Swamp Thing 4: A Murder of Crows

Swamp ThingA Murder of Crows is a book of two halves. The first section continues the series of short modern horror stories from the previous book, featuring a serial killer, a superb story about the ghosts of people who’ve been killed by a particular brand of gun and a weird psychedelic moral tale, where we find out what happens to people who digest a little of the Swamp Thing’s vegetable flesh.

Swamp Thing: A Murder of CrowsBut the second half descends into superhero nonsense as Moore integrates his continuity into the wider universe of DC Comics’ stable, taking on the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline that was happening across all its titles at that time. This impacts necessarily on the plot, though Moore does a good job (given the circumstances) of keeping the superheroes to a minimum, dredging up yet more ancient DC characters that probably only he remembers, and casting practically every character we’ve met in his previous Swamp Thing stories into the fray. However, at the end of the day there’s something decidedly shallow and anti-climatic about the conclusion, though we won’t dwell on it for reasons of not spoiling it.

The artwork sees some awesome horror from Steve Bissette and John Totleben. Rick Veitch steps in with Alfredo Alcala towards the end, but struggles to get into the groove required to cover the epic proportions of the infinite earths malarkey.

This is a volume worth savouring for the horror stories started in the previous volume. But the latter chapters are a disappointment, basically because they throw too much drama around too small a place to too little effect. Still, that’s the Crisis on Infinite Earths over. Perhaps in the next volume we can resume normal service.

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