Page 45 Review by Stephen
The tender and passionate plant elemental known as the Swamp Thing discovers that his dearly and sincerely beloved Abby has been abducted then incarcerated by the police. An altruistic carer for others, Abby faces prosecution for "immoral" acts: namely, having sexual communion with what the legal system considers to be a monster.
Sex? It was an exchange of profound sensations, emotions and empathy: a telepathic trip induced by psychotropic fruit proferred by the Swamp Thing of his own body. Communion is exactly right. But that's hardly the point.
No amount of reasoning seems able to halt the criminal proceedings and free poor Abby. So a furious, frustrated and pure-heartedly devoted Swamp Thing embarks on a last resort: a tumultuous act of terrorism turning the suspect city into a jungle. Mains are burst, buildings are toppled and the subways blocked. Insects invade in swarms.
Oh, and the city's name
? It's Gotham.
Initially Batman attempts to take the creature on but loses. I mean: is completely out-classed, and he knows it. He's also utterly in the wrong and recognises that too.
"That creature hasn't done a fraction of what it could do, and as yet it's done nothing irreversible. If he starts forcing the growth of people's intestinal flora, that might be a different story. Try to imagine it, Mr. Mayor
. Strong shoots and writhing tendrils working their way out of your stomach, creeping up your throat, filling your mouth
"Batman, take it easy
"Take it easy? While my city is dying because it insists on the letter of the law over love and justice?"
A profoundly affecting indictment of the sex laws at a time when love and justice held no sway, this blew me away when first published. I wish it were irrelevant now, but India.
There are shocks galore, there'll be tears before bedtime and an equally appalling tale of marital abuse. Plus one of the finest appearances by John Constantine Esq.
I'd also like to pay tribute to John Totleben who goes solo on the pivotal SWAMP THING #53, delivering the most impressive and formidable Batman ever, seen deep in thought or swift in combat, with shadows and textures to die for. And, as you know, Totleben has some pretty stiff competition!