Monday, June 30, 2008

Swamp Thing #49-50 (June-July 1986)

John Constantine began gathering sorcerers to help deal with a primordial terror from beyond and feared by Hell itself. Among those visited were Zatanna and her father, John Zatara. "John? Can you slow down a little? This is difficult to follow... You say the Brujeria are destroyed, but their plan is still going on?" Zee father explained just how terrible this coming darkness would be, but also failed to see what use any of them could be against such a threat. "I've got it all planned out. There's a way we can channel our collective energies through to the higher territories, aiding the struggle. If you and Zatanna could help, I'd be obliged."

Zatara continued to be dismissive, but Zee agreed, to her father's chagrin. The pair had a row over her being an adult capable of her own decisions, though Zatara agreed to the soiree to watch over her. Zee then saw the Hellblazer out. "Ahhh, he's never trusted me, not since he found out we were attending that tantric studies group together." Zee had forgotten that romp in San Francisco, back when she wore a top hat and tails. "Yeah, well, I liked it," presumably meaning both the suit she'd abandoned and the sex. "Hahaha. Come on... get out before Dad changes you into something lower than you already are." The pair shared a kiss, and Zee said, "Good-bye John. You haven't changed. You've still got a hell of a nerve."

Later, Zatanna, her father, and John joined Mento, Baron Winter, Dr. Occult and Sargon the Sorcerer in lending their energies to the good fight. While the mages sat in Winter's home, their energies were bestowed upon heroes confronting the primordial darkness in Hell. The Demon Etrigan was defeated on one plane, causing Sargon to spontaneously combust on ours. The Sorcerer took his immenent demise poorly, until Zatara instilled some backbone in his final moments. "Sargon, you are upsetting my daughter. For the honor of our profession, be silent and die like a sorcerer." In the infernal, Dr. Fate was beaten, and Zee began to feel awfully warm. "No! No, I will not allow it! Not my daughter! Ssenkrad ekat em daetsni!" Zatanna demanded her father take his spell back as he began to burn. "Too late, my love. Too late. Constantine... If you do not deliver my daughter safely from this place, my shade shall hound you through eternity. Is that understood?" Zatanna cried to her father as his body erupted into flames, forcing her to hold the smoldering hand of his corpse to maintain their mystic circle.

Constantine tried to assure Zee he knew how she felt, but, "No, you don't! If you knew how I was feeling, you'd run as far as you could and crawl under a stone and hide! You involved us in this! My father's dead and it's on your hands!" Constantine agreed, "Yeah, they always are. I'm sorry Zatanna. Really I am." The Spectre was humbled next, before a meeting between the Darkness and Swamp Thing gave it perspective. The Darkness was met by some form of divinity, and the terror passed, but not before driving Mento mad. Various magical types claimed nothing would ever be quite the same again, but that's the DC status quo in a nutshell. Zatanna wept for her father, and his sacrifice didn't seem to amount to much.

Creators included Alan Moore, Stan Woch, Alfredo Alcala, Stephen Bissette, Rick Veitch and John Totleben.

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