Sunday, February 1, 2009

Saga of The Swamp Thing #11 - March 1983

The Phantom Stranger in "And I Shall Stand In The Shadow of Death"!

Old Phantom Stranger scribe Paul Levitz stepped in for this installment, which opens with the Stranger telling us the story of a woman in great torment as she watches her mother die:

The woman, named Millicent, unplugs her mother's feeding tube so she doesn't have to suffer any longer.

As her mother dies, The Phantom Stranger is there to confront her. He offers Millicent a glimpse of the fate she has just consigned her mother to:
Off in the distance off this disturbing place is Millicent's mother (or is it merely a shadow, an illusion?), and she watches as her mother is confronted by Death itself!

Death attacks her mother with a group of snake-like creatures, which her mother fights off with pleasant images from her past--her husband, and Millicent as a child--which seem to overcome the demonic apparitions.

The Stranger tells Millicent that those images mean her mother is still fighting to live, and that should not be interfered with. They return to the real world of her mother's hospital room:
Wow, this is a really huge issue Levitz is tackling here--euthanasia--and attempting to do so in just six pages must have seemed like a Herculean task.

Its pretty obvious from how the Stranger acts that he is against it, at least in an instance where the person is still fighting to live--something, of course, only someone with his extraordinary powers could ever know.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you analysis. It's easy to have such strong convictions when you're privy to special information.

Richard said...

Oh my. I really don't like that blatantly direct preaching at the reader -- and I wouldn't like it any better even if I agreed with the sentiments expressed, which as it happens I do not -- and I'm very surprised Paul was responsible for such a thing. I'd have to call this a rare but serious lapse of judgement on his part.

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