Sunday, January 25, 2009

Saga of The Swamp Thing #6 - Oct. 1982

The Phantom Stranger in "...Till Death Do Us Join"!

Dan Spiegle is back as the artist for the Phantom Stranger back-up, and we're also back to the kinds of stories the Stranger starred in before the Tannarak two-parter.

This story opens with the young woman being attended to suddenly dying, for no good reason. As the paramedics cart her body off, we cut to a high-rise, where we see...the same young woman!:
The Phantom Stranger demands that this man--who presumably is Death itself--give Margaret Brennan "back", because it is not her time.

Death refuses, and The Phantom Stranger actually threatens Death. Even Death is a little taken aback.

But the Margaret interjects, and says her life was lonely and miserable, and she doesn't want to go back. She...loves Death! Eww!

Outside the door, they hear a small child crying. Death basically tries to shuffle the kid into the Great Beyond, but he's scared and resists. Margaret takes the kid, calms him down, and assures the kid that his Daddy is waiting for him on the other side. When the kid hears his Dad call for him, he cheerfully heads into the light, disappearing.

Margaret has found the calling in Death she never found in life
I find this story profoundly creepy. There's something about the matter-of-fact manner in which its told: Dan Spiegle eschews moody shadows and instead goes for the boring, tasteful look of your average upper-end hotel; it just happens to house Death and a portal to the other side.

Also, I like how The Phantom Stranger has the cojones to threaten Death itself, and yet Margaret pushes him aside--she wants to be dead. *shudder*

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