Review: Swamp Thing #7

Swamp Thing #7 cover
Cover by Bernie Wrightson

Swamp Thing #7
Published and © by DC, November-December 1973

Title: “Night of the Bat”
Synopsis: Swamp Thing’s quest to find Matthew Cable brings him to Gotham City – and a showdown with the Batman!

Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Bernie Wrightson

Review: While subsequent decades brought radical revamps to many Bronze Age characters, few franchises dwell in the shadow of later works to the same degree as Swamp Thing. Alan Moore’s definitive reimagining of the character changed the course of comics history and helped usher in the Copper Age. In that light, it’s hard to appreciate how groundbreaking Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson’s original run was. Pulpy, dark and moody, both story and art offered a more-sophisticated brand of comics fare. But, good as it is, this issue ultimately pales in comparison to Moore’s Swamp Thing/Batman story in Swamp Thing #53.

Grade: A-

Second opinion: “A truly superb magazine, this is what comics are all about!” – Richard Burton, Comics Media & The Comic Reader Newsletter #9, October-November 1973 … “The long, flowing cape … the perfectly spotted blacks… and the lurking shadows… this is the way the Batman was always meant to be drawn.” – Than Davis, Comics Coast to Coast #2, 1982 … “A moody masterpiece.” – Frank Plowright, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983

Cool factor: Bernie Wrightson draws one helluva of a Batman.

Notable: “Night of the Bat” was named Favorite Comic-Book Story in the 1973 Comic Fan Art Awards.
Collector’s note: According to MyComicShop.com, there is a Mark Jewelers variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “The monster is disguised, I’m told, and traveling in the company of a small orange dog!” – Commissioner Gordon, no stranger to spooky characters

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on June 24, 2010.

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