The name of this book slightly gives away what happens when Swamp Thing is ejected from Earth and finds himself on something of a space odyssey. Skipping through the void of the universe, leaping from one occasional oasis of plant-based life to another, the Swamp Thing finds himself on a voyage of discovery, all the while looking for an opportunity to head back to earth and the arms of his lover. This book also marks the end of Alan Moore’s run on the series so loose ends are suitably tied, while Swamp Thing and Abby eventually retire to the swamp in the hope that the rest of the world will leave them alone.
The quality of these “Swamp Thing Explores the Universe” stories fluctuates depending on what Moore’s trying to do. Those that factor in visits from the expanded DC pantheon of characters tend to be a bit dull. But the chapters where Moore lets his imagination run free are significantly more interesting. There’s a lot of cross-pollination going on here too, with artists Bissette and Veitch having a crack at a couple of stories – in fact it’s Veitch who receives the writing baton from Moore in the next volume in the series.
The artwork varies too. John Totleben returns for a stint on a wonderful story featuring a bizarre plant-machine-alien cross-breed, with some amazing artwork considering the relatively unsophisticated colour medium he was working in at the time. Other stories are less impressively constructed but it’s always interesting to see Swamp Thing appearing decorated in the shape of some alien flora.
Some might have hoped for a grander finale from Moore’s stint on the book. It’s by no means totally disappointing, though it’s a long way behind the American Gothic stories featured earlier in the series. But it’s the eternal curse of ongoing monthly titles – the main character must survive. To see Moore at his explosive best, you’re still better off visiting classics like Watchmen and V for Vendetta.
Other titles in the Swamp Thing series:
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