Containing Saga of the Swamp Thing issues 35 through 42 from 1985, including infamous and still-chilling stories dealing with nuclear waste, vampires, werewolves, and racism, this is horror at its most meaningful and its deepest. Alan Moore's scripts still stand out as gems of pace, characterization, and tone.
These eight stories have been reviewed time and time again over the last 25 years, so let me concentrate here on presentation, which is excellent. The hardcover is very well made with a simple yet striking cover. The paper quality is good but not super-white like the original trade paperback reprints, doing justice to both the line art and Tatjana Wood's colors, which still put most modern comics to shame. All told, these tales probably never looked better, not even in their original publications.
The volume opens with a brand-new introduction by artist Stephen Bissette that provides some context behind the stories and history of their publication. Possibly for the first time, this essay allows us to understand that many of the ideas in this book came not only from Alan Moore but from Bissette and collaborator John Totleben. Bissette also puts some of these stories into their historical context, especially the "Nukeface Papers" serial, which was inspired in part by the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant just six years earlier.
If you've never read Moore's Swamp Thing stories before, you're in for a treat. If you have read them, this is definitely the edition to revisit. Well worth the $25 cover price.
Reviewed by John R. Platt on July 13, 2012
Saga of the Swamp Thing, Book Three