Sunday, May 10, 2015

Convergence: Swamp Thing #1

I can draw!

Convergence really exposes the need for comic book companies to maintain a sense of continuity and history in their story telling. People may have felt excited to get glimpses of the characters they used to love before The New 52 but without any tangible tie to an overall continued existence for these characters, a reader can lose interest fairly quickly. Too much continuity can get in the way of a writer feeling free to tell the story they want to tell. But not enough continuity and the reader doesn't develop a bond for the character in the book. Every time the character appears, without that sense of history, it may as well be a new character. The characters always kept that sense of history after each of DC's previous reboots because they were essentially the same character but having become a resident in a somewhat different universe. The New 52 outright told the fans that these were not the same characters or the same universe and to get used to it, so many felt that disconnect with the characters and just moved on. Now DC Comics has taken a few months to say, "Here! Those characters you miss! They're right here!" But come on. Who fucking really cares when it's just a brief window into old lives that are now long gone? These stories are less interesting because they are no longer part of DC Continuity.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the old fans are coming out in droves to support this event. But I know after two and a half weeks of it, I'm a little bit bored by it, overall. It feels like I'm picking up old comic books out of my collection and giving them a reread. I suppose DC is going to allow most of their old timelines to come back into their overall universe in some form or another by the time this Convergence is over because they're dying to bring back all those fans who can't stand them anymore due to The New 52. But history being doomed to repeat itself whether or not people know their history because that's just the way history works, the people running DC Comics will eventually look at how confusing their universe is to new readers and decide to clean it up somehow. Which, once again, won't work exactly how they wanted it to, make things more confusing in the long run, and wind up in yet another cleaning up of continuity.

Here's some advice, DC Comics: put ice cream on pizza. Man, it's weird.

Was Swamp Thing a comedy pre-Crisis?!

I like that Len Wein brought back that whole Strange Tales Narrator deal and the nice Swamp Thing tagline of the shambling muck-encrusted mockery of a man. But naming the story "It's Not Easy Being Green"? I'm not exactly going to be terrified by this tale, am I?

So Swamp Thing was caught in Gotham during the doming. What was he doing up there? Did the dome drop while Abby was being put on trial for fucking a plant man? Has he been rooming with Solomon Grundy in Slaughter Swamp for the last year? Hopefully he wasn't connected to The Green in pre-Crisis continuity or else he probably died when moved off planet and the rest of this comic book will be his body as it rots on the edge of Gotham.

The Narrator just turns into the Swamp Thing narrating because he was just putting on that highly dramatized horror book narration voice for old times sake. After he points out that he's the muck-encrusted monstrosity, Swamp Thing tells his history because Len Wein didn't want to simply write, "Remember how I created the Swamp Thing?! Remember all of the stories I wrote about him?! Remember my work on him and not that fucking wanna-be mystic piece of shit English person?! Me! I created Swamp Thing! I DID IT, GODDAMMIT! The fucking Anatomy Lesson was bullshit."

The walking moss pile is surprised that Abigail wants a lover with a penis.

The Swamp Thing's recounting of his history ends with The Anatomy Lesson so I guess, since Len was editor on the book at the time, he seems to think it was an okay story and it's probably not a bad idea to keep it part of pre-Crisis Swamp Thing's history. I mean, he could have cut it from this version of Swamp Thing's history altogether since the story appeared so close to the beginning of Crisis. Wouldn't it be interesting to return a new version of the Swamp Thing to DC Continuity? One that never underwent the magical transformation of weird horror novelty to interesting character that people began to love? I want stories of the weird horror novelty!

None of the other Pre-Crisis books have documented the time of the doming as well as this one. Although, really, this is just Len's version. No other book mentioned the red skies at all.

Swamp Thing decides to go to Gotham to ask Batman about the red skies because Batman knows everything. Abby tags along and they make a nice vacation out of it. Let me guess! The dome falls, they get trapped in Gotham, Swamp Thing is cut off from the Green, and Abby spends the next year trying to desperately keep her Chia Thing alive!

The dome covers Gotham and cuts Swamp Thing off from The Green. Now he's just a shambling muck-encrusted mockery of a man again instead of whatever Alan Moore made him. A philosopher? Abby leaves him in the park while she heads off to find a job and an apartment. That shouldn't be any problem what with everybody probably freaking the fuck out and such.

A week later, Abby reports back that Gotham is handling things reasonably well since a giant dome covering the city winds up being a lot more fun than everybody dying from Joker gas. And Abby has done some wangling of her own.

At first I thought "wangle" was a sex act and then I read the definition and, well...getting the job and the apartment probably did involve sex. I can read between the dictionary definitions.

Abby begins delivering plant food which is barely keeping Swamp Thing alive. Then one day, many weeks later, the usual business of Gotham intrudes on Swamp Thing's territory as Batgirl chases Poison Ivy through the park.


Many weeks later, just as hope for Swamp Thing's survival is waning, Planet Brainiac lifts the dome and Swamp Thing's connection to The Green returns. Even if this planet is nowhere in space or time. I guess The Green exists everywhere except inside of domes. Swamp Thing's power comes back but before he and Abby can adjust, they're transported by Planet Brainiac to the Gotham of Red Rain where they're attacked by a bunch of vampires.

I think the lead vampire is Vampire Lobo.

Convergence: Swamp Thing #1 Rating: It was a day in the park! But for a year! Exclamation point! Nervous stomach! What the fuck am I doing with my life?!

1 comment:

  1. You definitely made some solid points, not just about continuity, but about this whole Convergence experiment.
    The way Dildo wored it, it seems like while the "door" may be left open for some of these past iterations to pop by sometime, a select few of these relics from days past will probably be forced to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the other versions. I know the JSA in particular seem to be set up that way since the main Convergence mini seems to imply the Earth 2 versions are merely the updated reincarnations of the JSA.

    I don;t kow, it is what it is.

    If they were smart, and not likely by this happening, they'd pull what Marvel's doing, and cherry-pick some of these pre-NU52 versions to use as THE main version of that character. Might happen after all depending on the success of Secret Wars and how well they pull off what they're planning.

    That Kelley Jones art though right?