Review by Frank Plowright
While Swamp Thing was saving the spiritual multiverse in A Murder of Crows, his terrestrial affair with Abigail Arcane made the newspapers. He was absent for some while, and to escape attention Abby left Louisiana for Gotham, where she was promptly arrested with the prostitutes she’d been talking to. Needless to say, Swamp Thing’s not best pleased on discovering what’s occurred.
For a comic dealing primarily in horror, the horror in this volume is the intransigent judgemental nature of humanity. That’s contrasted with a fine Batman story. Swamp Thing is now a totally different entity from that Batman previously met, and is able to bring his newly discovered abilities to bear in completely transforming Gotham into a plant paradise. Alan Moore has some fun positing an alternative life style making perfect sense in context, while also giving a full demonstration of how Swamp Thing can now control and modify his environment. It supplies pencil artist Rick Veitch with the opportunity to provide some memorable vignettes.
Veitch illustrates most of the book, and while he doesn’t quite have the demented visual imagination supplied by his predecessor Steve Bissette, his layouts and occasional inking by John Totleben ensure a smooth progression. The bulk of his pencilled pages are inked by Alfredo Alcala, who submerges his natural tendency to decorative flourish for an effective combination. The chapter entirely drawn by Totleben provides one of the book’s most arresting images: a giant Swamp Thing with Redwood trees for legs rampaging down Gotham’s equivalent of Broadway.
This entire book presents what was for the era a very provocative, if dispiriting, view of humanity’s ability to embrace change, and the years since publication have proved Moore correct. Another distressing aspect of human behaviour is examined with the return of Liz Tremayne and Dennis Barclay, two characters preceding Moore’s tenure on Swamp Thing. It’s a brutal saga, and as disturbing as any written during his run, the horror heightened by it both being very much based on events still prevalent today and which occurred to a member of his own family.
‘My Blue Heaven’ concludes the book, with an indication of what awaited Swamp Thing in his final volume, Reunion. He’s now able to create and populate his own world, affected by the insanity of isolation, yet being God has its own drawbacks, and this is the beginning of a new journey.