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Friday, June 7, 2013

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin - DC Comics Presents #85

So, Alan Moore... yeah, I got nothing. He's not one of my favorite writers, but I do like his stories.

This third story for the Month of Superman is going to look at a story from acclaimed writer Alan Moore. He's known for a lot of things like his run on Swamp Thing, Supreme, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V for Vendetta, and some random book called Watchmen. He's also done a couple of things for Superman. Two of the stories he's penned are known to be some of the best Superman stories of all time. The story I'm looking at today is not either of them though. It's from the book DC Comics Presents which was a Superman team-up book.

Of course, the writer is Alan Moore. The penciller is some guy named Rick Veitch. I've never heard of him till now, but I've read that he was an artist on Swamp Thing. That makes sense since Moore was writing that book at the time. The inker is the late Al Williamson. I don't know much about him either, but it looks like he made a long career out of being an inker.

DC Comics Presents #85
Writer: Alan Moore
Penciller: Rick Veitch
Inker: Al Williamson

"The Jungle Line"
The issue starts out as we see someone driving erratically down a highway. It turns out to be Clark at the wheel and he's looking sick as a dog. He's also carrying some sort of weird rock in the passenger seat. The captions state that he is heading down South to die.

We then flashback to a few days or weeks ago. Clark, Lana, and other reporters are at a press conference where a scientist is talking about a meteorite he had recently found. He states that the rock isn't important but  the orange fungus that's growing on the rock is important. It's revealed by Clark's telescopic vision that  the rock is from Krypton. He also remembers that the fungus, called Bloodmorel, has deadly side effects on Kryptonians.  A few days after the conference, Clark starts to experience some weird stuff with his powers. Sometimes his powers would completely give out on him, but they would come back over time. He also starts to experience weird hallucinations and I mean "clothes talking to you" weird.

Well, I got nothing on this pic. Anyone got any suggestions???

Eventually, he only sees one option: get the rock from the scientist to find an antidote. Unfortunately, his powers completely give out when he is trying to study it. He decides that he wants to be left alone to die, so he rents a car under the alias of "Cal Ellis" and heads south.
I'm sorry, but those heads were just weird. Also, why not call up Bruce, the greatest man in the world? He'd probably find the antidote.

We come back to the Present and Clark crashes his car. He's able to escape his car, but he then starts to hallucinate that he's in Krypton's Scarlet Jungle and passes out. After a while, Swamp Thing just shows up out of nowhere. He doesn't recognize Superman since his costume's covered. In Superman's mind, he sees all sorts of weird creatures and tries to fight them. In the real world, Swamp Thing sees the rock and fungus. He touches the fungus and senses that it is not from this world. He then starts to recognizes Superman as Superman wakes up still hallucinating and attacks him.

Oh no, he's he's turning into Frank Miller's Batman!!!

Superman blasts Swamp Thing with heat vision and then goes on a rampage in the forest with his powers. Swamp Thing knows that this could kill Superman, so he grabs the rock  and touches Superman to get in his mind. Believing Swampie (...) is a hallucination, Superman attacks him in his mind. Fortunately, Swampie is able to convince Superman in stopping his rampage. To quell the raging heat within (seriously, Superman is burning up) Swamp Thing uses his powers of the green to save Superman... and yeah, these dudes is holding hands! Awww...
This needs some music... no, not Boyz 2 Men. Just some friendly music. Also, apologies for using this song. I know I am never letting my kids watch Barney. 

In the real world, Swamp thing breaks contact with Superman's mind now that Superman's better. Swamp Thing leaves him there to rest and heal up. The next day, Superman wakes up. His powers are back and he's better. He busts out of his civilian clothes to reveal his suit. He then grabs a mirror from his car and his it and his heat vision to shave the stubble off his face. Now that the fungus can't hurt him, he grabs the rock and flies off. Somewhere in a swamp, Swamp Thing sees that Superman is better and is happy. 

....................................

This was a good, weird issue. One reason I chose it for this month is because it is so far from a normal Superman book. Superman is pretty much sick and hallucinating for a majority of  the issue and it is kinda scary especially in the forest where he goes all "real wrath of God mode" on the forest. I don't know too much about Swamp Thing, but I think he's used well here. This is a pretty unusual team-up. It's not really even a team-up. Swamp Thing just shows up out of nowhere for no reason. I don't think Superman even knew Swampie was even there. As I said, this is a weird book.

I like the art. I especially like how detailed a crazed, sick Superman looked. I also liked the look of the Scarlet Jungle. It was so surreal and pretty creepy. While there were a couple of small gaffes (those heads, man), the artwork as a whole was good. I don't really have any complaints, but I do have a couple of questions: why didn't Superman contact any of his friends or the JLA? They probably could have helped him. I'm guessing either he knew that nothing could be done or the sickness was already getting to him at that time. Also, why was Swamp Thing just walking around in the forest and why didn't he stick around? Maybe our Green Guy is shy. Oh well... it was still a good issue. 

Well, I think it's time to go forward and look at a  storyline from the 90's. All I can say about these issues is "Oooh  Boy."

NEXT TIME: TIME TRAVEL!! 'NUFF SAID!

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