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    Swamp Thing # 46, 47 48 - Moore, Bissette, Totleben Woch

    Swamp Thing # 46, 47 48 - Moore, Bissette, Totleben Woch
    Stephen Bissette & John Totleben
    The red skies gleam on the horizon, time melts as different eras amalgamate with each other, the weather patterns all over the globe have gone crazy. The end is nigh. And Alan Moore forces us to see the extent of the damage: “Something was eating the sky. Everyone who’s ever hoped to be long dead by doomsday looked up, and the feeling in their stomachs was just as they’d always known it would be”. 

    Revelations” (published in Swamp Thing # 46, March 1986) begins as a Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover and ends up on a very disturbing note. In 1986, DC Comics set about the difficult mission of streamlining their heroes. Crisis on Infinite Earths was the first mega-event conceived to alter the status quo (“Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And the DC Universe will never be the same”). 

    In “Revelations”, Swamp Thing and John Constantine are transported to the Monitor’s satellite, where every superhero of the DC Universe has been summoned. Thousands of characters “a surreal and glimmering mardi gras of costumes… and semblances too strange… to be costumes” heed the call of Alexander Luthor. Earth, the galaxy, the entire universes and all parallel realities and dimensions are about to be destroyed. And every hero must play its role. Alexander Luthor holds a brief but meaningful audience with Swamp Thing and John Constantine. Others will take care of the preservation of Earth in the physical plane, but saving the spiritual plane is a priority. 

    The final three pages are a masterwork of the horror genre, as Sister Ann Marie –one of Constantine’s associates– looks for help in the most awful neighborhoods of London. Something tells her she’s being followed. Then she takes the subway, and still she’s being hunted. Trapped in a subterranean station, she must do everything she can to escape from the shadows. She runs, but she knows she can’t outrun death. Stephen Bissette and John Totleben capture the claustrophobic essence of the subterranean, the feeling of entombment; with profound black lines and large shadows, they meticulously carve the face of the nun –an old woman– and make her look even more wrinkled. We could say that Bissette and Totleben are kings of the realm of the night, but in the initial pages of “Revelations” it’s clear that they also rule in the realm of the day: their portrayal of hordes of clean and shiny superheroes is stunning, their interpretation of the young Alexander Luthor is both dazzling and faithful to the original George Pérez version. 

    When John Constantine appeared for the first time, he promised Swamp Thing knowledge. And now he finally fulfills his promise in “The Parliament of Trees” (April 1986). Charles Shaar Murray, in the prologue makes the following statement: “‘The Parliament of Trees’ with its taut, raging dissection of the intimate connections between voyeurism and puritanism, sows the first seeds of the explosion which will carry Swamp Thing –and Abby– far beyond the climax of ‘American Gothic’”. Deep in a South-American forest, there is a place inhabited by other elemental creatures, they’ve been there for centuries and they were all once like Swamp Thing. Full of questions, Swamp Thing lets his roots grow near to the roots of the other elementals, and he establishes a dialogue with them mediated neither by the sound of voice nor the rationale of humans. Nevertheless, the Parliament of Trees rejects Swamp Thing. “They were creatures… like me… like me… and they cast me out”. Artists Stan Woch and Ron Randall reproduce the beauty of nature and together create exquisite designs that combine the human anatomy with the shape of trees.
    Swamp Thing # 46, 47 48 - Moore, Bissette, Totleben Woch
    Alexander Luthor and the heroes of the DC Universe /
    Alexander Luthor y los héroes del Universo DC


    A Murder of Crows” is the conclusion of the American Gothic saga. Everything has been leading up to this final confrontation with the forces of the Brujería. John Constantine had orchestrated his plan and forced Swamp Thing to travel across the nation to face the undiluted presence of evil for one reason: so that he might be prepared to fight against a secret cult that intends to conquer the spiritual plane. 

    Most of Constantine’s colleagues have been murdered, but those who have survived travel with him to the Patagonia, to the cave where the Brujería is hidden. But nothing goes according to plan, Swamp Thing and John Constantine barely escape alive. The mission is a complete failure. Meanwhile, back in Louisiana, a newspaper has run a photography that shows a naked Abigail being intimate with a creature of the swamp. Accused of being a sex offender, she’s fired from her job and arrested immediately afterwards.


    Although in previous chapters we’ve seen John Totleben focusing only on inking, in “A Murder of Crows” he proves to be every bit as genius in his capacity of penciler, adding richly detailed textures to Swamp Thing’s body, sculpting figures in the dark as if they were made out of clay, showing us the horror of the cave and the human remains while concealing other aspects (and thus igniting our imagination). Totleben’s dynamism and panel arrangement also deserve as much praise as possible. 
    Swamp Thing # 46, 47 48 - Moore, Bissette, Totleben Woch
    The Parliament of Trees / El parlamento de los árboles
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    Swamp Thing # 46, 47 48 - Moore, Bissette, Totleben Woch
    American Gothic: vampires, werewolves, zombis and more /
    American Gothic: vampiros, hombres lobo, zombies y más

    Los cielos rojos surcan el horizonte, el tiempo se derrite mientras diferentes eras se amalgaman entre sí, los patrones climáticos enloquecen en todo el mundo. El fin está cerca. Y Alan Moore nos obliga a ver la extensión del daño: "Algo estaba comiéndose el cielo. Todos los que habían esperado morir mucho antes del día del apocalipsis miraron hacia arriba, y la sensación en sus estómagos era justo como supieron siempre que sería".

    “Revelaciones” (publicado en Swamp Thing # 46, marzo de 1986) empieza como un crossover de las Crisis en Tierras Infinitas y termina de manera muy perturbadora. En 1986, DC Comics emprendió la difícil tarea de reestructurar a sus héroes. Crisis en Tierras Infinitas fue el primer mega-evento concebido para alterar el status quo ("Mundos vivirán. Mundos morirán. Y el Universo DC nunca volverá a ser el mismo").

