In this round of Swamp Thing installments from Alan Moore (original issues #43-50, which includes the double-size anniversary issue), plot elements that had been developing for a year or more finally come to fruition. That would be a battle even bigger than good vs. evil in the final story of this collection, fittingly titled "The End." Here we see the full apotheosis of Alan Moore's groundbreaking work with comic horror writing, a defunct style that he courageously made hip again at the time. And although the Swamp Thing series was thematically unlike anything else DC was doing at the time, Moore still ties Swampy's saga into the greater DC universe. John Constantine and a collection of minor and obscure characters associated with magic and sorcery help in the great battle for the universe. Meanwhile Swamp Thing allies himself with the heaviest hitters in DC's stable of occult characters, including Spectre, Etrigan (The Demon), Phantom Stranger, Dr. Fate, and the very suave Deadman. There is also a flawless crossover with the then-current Crisis on Infinite Earths epic, surely one of the great endeavors ever undertaken by a comics company.
One very interesting aspect of Moore's plotlines during this period is how Swamp Thing himself often falls into the background of the stories, as the focus is on the horrors around him, and he makes dramatic Lone Ranger-like appearances to save the day. Even in "The End" Swampy is a minor presence, action-wise, then defeats the force of darkness simply by reasoning with it rather than fighting. In this collection's first tale, "Windfall," Swamp Thing only appears on one page, and the focus of the story is a psychedelic fruit that grew on his back. During this period of the series, things were changing artistically, as regular artists Stephen Bissette and John Totleben were often overworked or unavailable. Here Stan Woch and Ron Randall really make their presence felt, especially in the most tremendous story of this stretch, "The Parliament of Trees." This concept is surely inspired by Tolkein, and in turn I bet that Woch and Randall's visual creations were an influence on the producers of the recent "Two Towers" film. By the end of this collection Moore and his great team of artistic collaborators continue to teach us about the deep roots of the Swamp Thing character, and he's not yet done learning himself.