At the very least, we need the full on Blue Devil action we deserve.

§ July 1st, 2019 § Filed under swamp thing, television § 8 Comments

So in episode 5 of DC Universe’s Swamp Thing, we get a character I certainly didn’t expect to see in live action in my lifetime…though to be fair, the last few years have been filled with plenty of instances of “didn’t expect to see that character in live action.” But here we are, with a somewhat more down-to-earth Phantom Stranger, though still with the hat and medallion, popping up in our favorite TV show about a hideous muck monster. (You can see a snippet on the YouTubers here 0 yes, I said “YouTubers.”) It looks like, at least in this episode, he’s taking up the John Constantine role, as he shows up in the show to help Swamp Thing understand some of his new abilities.

As much as I love seeing the Stranger appear (complete with Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” playing on his boat radio, for that additional DC mystery comic/ reference to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman goodness), it just adds to the frustration. I wrote about it at length last time I typed excessively about the show, but knowing there’s an premature end fast approaching leaves bit of a bad taste, as getting to see all these characters and situations play out over time is absolutely out of the question. I’ll enjoy what we get, I suppose, but it’s simply going to stand as a big ol’ lost opportunity.

Just so I’m not completely down about this episode, I will note that we got a lot of clear shots of the Swamp Thing get-up, and it does look quite nice. I’m glad they remembered Swamp Thing’s red eyes. It all certainly looks a lot better than the “soggy diaper that leaks” look of the costume in that first Swamp Thing movies in the early ’80s. I’ll even give this new costume the edge over Swampy’s look in the second film, mostly because of the “red eyes” thing.

Last Monday, on the service’s DC Daily talk/news show, they ran a graphic listing topics for episodes later in the week, and for Friday they had listed “MAD ABOUT SWAMP THING.” “Whoa,” I thought or at least saying I though for ease of describing my general non-verbal feeling at the time, “I wonder if the DC Daily show is going to address the whole ‘Swampy Got Canned’ sitch.” Given that the program is a promotional tool for the DC Universe service, and for DC publications, movies and other TV shows, it seemed unlikely we were going to see any hard-hitting investigative journalism regarding the abrupt cancellation. But still, that “MAD ABOUT SWAMP THING” title had me wondering.

Well, okay, as it turned out, it was folks from Mad Magazine riffing on Saga of the Swamp Thing #29, the first part of the “Arcane Returns” storyline, so it had nothing to do wtih the TV show at all. But I do wonder…you’d think eventually the show’s ending would have to be addressed, somehow. I just wonder how they’re going to do it while still maintaining a positive spin on the whole endeavor…or if maybe episode 10 rolls around, and the DC Daily is all “that was great! Can’t wait to see where it goes from here!” and just straight up never mention it again. It’s a tricky thing to handle, and it has me honestly curious about how they would go about approaching an admittedly difficult topic. …I still think just calling it a “mini-series” is still a good idea.

8 Responses to “At the very least, we need the full on Blue Devil action we deserve.”

  • Athelind Llewellyn Long says:

    As a long-time Stranger fan, I loved this version. It seemed more faithful to the CONCEPT of the character than most of his actual comics appearances.

    I prefer “mysterious stranger who appears to say Just The Right Thing at the Right Time” to “What If Rod Serling Were Doctor Strange.”

  • John says:

    After 40ish years of reading comics, I just assume whenever I see the Phantom Stranger it’s because the writer has painted themselves into a corner and they need a MacGuffin. “How do we get out of this one?” Whatever you need, the Phantom Stranger has that power now.

  • ExistentialMan says:

    When Phantom Stranger first appeared in the episode, I kept asking myself, “Is that Kevin Smith?”

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    The magazine WIZARD had a feature in which it would propose casts for for comic book based movies. Once it did this for what it called “the Vertigo movie,” i.e., one with all of DC’s supernatural characters. For the Phantom Stranger, it wanted… Steve Martin.

    I have noticed this, that whenever fans suggest actors to play comic book characters, they give hair primacy of importance. A red-haired character MUST be played by a red-haired actor; the idea that an actor might dye his hair*, or wear a wig, seems never to occur to anyone. A bald character MUST be played by a bald actor; no one even considers the possibility of an actor shaving his head.

    I have always considered the most ridiculous example of this to be from when the first X-Men movie was in development but no casting had yet been announced. In that period, a quite ridiculous number of people kept insisting that Wolverine had to be played by some heavy metal singer whose name eludes me, who had no acting experience outside of music videos, whose only qualification was that he already had a Wolverine-like hairstyle. For some people, that was all that mattered.

    That WIZARD casting of the Phantom Stranger has been my choice for second-most ridiculous example. Clearly, the WIZARD writers started by asking “Who has white hair?,” and settled for the first name that came to them.

    *You know, like Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts. Or Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch. Or either Famke Janssen or Sophie Turner as Jean Grey. Even with all these counter-examples before them, fans tend still to start with the hair.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    Oh, and Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow (but then I find that, because of this being her best known role, and because of her name, a lot of people assume she is a natural redhead).

    And then the one actual redhead in the MCU, Karen Gillan, has to shave her head for the role. Really, this future must be an extreme puzzlement to the readers of WIZARD.

  • LouReedRichards says:


    I’m pretty sure the singer everybody wanted for Wolverine was Glenn Danzig. He had the attitude, hair, comic book geek knowledge and height for Wolverine, but probably would have been terrible*. It would have been an absolute glorious mess to have had him play Logan. I’m imagining an alternate world where the original X-men movie tanked and all the other superhero movies never got made. OR perhaps a world where Danzig became the next…. Hugh Jackman! He would have killed in Les Miserables!

    *I say this as a huge fan of his work with the Misfits, but by this point he had become a parody of his former glory…. just like the Misfits…. :(

  • Randy Sims says:

    I certainly wasn’t expecting them to address the Mad About Swamp Thing bit by cancelling Mad…

  • Rob says:

    And here I thought that was Gene LaBostrie…