    En “Revelaciones”, la Cosa del Pantano y John Constantine son transportados al satélite del Monitor, allí han sido convocados todos los superhéroes del universo DC. Miles de personajes “un carnaval surreal y luminoso de disfraces... y apariencias demasiado extrañas... para ser disfraces” obedecen la llamada de Alexander Luthor. La Tierra, la galaxia, universos enteros y todas las realidades y dimensiones paralelas están a punto de ser destruidas. Y cada héroe debe desempeñar un rol. Alexander Luthor tiene una breve pero significativa audiencia con la Cosa del Pantano y John Constantine. Otros se encargarán de preservar la Tierra en el plano físico, pero salvar el plano espiritual es una prioridad.
    Swamp Thing # 46, 47 48 - Moore, Bissette, Totleben Woch
    John Constatine against the darkness (art by John Totleben) / John Constatine contra la oscuridad (arte de John Totleben)

    Las tres páginas finales son una obra maestra del género de terror, la hermana Ann Marie –una de las aliadas de Constantine– busca ayuda en los barrios más horribles de Londres. Algo le dice que está siendo seguida. Entonces toma el metro pero sigue siendo acechada. Atrapada en una estación subterránea, ella deberá hacer todo lo que pueda para escapar de las sombras. Corre, pero sabe que no puede correr más rápido que la muerte. Stephen Bissette y John Totleben capturan la esencia claustrofóbica del subterráneo, la sensación de estar en una tumba; con líneas negras profundas y largas sombras, tallan meticulosamente la cara de la monja -una anciana- y la hacer ver aún más arrugada. Podríamos decir que Bissette y Totleben son reyes del reino de la noche, pero en las páginas iniciales de “Revelaciones” queda claro que también dominan el reino del día: es estupendo el retrato de las hordas de limpios y relucientes superhéroes, y la interpretación del joven Alexander Luthor es asombrosa y fiel a la versión original de George Pérez.
    Swamp Thing # 46, 47 48 - Moore, Bissette, Totleben Woch
    Inside the cave of the Brujería / Dentro de la cueva de la Brujería

    Cuando John Constantine apareció por primera vez, le prometió a la Cosa del Pantano conocimiento. Y ahora finalmente cumple su promesa en "El parlamento de los árboles" (abril 1986). Charles Shaar Murray, en el prólogo, afirma lo siguiente: “‘El parlamento de los árboles’ con su firme y furibunda disección de las conexiones íntimas entre voyerismo y puritanismo, planta las primeras semillas de la explosión que llevará a la Cosa del Pantano –y a Abby– mucho más allá del clímax de ‘American Gothic’”. En la profundidad de una selva sudamericana, hay un lugar habitado por otras criaturas elementales, han estado allí durante siglos y todos fueron como la Cosa del Pantano alguna vez. Lleno de preguntas, la Cosa del Pantano deja que sus raíces crezcan cerca de las raíces de los otros elementales, y establece un diálogo con ellos que no es desvirtuado por la voz ni por la racionalidad humana. No obstante, el parlamento de los árboles rechaza a la  Cosa del Pantano. "Ellos eran criaturas... como yo... como yo... y me han abandonado". Los artistas Stan Woch y Ron Randall reproducen la belleza de la naturaleza y juntos crean diseños exquisitos que combinan la anatomía humana con la forma de los árboles.

    "Un asesinato de cuervos" es la conclusión de la saga American Gothic. Todo confluye en la confrontación final con las fuerzas de la Brujería. Constantine ha fraguado un plan y ha obligado a la Cosa del Pantano a viajar a lo largo de la nación para enfrentarse a la presencia indisoluble del mal con un objetivo: para que pueda prepararse para la pelea contra un culto secreto que pretende conquistar el plano espiritual.

    Muchos de los colegas de Constantine han sido asesinados, pero aquellos que sobreviven viajan con él hasta la Patagonia, a la cueva donde se oculta la Brujería. Pero nada va de acuerdo al plan, la Cosa del Pantano y John Constantine apenas escapan con vida. La misión es un completo fracaso. Mientras tanto, en Luisiana, un periódico ha publicado una fotografía que muestra a una Abigail desnuda en un momento de intimidad con una criatura del pantano. Acusada de ser una depravada sexual, es despedida de su trabajo y velozmente arrestada. 

    Aunque en capítulos previos hemos visto a John Totleben enfocándose solamente en el entintado, en "Un asesinato de cuervos" demuestra que es más que genial en su capacidad como dibujante a lápiz, añadiendo texturas ricamente detalladas al cuerpo de la Cosa del Pantano, esculpiendo figuras en la oscuridad como si estuviesen hechas de arcilla, mostrándonos el horror de la cueva y los restos humanos mientras oculta otros aspectos (encendiendo así nuestra imaginación). El dinamismo de Totleben y la distribución de viñetas también merecen todos los elogios posibles.

    Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2013/09/swamp-thing-46-47-48-moore-bissette.html

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    About the Author - Arion


    Arion, who is either from Chile or New York (it’s not really clear) writes a blog that the Outhouse steals on a regular basis.  Arion is by far the nicest of all the staff writers and the most well behaved only having been banned from one country.  One thing we really appreciate about Aroin is that he writes his reviews in English and Spanish and we hope someday he’ll translate this blurb for us.  We’re not so good at languages, just look at how well we write in English if you need proof.  You should bookmark Arion’s blog -  http://artbyarion.blogspot.com – and actually look at it.  There will be a quiz at the end of every month.

     


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