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The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) - #21
"The Anatomy Lesson"
DC Comics

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Alan Moore - 'Curt Vile / Jill Deray / The Original Writer'

Stephen R. 'Steve' Bissette

John T. Totleben

Tatjana Wood

John Costanza

Len Wein

Cover Artist(s):
Tatjana Wood
Thomas Yeates

Rating (out of 10):
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Cover Date: February 1984
Cover Price: US $ 0.75

Issue Tagline: None.

Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 32 pages

There are other versions of this issue in the database:
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) #21 Special Convention Edition
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) #21 Special Edition

Story Arc(s):    Add/remove story arcs to this issue

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 realized was that a creature like the Swamp Thing cannot be killed through conventional means. He soon awakens 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.

Reprinted/Collected in:
The Best of DC (1979) #61
DC Comics Graphic Novel Collection [GER] (2015) #68
Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing (1996) #1
Horror (1990) #12
Millennium Edition:... (2000) The Saga of Swamp Thing 21
Rämeen olento (2010) #1
Saga o potworze z bagien (2007) HC vol. 01
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) HC vol. 01
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) HC vol. 01 (Second Printing)
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) HC vol. 01 (Third Printing)
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) TPB vol. 01
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) TPB vol. 01
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) TPB vol. 01 (Eighth Printing)
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) TPB vol. 01 (Fifth Printing)
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) TPB vol. 01 (Fourth Printing)
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) TPB vol. 01 (Second Printing)
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) TPB vol. 01 (Sixth Printing)
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) TPB vol. 01 (Third Printing)
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) TPB vol. 01 (Third Printing)
The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) TPB vol. 01 (Warner Books Edition)
Swamp Thing (1987) TPB vol. 01
Swamp Thing - Das Ding aus den Sümpfen (1990) TPB vol. 03
Vertigo Essentials: Swamp Thing (2014) #1
Vertigo: First Taste (2005) TPB

Characters:    Add/remove characters to this issue
An image for Floronic Man exists Floronic Man
An image for General Sunderland exists General Sunderland
An image for Alexander 'Alec' Holland exists Alexander 'Alec' Holland
  An image for Linda Ridge Holland exists Linda Ridge Holland
An image for Swamp Thing (05 - 'Alec Holland') exists Swamp Thing (05 - 'Alec Holland')

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