love to point out how often he's nearly failed as well. Alec really needs to point out how he saved their fucking asses and gave them a nice, new swampy home to live in. If I were Alec, when I got back home, I'd build a nice dark shed around the Parliament of Trees and make them work for their daily dose of sunlight. Fuck these bastards.

Never mind what I just said. I'm quite partial to Lady Weeds. *swoon*

There's a historical precedent for the Swamp Thing always almost dying, isn't there? Hasn't the Swamp Thing always taken severe amounts of damage to its person without much consequence and so he sometimes finds himself striding into situations where the damage actually hurts him and he almost dies? A little bit of overconfidence although it's not unwarranted. He gets arms ripped off, holes blasted through him, burnt to cinders...and none of that ever fazes him. So maybe he does like nearly dying because at least it makes him feel alive.

What was I just saying?

Lady Weeds fucks up Swamp Thing's shit to prove a point. He was warned she was dangerous. He went in ready to fight. But then when she appeared as a Dandelion, he got all soft and hesitant. Which is when she pounced and exploded him into salad confetti. Lady Weeds takes her proper form which seems to be a woman from the Victorian Era. You know the time? When they wore their hair like a jellyfish made of dreaded broccoli stalks. Dreaded like as in hair and not as in feared! Maybe that's not quite Victorian. But she has gloves and a corset! I think that's probably Victorian! She's also into pain and violence which was the favorite hobby in the movers of upper class salons of the era.

Lady Weeds teaches Swamp Thing another trick, one that I've been yelling at his stupid face for about twenty four issues now: stop thinking of yourself as a human!

I would gone with Leaves of Grass but then I'm not as violent-minded as Lady Weeds.

Lady Weeds tells Swamp Thing a story about when she was Avatar in 1845 in Ireland. Oh! That makes sense. She does look a bit like an Irish waif. Unless waif doesn't mean prostitute. That's probably why she has dreadlocks too! Because people often sound Jamaican when they're trying to do an Irish accent.

Except it was her rival that was from Ireland which is why Lady Weeds introduced the fungus that destroyed the potato crops. Creating the plague on the potatoes caused the Parliament at the time to stop challenging her for some reason. I guess it made them all happy that she took out her anger on The Red's smartest monkeys.

Oh yeah, see? I should probably stop thinking about the comic book and just read ahead so the comic book tells me the things I come up with anyway. It'd be quicker and easier!

After Swamp Thing leaves Lady Weeds, he and The Wolf pass The Seeder on his way to see Lady Weeds himself. His patron seems to be an 18th Century British Naval Officer and an emaciated version of Alec Holland's Swamp Thing. Maybe it's a fashion model. So The Seeder is getting some lessons as well. But The Wolf assures Alec that the next person Alec meets, The Seeder will not be able to. I suppose if this next person doesn't kill Alec, it's an advantage.

I knew Alec wasn't going to learn that thing about babies because he never visited me.

The next Avatar Alec meets is his predecessor, Fake Alec Holland Swamp Thing. It's the one that was supposed to be Alec but The Parliament of Trees got to Alec too late and he died. So they gave this Avatar the memories of Alec and it ran around thinking it had once been human. But then The New 52 happened and Alec Holland was brought back to life and The Parliament of Trees had another chance to nab him up and use him for their own ends. This non-human Swamp Thing, the one with no humanity at all, gives Alec the most human advice. And it's my favorite moment in a comic book that so far has been filled with favorite moments.

If only everyone would learn this fucking lesson already.

And that's it. Alec Holland is now ready to battle The Seeder!

Swamp Thing Annual #2 Rating: +5 Ranking. I usually don't change a comic book's rankings for an annual but since none of the rules in my life are written in stone, I'm giving Swamp Thing a boost for this issue. This issue was charming and other words I wanted to use to describe it that have fled from my mind. I really love Charles Soule take on this character. And the characters he's created to be members of the Parliament? I love them all and I can't wait to meet the rest!

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