Friday, February 6, 2009

Saga of The Swamp Thing #14 - June 1983

The Phantom Stranger teams-up with the Swamp Thing!

The Phantom Stranger makes a final bow in Saga of the Swamp Thing, with a two-part guest-appearance with the star of the book.

This two-parter is guest-written by Dan Mishkin, with art by Bo & Scott Hampton, in a story called "Crystal Visions, Shattered Dreams!":

The story kicks off in a laboratory inside Broder Electronics, and we see its owner, Nathaniel Broder, as he experiments with crystalline structures.

Of course, things go wrong rather quickly, as an explosion fills the lab with dangerous chemicals, leaving his wife Sally outside, unable to get in and save him. When she tries, The Phantom Stranger appears and tells her that Nat is making sure no one else suffers from his experiments, by locking the lab up from the inside.

Later, we see employees of the company secretly dumping vats of dangerous chemicals in a nearby swamp. What they don't see is startling:
Sally learns that her late husband's company is dumping the chemicals, and she is having none of it, demanding the two men in charge meet her in her office.

Meanwhile, Swamp Thing discovers a field of...sand? Sand in the swamp?

Guess what Swampy, there's even more strange things going on:
The crystal creature fights Swamp Thing, eventually blasting him with an energy beam emitting from his hand, setting Swamp Thing on fire!

Later on, we see Sally and some of the company's employees investigating the damage their chemical dumping is doing--its turning all the swamp into sand, and the damage is spreading!

Swamp Thing is able to recover, and meets up with the people, as well as another stranger:
They all encounter the crystal creature later that day, and it finds a way to talk to them, and we can see that poor Nat Broder has turned insane, and drunk with power.

He and Swamp Thing fight again, and the crystal creature actually manages to turn Swamp Thing into crystal! He then turns to face his wife, and the Phantom Stranger reappears to warn him of the irreversible damage he is causing:
To be continued!

The Hamptons' art here I find especially nice, I like the setting sun in the background, it gives the story an added moodiness you don't see much. And Dan Mishkin does a good job pairing up two characters not known for saying much, yet making it work.

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