Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mucking About #6 - A Clockwork Horror!

The sixth issue of Swamp Thing was the first issue of the series I bought off the stands and read in its original format at the time. It made a huge impression, but alas back in them days getting hold of back issues was damn near impossible.

The story begins in the office of Matt Cable where he gets a new assignment to investigate a weird town in Vermont. Abigail Cable is there and tags along. Swamp Thing meanwhile falls off a vegetable truck (appropriate) outside that very same town and is met by his dead wife Linda Holland. He faints. Matt and Abigail head to the town along with the dog they've dragged across two continents which as it turns out is still bugged so Mister E along with his pet ape of the Conclave is still hearing their every word. "Linda Holland" introduces Swamp Thing to her husband "Alec" and the the two of them take him to meet the mayor of the quaint European-style hamlet an eccentric clockmaker named Hans Klochmann. It turns out he can build more than clocks, in fact he has built the entire town and populated it with his own mechanical creations, the faces for which he takes from obituary pages. "Linda" takes Swamp Thing on a walk outside of town as Matt and Abigail arrive to confront Klochmann. The Conclave then does what it hasn't done since issue number one, take action and Mister E sends a squad of henchman and a robotic servant to the town to issue an ultimatum. Matt and Abigail are kidnapped and taken to Conclave headquarters while the weird robot starts to destroy the town to force Klochmann to work for the Conclave. Swamp Thing and "Linda" return, but "Linda" is destroyed which infuriates the Swamp Thing who attacks the  robot and ultimately destroys him. But then Klochmann is killed protecting Swamp Thing and the up-to-then friendly robots take revenge on the gunmen in an orgy of destruction which demolishes everyone and everything. Swamp Thing takes his leave and gets on a train car to Gotham where he now believes the Conclave might be holding Matt Cable. He takes that darned dog too.

The artwork in this one is lush and downright beautiful. Wrightson is at the height of his powes on this issue which finally at last begins to follow up on the Conclave storyline from the debut. After an issue free of Matt Cable, his presence here is no less grating since despite being labeled a great detective he seems utterly incapable of seeing what is before his face or drawing proper conclusions. He's an angry bonehead who is lucky he's got a pretty chick like Abigail hanging around him.

I loved Berni's robot in this one, a bird-like creation who gives Swamp Thing a battle if briefly. The Conclave henchmen are pretty generic, but that's what the story demanded I guess. This one felt more like an episode of The Twilight Zone than an episode in the Swamp Thing story, but it has proven to be a memorable comic.

And then there's the dog. He has been part of the story from the beginning and now he has found his way to Swamp Thing. It can't be good.

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