Friday, January 30, 2009

Saga of The Swamp Thing #10 - Feb. 1983

The Phantom Stranger in "...By All That's Holy!"

Part two of the story involving the haunted St. Sebastian's, we ended last issue with the head of the construction company, a man named Malley, as he tries to see who tried to kill him so he wouldn't tear the church down.

When he got to the church's balcony, he and The Phantom Stranger were met by stone statues that came to life! But the weirdness just begins there:

They then meet who is in charge of all this demonic hugger-mugger:
I love how comfortable the Stranger looks when dealing with beings like this. Fred Carillo even gives him a slight smile in the second panel! All part of the job when you're The Phantom Stranger.

Turns out these beings are the magical, mutated descendants of a group of people who were burned at the stake for practicing witchcraft. They ended up hiding in this church to be safe from persecution, where they have stayed ever since.

Once they were discovered by the church's pastor, they killed him to keep him silent. Now they have a similar fate in store for Malley and the Stranger!

They are tied to the church's massive bell, and then Rasputin brings out a magical replica of a tabernacle, which represents the gargoyle's first time they stayed in the church and found food and safety. Once its broken open, the bell will be rung. But that's not what happens--instead, the tabernacle emits a high-pitched scream:
A few days later, deconstruction of the church begins again. As two of his workers carry out one of the gargoyle statues, they comment on having never seen something so lifelike.

Malley mentions having indeed seen something like that, once before...

I found this story a little confusing, as to how the Stranger and Malley get free, and how Rasputin and his gargoyles are defeated, exactly, but with only six pages to work with, the story had to move a brisk clip. In any case, Fred Carrillo does a great job, especially on the fifth page, which is dynamically rendered.

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