Page 45 Review by Stephen
"You see, in a way, everything is made of stories."
Now that's an early statement which Moore will return to!
The final panel by Bissette and Totleben, of the sequence below at the climax to this second volume is a masterpiece of understated passion and dignified release as Abigail Arcane offloads her private thoughts to the plant elemental and protector of the Green who has buried his past and saved her from Hell itself. Blessedly she has no memory of this, but the episode has left her uncle damned for eternity and her estranged husband in a coma. Also, it is Spring and she is in a quandary:
"I mean, what I'm saying is, that if I felt strongly... you know, if I had strong feelings for... well, somebody else... Alec, it wouldn't be wrong for me to have feelings like that, would it?"
"Wrong? Abby... you are too young... too beautiful... to be a widow... forever. Is there... someone... that you love?"
"Oh yes. Yes, very much."
"Then... you must not... torture yourself... with pointless guilt.... If... there is... someone... that you love... then tell them..."
"Yeah, well... That's, you know... That's what I'm trying to do."
"You mean... me...?"
"Oh, for God's sake... Who else? ...Oh no. I've ruined it, haven't I? I've screwed it up... I should never have said... Look... let's just forget it. I'll go home now, and we'll forget I said anything. I mean, it's just so ridiculous, right? It's impossible, it's bizarre, it probably isn't even legal... Oh hell. There's something wrong with me. I build things up in my mind... I read things into the way you look at me, kid myself that maybe you feel the same as I do, but... You're a plant, for God's sake! Just saying it out loud, I mean, it's just so funny! How could you love me?"
"Deeply... silently... and... for too many... years."
What follows is a psychedelic consummation via the consumption of a fruit which 'Alec' plucks from his body mass, and a tribute to nature that is pure poetry culminating in a quiet moment of shared bliss. It won't always be so, I'm afraid.
Before that there's the famous tribute to Walt Kelly's POGO full of inventive linguistic conflations, and Moore's reclamation of Abel and Cain and their respective Houses of Secrets and Mystery which must surely have inspired so many elements of Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN.
"Who are you? Am I dreaming this?"
"Well, not exactly... W-we're a projection of the human unconscious, existing as a construct of the brain's right hemisphere and..."
"Ignore my brother. He has no sense of mystery. Yes. You're dreaming this."
And Neil Gaiman, who was reading this at the time, provides the lengthy introduction.