Vampirella 2 (July 2014)

Vampirella #2

It would be so much easier to read Vampirella if her costume weren’t so atrocious. I mean, come on–Collins writes her as an espionage agent for the Vatican. She should have appropriate attire.

The comic’s strangely not terrible, with Collins writing her protagonist a lot better than the book seems to deserve. There’s a whole bunch of exposition and it goes on way too long, but every few pages, Collins writes a good moment for Vampirella and it’s an acceptable read. More nonsense, good moment, once again acceptable.

Another problem is Berkenkotter’s lack of imagination. He does a Max Schreck Nosferatu visual homage only it’s not done with any humor or acknowledgement of doing a visual homage. It’s supposed to be serious and instead it flops. If it’s going to be goofy and nostalgic, make it goofy and nostalgic.

Collins reveals her setup for the arc; it seems fine.

C 

CREDITS

Writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Patrick Berkenkotter; inker, Dennis Crisostomo; colorist, Jorge Sutil; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Hannah Gorfinkel, Molly Mahan and Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Vampirella 1 (June 2014)

Vampirella #1

It’s difficult to take Vampirella seriously with that costume. Even though writer Nancy A. Collins does come up with a decent plot and a couple good twists (and a lame soft cliffhanger), the costume hurts the comic quite a bit. It just says, “We aren’t that serious.”

Another big problem is how Collins paces out the narrative. There’s a prologue with a family in danger, then Vampirella coming to investigate and then an action sequence and then, finally, Collins taking the time to establish the character. Collins uses third person narration for it; while lamely presented in a text box, the narration itself is good.

Strangely, even though the comic doesn’t seem to have much promise–the art from Patrick Berkenkotter and Dennis Crisostomo is adequate if uninspired mainstream stuff (too slick to be scary)–the comic’s still compelling. Collins’s two good twists are excellent, making Vampirella a definite curiosity.

C 

CREDITS

Writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Patrick Berkenkotter; inker, Dennis Crisostomo; colorist, Jorge Sutil; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Hannah Gorfinkel, Molly Mahan and Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Swamp Thing 138 (December 1993)

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I’m not sure Collins’s version of adult relationships would even work in a kids cartoon. Odd place to start, but she really does expect after Abby running off with ponytail guy–willfully abandoning Tefé as a freak–Alec would all of a sudden make house with Lady Jane?

And then there’s Constantine pointing out if Abby really does care about her kid, she’s not really worth much. Except Collins wrote Abby’s adventures with her as the sympathetic protagonist.

Oh, and the hair. Alec gets rid of the grey Swamp Thing look and goes back to the normal one. But then for the finish he grows big long green rock star hair. It’s idiotic.

This issue’s Collins’s last one, thank goodness. Her run started so strong and then got so unbearably bad.

There’s nothing to recommend this issue–though Eaton’s better than usual–except how speedily it reads. It’s simply awful.

CREDITS

And in the End…; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Tim Harkins; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

Swamp Thing 137 (November 1993)

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Collins reveals Arcane’s master plan. After a hundred plus issues, dying multiple times, going to Hell, escaping Hell, going back to Hell, old Anton has exactly the same plan he had when he first appeared.

But the lack of ambition from penciller Braun actually helps out here. One can’t confuse Swamp Thing with a good comic anymore, not with Arcane dragging hostage Abby out like the Bride of Frankenstein at the end, not with Collins turning the guy Abby went out with once into the love of her life.

Not with Braun giving Constantine some slicked back nineties hair.

The comic’s a joke. Laughing helps one get through it. Collins has seven or eight characters to manage in the issue and she does awful with them. There’s not a single honest conversation; though she does get in a pointless origin of a villain.

Pointless sums it up in general, actually.

CREDITS

Dead Relatives; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Russell Braun; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterers, Tim Harkins and John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

Swamp Thing 136 (October 1993)

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I assumed Collins would handle the return of Arcane, Alec’s embrace with Lady Jane and everything else this issue rather poorly. But she outdoes herself. It’s even worse than expected–possibly because Arcane reveals himself here, which seems somewhat early. But there are a lot of suspects for Collins’s worst move.

First, Alec and Lady Jane get busy. Alec thinks about how much better it is than with Abby. Meanwhile–a day or two after leaving her family–Abby’s going out on a date with some guy. Now, an implication could be neither wanted the romance (and Collins directly suggests it in a flashback) but just got thrown into it.

