3 out of 5
I kinda feel like Alan Moore was done with his run on Swamp Thing after his death and resurrection of the main character. His Watchmen-esque meta travels through Swampy’s thoughts as he reconstructed a world in the wake of his own passing allowed the writer to reflect on the chore of writing the title itself; yes, it left Abby’s future unclear, but at the same time, Moore had threaded in the threads for her building herself back up. It would have been a melancholy and rather open ending, for sure, but also an impactful one.
The actual conclusion to the series, which has ST traveling through different planets / universes / writing styles / guest creators on his way back to Earth, feels like a greatest hits of sorts, shuffling through ideas and allowing other people in to try their hand at the chore – Bissette writes an issue; Veitch takes full control over an issue – before a rather humdrum reconciliation of girl and creature in the final issue, wherein Moore more directly guest stars and says an equally humdrum goodbye, musing, in a way, on the limitations of the character and book as he’s on to more freeing writerly pastures. So while that potentially melancholy stopping point would’ve lacked the “back to where we started” nature of this conclusion, which is a polite way of handing the reigns over to the next creative team, it definitely could’ve had more emotional resonance.
The first stage of Swamp’s (physical) travels take him to Rann and Adam Strange for an exciting sci-fi romp, including the political / social commentary which is true to that genre, and which is – to me – the highlight of this collection. Swamp Thing then ping-pongs to another planet which is all mechanical, for the kind of indulgent Moore stuff that I really don’t enjoy reading, when it’s more of a “concept” than a comic; walls of flowery text lain atop Totleben’s collage art for pages of surreal imagery and wandering prose. The followup – ST on a fully plant-run planet, which also happens to house a Green Lantern – is up there with Alan’s best work, though, with a fresh idea gifted a flowing, intelligent narrative and a large sense of scope. Inbetween, Bisette does a Frankenstein riff to handle a loose-ish thread from Abby’s past, but this is rather overwrought stuff and reads like the fill-in issue it is. Veitch’s turn on story, meanwhile, brings in the New Gods, as Swamp runs smack dab into Metron – which is a cool idea! – but then gets heavily weighted down by Veitch’s attempts at doing an all-is-love message that pales behind Alan’s variations on the same. Swamp’s return to Earth, scripted again by Moore, is a good penultimate issue, bringing some notes of body horror back into the mix as certain bad guys are revenged against, and then there’s that final issue. It’s a final issue as written by someone knowing they have to write a final issue; it again doesn’t feel like it adds much, or really concludes anything, and rather just gets us dutifully back to a status quo.