Friday, March 13, 2015

Swamp Thing #40

The Swamp Thing to Alec Holland's right is Uncircumcised Swamp Thing. To his left, 90s Swamp Thing replete with dozens of chest pouches.

Good bye, Charles Soule's Swamp Thing! I will say my goodbyes by being completely bitter, hurt, and mean-spirited in today's commentary! Fuck you for leaving me, you asshole.

The issue begins with Alec Holland putting the past Avatars back in their places. The little snots still think they know better than Alec Holland even after being on time out for several months. And even if they do know better, just shut up! Nobody wants to be told that they're doing something wrong by a bunch of old failures. Let's say, hypothetically, that their experiences and the wisdom gained from those failures could help Alec to be successful against Anton Arcane. Do you still think the young upstart Alec Holland would still listen to him? Of course not! People often bring up that stupid saying about how nothing is certain except death and taxes. Fools. A lot of things are certain! Like you can be certain that youth will resent and ignore advice from experience and then proudly walk off of a cliff because they just had to learn it for themselves. Fine, maybe the lesson sticks better when you experience the failure yourself but wouldn't it have been nice not to have actually walked off of that cliff?

"And shut your fucking mouths because we're doing this my way even if that way is the same exact fucking way that got all of you killed! Fucking old pricks! It's my turn!"

What are Swamp Thing's teeth made out of? They can't be Alec's real teeth since Baby Alec still had his teeth which he used to eat Swamp Thing last issue.

Swamp Thing raises a volunteer army which will head up to the arctic to lay siege to The Machine's demesnes. The first volunteer is Jason Woodrue, The Seeder (previously known as The Floronic Man because comic books used to be stupid). Swamp Thing accepts him hoping that others will follow his lead but we all know (that includes Alec himself) that The Seeder is just using this as a chance to escape into the real world and become a future Swamp Thing supervillain.

At least ten ex-avatars (including The Seeder, mentioned so previously that I'd be amazed if you'd forgotten) join with Swamp Thing to risk their lives by leaving the Green. They meet Baby Alec Holland at the exit to the portal from the Green who tells them the big fight will take place in the Gobi Desert. She must want to battle there because plant heroes generally don't do very well in that climate. Just look at how Ranger Ruben tried to camouflage the Galactic Hero Corps from an ambush composed of all of their supervillains but he accidentally disguised them as Pacific Redwoods and nearly the entire team was killed. But from the ashes of that disaster, Grunion Guy was given a chance to save the world and writer novels! Mostly write novels! Unless the definition of novel does not extend to stories scribbled onto the back of an envelope.

Throughout the battle, a narration is taking place by Charles Soule or some other outside source. It's speaking directly of stories and the difficulty of ending them.

Some endings aren't as difficult as others.

I covered this whole difficulty of ending a story thing in Chapter 26 of my, so far, unfinished Goggles Novella. Proof that endings are difficult: I still have nine chapters left of the Goggles Novella. I know how it's going to play out, and eventually end, but I just need more uninterrupted free time so I can concentrate on getting it right. Not that most of the people reading this blog care since it has never really been about the comics and was just a story I decided to write during September because September has become DC Comics' throwaway month. Just as the year before I inserted a minor story into Villains Month where I was taken over by an alien entity for many of my commentaries. But I need to finish Goggles' story before the end of the year. I highly recommend it but then I wrote it for myself. I suppose if it doesn't have ties to any fandom, the number of people on Tumblr interested in it probably nears zero.

Swamp Things flees from the battle in the Gobi Desert to give the avatars that remained behind time to heal the Green. Of course as he flies away, he winds up crashing into a library in Philadelphia. That's practically right next to the Gobi, right? It's at this point that Swamp Thing decides to enter a book because its made from dead plants! Also, the library is like the anti-machine! He's going to defeat The Machine Kingdom with outdated modes of archiving!

By outdated, I don't mean that there's no need for them! Libraries and printed material should never be seen as obsolete. We should always be using a number of back-up methods to store knowledge or we're just asking to lose it. If only there had been a group of people memorizing the works held at the Library of Alexandria, we'd have saved the knowledge lost when the place burned. At least with books, the only device needed to access the data is a working pair of eyes. And just fingers if they're in Braille! When the massive solar flare hits and burns out all of electronics, we're going to lose a lot of shit that's currently just stored in servers or in the cloud. Luckily, most of it is useless, time wasting garbage.

Once in the book, Alec finds himself in a new kingdom. I guess it's the Kingdom of Art. Or Kingdom o' Fart as all the other kingdoms refer to it.

How about gifting him more issues, you jerk?

Swamp Thing returns to the battle where the tide turns in The Green's favor. The Seeder kills the avatar of fungus but dies as well. Etrigan joins the battle with an army of demons because he doesn't have anything better to do in the DC Universe at the moment (except defeat Morgaine over in Batwoman although I think that story has already happened since it's been flashback for three or four months). Anton Arcane flees because stories in comic books never actually end no matter what the Avatar of the Arts says. He'll be back because he's always back because comic books just keep going and going and going. And then all that remains on the battlefield are two lone warriors: Alec Holland and Lady Weeds. I mean, I guess Gaurov is there somewhere as well but he's not important anymore.

Swamp Thing defeats Lady Weeds easily and then hires the Justice League Cleaning Company to dismantle Rithm Headquarters in the Arctic. Superman is happy to see them go because property values were really plummeting since they moved into the neighborhood.

I hope A Calculus's personality survived.

Alec's story ends in the swamp hanging out with Abby and Gaurev while reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude. I wish I could remember anything about the book which I read about twenty years ago! I bet the themes interweave with Swamp Thing's themes! Then Swamp Thing looks at you and the comic book is over.

The thing I missed most during Charles Soule's run of Swamp Thing was the horror. Perhaps he was telling a horror story of a kind but it wasn't one that spoke to my fears. But that's the only complaint I have about his run on this title. I loved this character. Soule's Swamp Thing was likable and kind and thoughtful. The final page I scanned speaks to the generosity, confidence, and wisdom of Alec Holland at the end of his journey. He chooses not only to not destroy the Machine Kingdom but to give it autonomy and free will. He allows it to make its own decisions but knowing that there will be consequences if the Machines decide to act like Anton Arcane again. He's encouraging the Machine Kingdom to grow and to learn instead of forcing it in some kind of captivity or limbo where it would only learn hatred and bitterness. It's not often you see a character mature this much. He's gone from being a rock star to the plants to being a nurturing, peaceful caregiver. And hopefully Abby lost enough of her rot power that they can still fuck from time to time.

Swamp Thing #40 Rating: +3 Ranking. I don't know what the future will bring for Swamp Thing but for now, I'm content with his story. It was as satisfying as a San Diego Comicon selfie with a non-digital camera.

Me, Supergirl, and Upright

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