Then, you know, they had a kid. Except both ignore the kid to get busy with members of their own species and bad things happen.

Russell Braun’s pencils don’t help things either. All his figures are stunted.

It’s entirely dreadful.

CREDITS

Cross Pollination; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Russell Braun; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

Swamp Thing 135 (September 1993)

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Let’s see. Of all the lame turns in this issue, I think Tefé all of a sudden being old enough to form questions is the worst. She’s concerned about Alec, who has rooted in his sorrow at Abby’s leaving him.

Abby, meanwhile, has already found a new romantic interest thanks to Constantine. It’s all very contrived–and unclear how the new guy is a better choice for her than Chester, except maybe he’s taller. Collins is all of a sudden cheapening the relationship between Alec and Abby. It’s unclear why, especially since it’s requiring her to make big changes in the characters. Not just as how others wrote them, but how she herself did.

Oh, and Arcane is possessing Sunderland. It combines Swamp Thing’s two main villains, but removes half the personality. It’s a really lame move, like all the other ones this issue.

The comic’s become a train wreck.

CREDITS

Marital Problems; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

Swamp Thing 134 (August 1993)

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What’s so funny about this issue is how Collins clearly thinks she’s telling it from Abby’s point of view. Besides the physiologically unlikely scene where Alec cries, most of the comic–the significant bits anyway–follows Abby. And Collins also does have Chester perv on her. Literally a moment after she has a big fight with Alec. No wonder Liz left him.

Oh, and Collins does touch on Abby abandoning Tefé. Alec mentions it and Abby tells him not to “throw it in her face” or something to that effect. But she never talks about it. If Collins were telling the story from Abby’s point of view, her decisions would make sense. They might not seem rational, but they would make sense from the character’s viewpoint.

But not here.

It’s a weak issue. Luckily, with Eaton’s hit or miss (mostly miss) art, it almost never reminds of good Swamp Thing.

CREDITS

She’s Leaving Houma; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

Swamp Thing 133 (July 1993)

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Is Eaton trying visually infer romantic feelings between Chester and Abby? It’s the first such occurrence and I’m sure it’s unintentional, but it’s far more interesting than anything else this issue.

Except maybe the stuff with Tefé. When she gets tough towards the end of the issue, Collins writes the scene rather well. Otherwise, the issue’s a mess.

One character dies in front of a sheriff, who doesn’t even file a report, then Abby runs off in the middle of a huge tragedy. She abandons Tefé, which seems somewhat unlikely. Then there are all the scenes with the giant petal monster. They don’t work because it’s viciously killing a bunch of people instead of being a fun giant monster fight.

It’s not the worst issue Collins has written lately, but it’s far from good or even mediocre.

And Swamp Thing still rocking his inexplicable, dumb-looking, shaggy grey hair cut.

CREDITS

Daisy Chain; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

Swamp Thing 132 (June 1993)

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Collins can’t write a fight issue, especially not one where she desperately needs one side to win to progress Swamp Thing. Or maybe it should have gone the other way. She’s got Alec fighting clone Alec. Regular Alec now looks grey with antlers, clone Alec is the traditional green Swamp Thing.

They fight for seventy-five percent of the comic, then Alec ends the fight in a page. He just didn’t know his elemental powers.

It’s really lame and not just because Collins has made Alec so unaware of himself he’s a painful protagonist. The other lame things involve a former Nazi gubernatorial candidate trying to take Tefé away (through the law). It’s both odd and inept, with Collins’s attempts at social commentary flopping.

The best part of the comic is how fast it reads. I am not entirely which of the many options I would pick for worst part.

CREDITS

Home Body; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

Swamp Thing 131 (May 1993)

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I don’t remember Swamp Thing ever having a costume change before. Except for special occasions, like when he went through space or time. Collins and Eaton give Alec a costume change, complete with rock star hair and spikes… it’s awful and it’s dumb. Even though Alec can travel from place to place, he can’t grow his body in some other way.

More of Collins’s convenient power limitations for the character.

Most of the issue is spent getting Alec well again after the toxic waste. He meets some elves and they use magic to fix him up; he looks funny because of the elf magic. Collins’s pacing of the issue is atrocious. The introduction of a strange race reminds of the old Wein clockmaker children issue except Collins grossly misspends the issue’s time.

And these days, it’s always bad when Swamp Thing reminds of older issues. Collins’s stuff is never better.

