Monday, June 30, 2008

Swamp Thing: A Murder of Crows

I can't say I was ever a big Alan Moore fan. I'd read collections of the early Wein/Wrightson Swamp Thing as a kid, and even picked up the first issue or two of "Saga" by Marty Pasko Tom Yeates, and liked them okay. When the rare Moore issue of the book winded its way to a Seven-Eleven though, it always left my young mind quizzical. I wasn't sure what it was, but I knew of its mystique, and I didn't get it. On the other hand, I did enjoy his odd Green Lantern Corps tales, so where was my personal disconnect?

On reading this collection of issues #43-50, I finally got it-- I don't like Moore in long form. "Windfall" is a nifty little tale about the highly individualized reactions by people eating of the Swamp Thing's "flesh." I enjoyed the gimmick of "Bogeyman," especially the punchline. The reference to Clive Barker's "Books of Blood" did remind me that Moore was at best only of his time though, allowing him "visionary" status just in relation to the culturally clueless comic book industry. "Ghost Dance" was another ripping yarn, though only production values would have prohibited its inclusion in one of the British "Tales From The Crypt" movies. I enjoyed that trio.

Then came the tie-ins to "Crisis On Infinite Earths," and an apocalyptic side story of same leading to the big anniversary issue. In the case of "Watchmen," I understand the anti-climax was an intended shock to the system, but that doesn't explain why a great many of Moore's other lengthy works peter out in a much less effective fashion. Despite a great deal of effort to lend the story weight, this "epic" always feels small and clumsy. I knew by "The Parliament of Trees," 2/5ths in, roughly how it would all end. The two issues following had enough curves to retain my interest, but the use of the rule of three in the final chapter had be whincing. "Could this be any more obvious? Is that all there is?" Further, I fail to see what point the seance that claimed the lives of two decades-old DC characters served. Not a single noteworthy fatality in hell itself, but a bunch of voyeurs drop like flies? I do wonder if there was a metatextual connection to the Crisis with the hands at the end, but unless one story is directly tied to another in this manner, all that "everything's changed" hubbab was just more empty hype.

Finally, while the illustrations generally serve the story well, there are stretches, especially toward the end, where the artistry becomes decidedly dubious. Lots of style masks some very loose layouts in the finale especially.

All in all, I'd still recommend "A Murder of Crows," but with obvious caveats. I swear, this deification of Alan Moore, when a major component of his landmark run gets only passing Nurgile grades...

For more on this story, click here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for this tips


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