…I discovered that things don’t make any more sense this time around than before, as least as it pertains to the transition from Brightest Day to that Search for Swamp Thing series.
In brief: at the end of Brightest Day, Alec Holland is resurrected by the White Lantern’s power to become the new Swamp Thing, defeating and supplanting the old Swamp Thing whose nature had been corrupted by the evil force that was behind the whole “Blackest Night” hoohar. After evil is defeated and Swamp Thing gives everyone the ol’ “I’m back to fight for the Green” speech, we get a cliffhanger where Swamp Thing is shown killing a bunch of dudes who are responsible for harm being done to the environment. And then John Constantine shows up to express his disbelief that Swamp Thing was actually responsible for all this.
Okay. Well then, it seems like we need a mini-series or something to shed some light, right? Said mini, Search for Swamp Thing, shows that 1) Holland had been split from the Green again, and no longer Swamp Thing, though if there’s an explanation for it, none seems apparent, and 2) the Green is trying to create a new avatar by using Constantine, as he was Swampy’s buddy and apparently that’s close enough for horseshoes.
When all is said and done in this mini, there is still no explanation for Holland being split from Swamp Thing, the two are not reunited in the end, and there’s no apparent resolution to the Green-persuing-Constantine plot (and in fact, the series ends with the implication that the Green is still trying to get its leafy tendrils on Constantine).
If it weren’t for the explicit references to the then just-completed Brightest Day series, I would have said this was a new reboot for Swamp Thing, unconnected to Brightest Day. But it all ends up a moot point anyway, as within a week or so of this mini wrapping up, the New 52 starts, with its new continuity, and a whole new Swamp Thing series.
The new Swamp Thing starts sort of where we left off from the mini, with a resurrected Alec Holland, only with the Green actively pursuing him, and no Constantine in sight. However, the return of Alec Holland appears unrelated to any of those events from Brightest Day or Search for Swamp Thing, given statements in later issues that Holland “woke up naked in the swamp” and, well, what the Parliament of Trees says directly to Holland in issue #7:
So that’s the line I was looking for, and had somehow forgotten about or overlooked when I originally read this issue. The Parliament themselves resurrected Alec Holland, to become the one, true Swamp Thing that was supposed to form the first time around, except Holland had died and the Parliament was forced to “build” a Swamp Thing around what they could glean from Holland’s dead mind.
I still think some kind of Brightest Day thing was supposed to have occurred in this New 52 continuity, as clearly something happened to the previous Swamp Thing, the one that had been based on Holland’s memories. (Or I missed it, or haven’t gotten to it in the rereading yet.) Also, Superman shows up in Swamp Thing #1 to check on Holland, which sort of implied to me that the two were tied up in the Brightest Day event, but that may have been more because those comics were still fresh in my mind more than anything actually presented in the text. It could be just that Superman makes a habit on checking on people who come back from the dead, particularly those tied to powerful characters in the DC Universe.
(Also, Superman seemingly references his own “Death of Superman” storyline during the discussion, so maybe that happened in the New 52 world? Who knows?)
Anyway, my main goal here was to find out if there was an in-story explanation for Holland’s return that didn’t depend on readers assuming a New 52 Brightest Day-esque event whose story Must Not Yet Be Told, and lo, look at the pics above.
Come back…oh, Friday, I guess, when I regale you with more recent Swamp Thing trivia I may have missed.