CREDITS

Folk Remedy; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

Swamp Thing 130 (April 1993)

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I think I figured out what Collins is doing with Abby. She’s turned her into a generic nagging wife character; gone is the Eastern Europe history, gone is motherhood, gone is her strength as a person. Even though writers have occasionally been incompetent when it comes to Abby… Collins is the first to reduce her to a gender role. It’s odd. And rather unfortunate, because Swamp Thing needs Abby.

There’s one good bit when Tefé’s little flower people getting free will and warring with one another. It’s almost enough to offset the continued indication Alec and Abby have “regular”–let’s try mammalian–sex. Maybe I was wrong, maybe Collins hasn’t seen Return of Swamp Thing because even it got that activity right. By using the Moore explanation, of course.

Speaking of Moore, Collins continues to break apart lots of his work. It’s an okay issue in a now clumsy series.

CREDITS

Home Sick; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

Swamp Thing 129 (March 1993)

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Eaton (and Collins) give Swamp Thing long hair. Why? Because he’s losing control thanks to toxic waste and forgetting he’s not a man. Or something along those lines.

Apparently Alec can reanimate dead wood–a baseball bat–but he can’t get rid of this toxic waste. And Abby’s allowed to leave the swamp to visit Chester but Alec can’t leave to save the world.

Oh, can’t forget–Chester never thinks to say goodbye to Alec too.

Reading Swamp Thing is now just watching Collins make every single character unlikable and unsympathetic–hell, she never rehabilitated Tefé from killing her cat. It doesn’t offer anything else, except endless bad narration from Alec.

Someone else probably could have made the mundane plot work, but Collins isn’t cutting it. There’s nothing in the comic she seems to like. One can’t blame her, there’s nothing to like.

Well, it does read fast, I suppose.

CREDITS

Swamp Fever; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

Swamp Thing 128 (February 1993)

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Abby gets busy with the mindless clone Alec left–apparently all he programmed it to do was get busy, as it does nothing else all issue (and Collins’s understanding of Alec and Abby’s sex life is totally different from Moore or Veitch’s).

There’s a lot of narration from Alec about the Green and pollution and other malarkey. It’s all pointless, all questionably written, all a waste of time. Collins’s writing is stale at this point. She clearly didn’t have the mileage for an ongoing; it’s quite unfortunate as she started strong. Maybe editorial was just bad.

Eaton has some bad art this issue I’m sure, but the rest of the comic’s so lame it doesn’t matter.

Collins is doing whatever she can to make Abby the bad guy, even when Alec is wrong too. There’s no communication between them anymore. Collins unfortunately just uses their dialogue to propel the plot.

CREDITS

Toxic Shock; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 127 (January 1993)

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Whether intentional or not, the mad scientist lab and experiment in this issue remind a lot of The Return of Swamp Thing. Collins has embraced a–pardon the expression–comic book goofiness in her villain, General Sunderland’s daughter. It often plays like a parody of a good Swamp Thing comic as opposed to a real one.

For example, Alec promises Abby he won’t leave the swamp early in the issue (their first scene, actually). Of course he does by the finish. Collins doesn’t trust the reader to remember. It’s shockingly contrived.

Ditto for Chester, who is again announcing he’s leaving the comic. I find it hard to believe he and Abby hang out at diners when they need to gab. All of Collins’s inventiveness is gone at this point.

Maybe it’s because Eaton’s so weak. His art is terrible this issue, either awkward or static or both.

It’s very lame.

CREDITS

Project Proteus; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Greg Baker; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 125 (November 1992)

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It’s an anniversary issue and Collins brings back Arcane. She makes him somewhat comical, as he possesses baby Tefé and has her running around resurrecting his “evil dead.” I couldn’t believe they used that phrase. Clearly Sam Raimi doesn’t trademark well.

Abby and Alec freak out, the dead jazz guy shows up to help them, it goes on and on. There’s more of the Alec narration–not a lot, thank goodness. Collins doesn’t seem to understand the place of Arcane in the series. In Alec’s narration, he blames his battle with Arcane for not discovering his true elemental nature.

Maybe I read a different Swamp Thing but I’m pretty sure everyone used Arcane sparingly. Until he got to Hell; then he became good comic relief.

The cliffhanger–a soft one–foreshadows Arcane’s new body to inhabit. It’s not much of a surprise.

Collins has run out of ideas. It’s unfortunate.

CREDITS

Family Reunion; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 124 (October 1992)

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Talk about anti-climatic… Collins grows Swamp Thing to Godzilla-size for a reveal and then has him pass the buck at the end of the issue.

