Scott Snyder has ended his run on the book, so now a new creative team will try their hands at The Green’s avatar. SWAMP THING #19 begins a whole new era of the character. But has Alec Holland done now that he’s all plant? What are his goals? Why is Swamp Thing in Metropolis, and furthermore why is the Scarecrow?
And finally, thanks to the fold out covers for DC’s April lineup, what does Superman have to do with any of this?
Well folks, that was it. As of last issue, Scott Snyder has left SWAMP THING to work on other stuff. It was bound to happen eventually, and we had a good run. But all good things must come to an end.
When we last left off, Alec Holland teamed with Buddy Baker to save the world from The Rot (and no, I will not be reading Animal Man anymore, I heard the latest issue was boring and I just do not have the time). In the process of saving the world from his nemesis Anton Arcane, Holland lost two things: the love of his life Abigail, who needed to die in order to become the avatar of the Rot, and Alec’s own human life. Alec is now truly the Swamp Thing he was always meant to be.
And depending on whether you read the pre-Moore comic, the Swamp Thing he always kind of was until it got retconned that he wasn’t. We’ve gone from Swamp Thing being Alec Holland to being a plant creature who thought he was Alec Holland, and then back to being Alec Holland again. The circle is complete!
So what does one do when one has had to part with one’s greatest love probably forever, saved the world, averted a horrible future, and fully bonded with the force of all plant life by shedding one’s mortal form? To put it simply, one does the job. It means traveling across the world at the speed of plant, and righting wrongs perpetrated against plants.
Even if that means making a lot of people’s lives miserable.
Apparently there’s this guy (or something) going around, creating horticultural wonders to help struggling people in third world countries. Like a rainforest in the middle of a desert, or a rice paddy that spits out a crop every five days. Too bad it’s unnatural and can tear apart The Green, as that means Swamp Thing has had to travel around undoing it all. Granted, as Genius the Transgression proves, such wonders inevitably lead to bad things just on a local level (like armed conflict over who gets to use the amazing oasis), but Holland is still troubled by his actions. As the Swamp Thing, his responsibility to the plant world supersedes his responsibility to humans.
It’s almost like his great power has led him to an ethical quandary about how much he should do and how to balance his two sides. Sounds familiar enough to justify another Superman cameo!
Way back in the very first issue of SWAMP THING, Alec Holland met Superman and the two discussed his then-recent resurrection from death as a result of Brightest Day (this being one of the few parts of the old DC continuity retained after the reboot). Before the series even began, in fact, there was a Brightest Day tie-in miniseries where Superman appeared in. And then of course there was the Alan Moore short story from way back in the day where Swamp Thing helped Superman get over an alien infection-induced fever. So looking back, the two characters have been crossing over since forever. No wonder we’re adding another to the pile.
Also Scarecrow gets involved, but that’s going to become more important next issue. And additionally Swamp Thing actually describes his arrival in a botanical garden as being like a rock star. Complete with the plants there that squee like thirteen-year-old girls. That thought alone made SWAMP THING #19 worth the cost of admission.