The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) - #21
"The Anatomy Lesson" (Special Convention Edition)
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Alan Moore - 'Curt Vile / Jill Deray / The Original Writer'
Stephen R. 'Steve' Bissette
John T. Totleben
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Cover Date: 2009
Cover Price: Free
Issue Tagline: None.
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 32 pages
This is a version of the following issue:
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) #21 - The Anatomy Lesson
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Letters Column: Swamp Things
General Sunderland arranges to have Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man, released from prison and brought to the Sunderland facility in Washington. There he is instructed to examine the remains of the Swamp Thing and from him, divine the secret of Alec Holland's Bio-Restorative formula. Woodrue detests Sunderland and the fact that he wields so much control over him, but he concedes to the older man’s demands nonetheless.
Jason spends days examining the Swamp Thing; his own vegetative nature gives him a keen insight into the creature's biological structure. While performing a rudimentary autopsy, he finds that the Swamp Thing's body contains effigies of normal human organs, such as a heart, brain, liver and kidneys. However, none of them could ever have functioned correctly due to a lack of any true biological material. He ultimately concludes that the Swamp Thing is actually not Alec Holland as was previously believed. Woodrue explains his findings to Sunderland, comparing the Swamp Thing's nature to that of a Planarian worm. He reveals that when Alec's body, doused with the Bio-Restorative formula, came into contact with the swamp, the chemicals reacted with micro-organisms in the environment, producing a unique, yet distinctly separate organism. This organism absorbed the memories and personality of Alec Holland, and in fact, believed that it actually was Alec Holland.
Sunderland has little interest in Woodrue's findings, other than their inherent commercial value. He also has little regard for Woodrue himself, and Jason knows that it is only a matter of time before Sunderland tires of him and sends him back to prison. As Sunderland storms out of his office, Woodrue tampers with the old man's computer, unlocking the doors on the laboratories on the lower level.
What Sunderland never realizes, was that a creature like the Swamp Thing, cannot be killed through conventional means. He eventually wakens from his containment housing and finds Woodrue's notes. The Swamp Thing, having believed himself to be Alec Holland, always held onto the hope that one day a cure for his condition might be found, and he could resume a normal life. Now learning the truth, he realizes that all hope is lost, and he flies into a frenzy. The Swamp Thing batters down the doors to the laboratory just as General Sunderland is making his way down the corridor. The creature engulfs the old man and quickly kills him.
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