The story’s not bad. Presumably a former Swamp Thing made a deal with some South American natives who worshipped to the elemental (including blood sacrifices, which Alec reveals taste good in the soil) and now their descendants need help. They call their corn god and Alec arrives instead.

He helps them against the Sunderland Corporation, but it turns out not even Swamp Thing can defeat the military industrial complex. Or something.

Alec has a lot of interior monologue this issue–the most in years, I think–and it turns out he’s scared for his family. Being Swamp Thing doesn’t mean he can protect them from the bad guys.

Maybe he should dress up as a bat.

While not terrible, it’s far from good.

CREDITS

Husks; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Greg Baker; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 123 (September 1992)

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I think Eaton thinks he’s doing a Steve Bissette impression. If so, it’s not producing any good art. Lots of static panels and busy line work don’t make up for some actual movement.

There’s story movement though. Collins sends Chester away this issue–after Eaton’s practically turned him into an action hero, at least physically–and the evil Sunderland corporation is moving full steam ahead against Alec.

Except Alec knows about them, so why doesn’t he jump into a fern at their corporate headquarters? Because Collins makes him very, very weak except in the elemental action scenes. She’s pretty much spent all of her good momentum from when she took over. A three parter about a doctor moonlighting as a brainwashed assassin isn’t a good Swamp Thing.

The writing on Abby is getting weak too. With the nanny around, Abby’s become completely disinterested in her kid.

It’s dreadfully tepid stuff.

CREDITS

Punctures; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 122 (August 1992)

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Collins doesn’t improve here. Eaton might a little, even though his pencils become incredibly static. He finally puts noses on the cast, which outweighs his other inabilities at a talking heads issue.

But Collins. She splits the Sunderland threat apart–one from the maniacally evil Sunderland daughter herself and another, tangentially related one from the gubernatorial candidate Alec embarrassed–but both threats are idiotic. Even if Alec can’t sense when people are plotting against him–all he does this issue is bond a little with Lady Jane–they still don’t need to use goofy plans.

Swamp Thing hasn’t felt so contrived in a long time. Collins is mostly just using keywords and catchphrases. I hope so she recovers soon, because when she turns pacifist hippie Chester into Rocky Balboa, the issue just collapses. It becomes a spoof of itself.

Even cliffhanger’s absent any tension. Collins is spreading everything too thin.

CREDITS

The Eye of the Needle; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 121 (July 1992)

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Oh, good grief. All those nice things I said about Collins and this issue’s how she repays me.

Lady Jane has moved in. She apparently knows to read Tefé storybooks; there’s an implication Abby never did. Collins seems to have forgotten how she wrote Abby just a few issues ago (you know, as a protagonist and not a jerk).

Collins brings back Sunderland in the form of a previously undisclosed daughter to the late general. She’s out to get Alec, except she hasn’t been keeping tabs on him over the years. It’s all a coincidence she discovers he’s still around. Instead of, I don’t know, performing in Las Vegas. It’s idiotic.

Then, to make matters even worse, Collins brings in a goofy-named villain. It’s maybe Swamp Thing’s first goofy-named villain. It shouldn’t have any.

Eaton’s art is terrible. He’s painfully flat.

Just like the rest of the comic.

CREDITS

Laissez les Bon Temps Rulers; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 120 (June 1992)

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Bad news, good news. Eaton’s the regular penciller. In addition to Tefé’s undocumented nanny, Lady Jane, not having a nose, none of the other female characters seem to have much of one either. Certainly not enough to make their faces three dimensional.

Good news is Collins can write, which I already knew, but she choses to do so here. She tells Lady Jane’s origin story and she does it a lot better than the rest of the issue. It’s an unhappy story of early industrial age England, told from a woman’s perspective; it’s excellent.

The stuff with Alec being unsympathetic to Abby? Not excellent. Collins skips establishing Alec approving of Lady Jane as a nanny so his position on the matter makes no sense.

It’s only a few pages in the issue, but enough to show–juxtaposed against the Lady Jane origin–where Collins’s storytelling interests lie.

It’s mostly great.

CREDITS

Lady Jane; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 119 (May 1992)

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For the entire issue–which is incredibly fast paced as Alec and Abby try to find a kidnapped Tefé–Scot Eaton’s pencils are fine. There aren’t any amazing panels, but it all flows rather nicely. Until the final reveal, where Eaton goes entirely flat. It’s a full page too. It ends the issue poorly.

