The Saga of the Swamp Thing Volume 5: written by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch, and John Totleben; illustrated by Rick Veitch, Steve Bissette, John Totleben, and Alfredo Alcala (1986; collected 2011): The penultimate collection of Alan Moore's career-making run on DC's Saga of the Swamp Thing sees Rick Veitch take over as primary penciller. As previous Swamp Thing penciller (and then-continuing cover artist) Steve Bissette notes in the informative introduction, Veitch's interest in science fiction over horror helped shift the book to a more science-fiction-oriented direction. But first Swamp Thing would travel to Gotham City for a fateful encounter with Batman. Then it was off into space for several issues for an odyssey that would conclude in the next volume.
The double-sized issue featuring Swamp Thing's battle with Batman is a doozy, showcasing as it does longtime Swamp Thing inker John Totleben's second full-art stint on the comic book. It's gorgeous: Totleben's art often looked like he was cutting his fine lines into wood or perhaps copper. It's elegant and old-school without being stiff or anachronistic. This was the time of Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns, so Batman gets a really, really big Batmobile. However, Moore's Batman is much more sympathetic and fallible than Miller's -- and reasonable, in the end, as he and Swamp Thing ultimately resolve their differences without killing each other.
Subsequent issues further develop the character of Swamp Thing's beloved Abigail Cable, reintroduce two horribly transformed characters from Martin Pasko's early 1980's run on Saga, and bring us Swamp Thing's first foray into space travel. One can see Moore straining at the chains of the endless status quo of the mainstream superhero universe here. Things may return to the baseline at the end of each seemingly world-changing event, but logically they shouldn't.
Even if DC wouldn't soon anger Moore and cause him to leave the mainstream forever, one can't really believe, reading these stories, that he would have been much longer satisfied with 'The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same.'