Otherwise, the issue’s pretty. Alec acting as a tracking dog for the cops is unlikely; I don’t believe he can’t sense Tefé’s location–can’t he talk to the trees or grass around her–but it’s dramatically successful. Collins hasn’t found a good balance for his power.

She also has a lot of exposition, which is again about the purple vengeance monster. It’s nothing she didn’t cover in the previous issue and now it’s just text to slow the reader. It doesn’t offer anything.

Collins tries to do too much this issue. She should’ve taken her time.

CREDITS

The Bad Man; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 118 (April 1992)

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A couple big things happen this issue. First is Collins’s handling of the Parliament of Trees. They haven’t been in the book since she came on and she handles them much differently than her predecessor. There’s practically a line of dialogue about it, about how things are going to be different from now on.

And much better. They’re not warriors or superheroes, but trees.

Then there’s the cat. Tefé kills her pet cat, which has always stuck with me. It kicks off a big arc–as I remember–but it’s a powerful scene. Collins hasn’t gotten into the big stuff with Swamp Thing yet; she’s kept Alec’s stories small. This one implies rather big things as Alec’s not able to rear Teré.

The purple revenge bog monster appears too, with Collins finally wrapping up that story arc (her first). Besides the monster’s (unnecessary) origin retelling, the issue is rather excellent.

CREDITS

A Child’s Garden; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 117 (March 1992)

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It’s a strange issue and should be a better one. Alec, Abby, Chester and their friends go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Alec acting like a regular guy plays really well and the issue seems fun. Jan Duursema’s pencils are straightforward, handling the realistic, fantastical nature of the parades and costumes.

Then Alec goes off on his own little side story and all of a sudden it’s page after page of art. No story content, just panels of his journey through Mardi Gras. It’s pointless and lengthy, especially after Collins finishes the subplot.

Poor Abby doesn’t get a subplot except to look for Alec, which seems unfair. The group getting back together at the end is nice, but it doesn’t make up for the wasted time.

Collins introduces a great concept–Alec being able to pretend he’s a guy in a costume–but fails to do anything with it.

CREDITS

The Lord of Misrule; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Jan Duursema; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 115 (January 1992)

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This story eventually has a very familiar feel… ghosts in the swamp fighting. It’s unclear if Collins meant to pay homage to Wein and Wrightson. One hopes, because otherwise it just seems like a repeat episode.

There’s a really cute short at the end about the Cajun Santa, which cements the domestic feeling Collins has given Abby and Alec. It has some very nice art from Mandrake and DeMulder; their art on the main story’s good too, but it’s a lot more precious on the Santa story.

Collins brings in Constantine for an extended stretch this issue and gives he and Alec a long scene of squabbling. It’s amusing (if too domestic–Swamp Thing is practically a sitcom now) and contributes to the concern for kidnapped Abby and Tefé.

Once again, unfortunately, Collins relies on Alec’s limited omnipotence. He doesn’t know the obvious, just the essential for a neat finish.

CREDITS

Rum, Necromancy, & the Lash. Papa Noel. Writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Tom Mandrake; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 114 (December 1991)

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Nice art from Tom Mandrake and Kim DeMulder on a weird issue. Collins introduces a bunch of demonic pirates–there are ties to Cthulhu-like gods, something not in the previous DC versions of Hell as far as I remember–who go after Swamp Thing and family.

Except they have no real reason to go after Abby and Tefé except a coincidence–one of Alec’s romantic gestures backfires–and Constantine shows up.

For a while, it seems like Collins is going to pace it more gradually. The pirates wreck havoc while Alec and Constantine catch up. It’s been a while since he’s been around and a lot has happened to both. But, no, not a talking heads book. It turns into an action comic.

Mandrake and DeMulder doing an action comic with ghost pirates is definitely cool; it’s stylish and fantastic. But cool’s not enough to disguise Collins’s pacing problems.

CREDITS

Pirate’s Alley; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Tom Mandrake; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 113 (November 1991)

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Collins goes for humor again. Not a little humor either, but full pun humor. It’s like “I Love Lucy” all of a sudden. Except bad people still get killed.

It’s a very strange mix of things. Collins is concentrating on making the characters fun to read–Abby and Chester trying to escape the press hounding them, Alec giving a press conference, Tefé being cute. It’s weird.

Meanwhile, besides the purple bayou monster, there’s not much going on. And the bayou monster’s only after bad people anyway so it’s not a threat. Collins foreshadows a neo-Nazi Republican gubernatorial candidate is plotting against Alec… but come on. He’s not a particularly threatening villain.

Yeates and Hendrix continue to be an awkward pairing on the art. It’s sort of bland.

Except Alec, he’s very detailed. Lots of moss.

It’s fun and well-produced, but some seriousness would be nice. It’s too lighthearted.

CREDITS

Fear and Loathing on the Bayou Trail; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Tom Yeates; inker, Shepherd Hendrix; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Albert DeGuzman; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 112 (October 1991)

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Shepherd Hendrix is a very stranger inker (or finisher) for Tom Yeates’s pencils (or layouts). The art’s not bad at all, but Hendrix removes most of Yeates’s personality from the pencils. It’s an awkward amalgamation.

Collins continues her uptick, with Chester going through an emotional crisis and Alec (unknowingly) getting drawn into the Louisiana governor’s race. Collins’s approach to Louisiana’s peculiar. She seems to hate the people who live there. Lots of dumb white racist jokes. Not everyone’s a dumb white racist, but she gives a lot of attention to the ones who are such people.

Still, it shows she’s able to tell a joke even about something serious.

More uses of the word “elemental” in conversation–not to mention Chester referring to Alec as “Swampy”–continue to make Swamp Thing seem more domestic. Abby’s kitchen now even has a stove and refrigerator.

It’s good; Collins writes some great details.

CREDITS

All the Swamp King’s Men; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Tom Yeates; inker, Shepherd Hendrix; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Albert DeGuzman; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 111 (September 1991)

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Collins shows off a lot this issue. She turns the comic into a domestic–it’s young parents Abby and Alec bantering about the baby. Unfortunately Collins dumbs down Abby–she’s just a mom now instead of a development of her previous self; still, Collins writes new Abby well.

But then the couple runs across a swamp ghost who tells them many scary, profound stories. Mandrake and DeMulder beautifully handle most of those stories. Shawn McManus does one of them, the big one. The McManus art isn’t his best and it lacks the activity of Mandrake and DeMulder.

Some of the page transitions are fantastic. An out of place panel showing a character having a realization about what someone else read in a previous panel. They’re intricate and seemingly natural to Collins’s pacing.

Swamp Thing has become exciting again. Collins, Mandrake and DeMulder have something going here. It’s quietly wonderful stuff.

CREDITS

Zydeco Ya-Ya; writer, Nancy A. Collins; pencillers, Tom Mandrake and Shawn McManus; inkers, Kim DeMulder and McManus; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 110 (August 1991)

16080

Three big things I noticed. Abby’s still from Eastern Europe, everything uses the word “elemental” a lot and Collins is definitely presenting a more disinterested Alec. I’m not sure why I expect him to intercede and save the bad guys, but the way he stands back… it’s sort of disturbing.

There’s also a lot of implications of how Tefé’s powers are playing out.

It’s a decent issue; Collins again goes for the horror angle, with a deranged priest arriving in Swamp Thing’s parish. Her pacing’s a little off though–there’s not enough in the second act of the issue. Collins races to the end to bring Alec back in.

Sure, it’s his comic and all, but it can do a little without him. He also just arrives when called now, which should make life simpler for Abby.

I like it–nice Mandrake and Jaasta art–there’re just too many changes.

CREDITS

Any Deadly Thing; writer, Nancy A. Collins; pencillers, Tom Mandrake and Bill Jaaska; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing Annual 6 (1991)

16146

For her first Swamp Thing, Nancy A. Collins brings back the real horror. By real horror, I mean people being scared by real threats (supernatural ones, sure, but real). It reminds a little of early Alan Moore, with these murdered people joining together into a swamp monster out for revenge.

And the monster does get some revenge, but it’s justified. But Collins doesn’t let all the victims get avenged; instead, the reader’s left with a feeling of incompleteness, just like the swamp monster, just like Alec. He doesn’t really do anything this issue but investigate. Collins’s handling of him implies big changes in how Swamp Thing will go.

She handles the shuffling of the supporting cast well. Her Abby is okay… and apparently no longer Eastern European. The main story suggests good things; I’m undecided on the family stuff.

Jaaska and Rick Bryant’s art is good. Alec’s practically a tree.

CREDITS

Les Perdu; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Bill Jaaska; inker, Rick Bryant; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

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