So I was reading those Swamp Thing comics from the middle of last year…

§ November 14th, 2012 § Filed under swamp thing § 9 Comments

…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.

9 Responses to “So I was reading those Swamp Thing comics from the middle of last year…”

  • Snark Shark says:


    I think I’ll stick to the Alan Moore issues!

  • LFC says:

    I think things lean closer to the ties of Brightest Day. The word I hear is that Swamp Thing (among other books from September 2011) was set to debut before the New 52 relaunch. They held it off to make it part of the relaunch and Superman’s costume had to be altered from the original art to match the new look. I wonder if the talk of his death & return has been removed from the first Swampy trade.

  • swamp mark says:

    Considering that DC launched the New52 to attract new readers who wouldn’t have to worry about decades of character history,they sure made Swampy’s MORE complicated!
    I don’t read any other titles,but if this is a line-wide problem,it’s a wonder the whole thing hasn’t gone belly-up by now.As a new reader,I would have shaken my confused head and tried a Marvel comic.
    It seems a callous way to treat us long-time readers and if I was Didio,I’d start updating my resume.

  • Argh Sims says:

    Kind of reminiscent of the whole Countdown/Death of the New Gods fiasco. Big story planned (Final Crisis/New 52), so let’s shoehorn in a new mini that makes no sense in context with the stories around it but sell more paper!

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    My understanding is that Superman’s death and Batman being crippled by Bane and No Man’s Land, big events like that, all happened in the DCnu. I read this soon after the relaunch, around the time people were asking about Brightest Day, Blackest Night, and even Final Crisis.

    I think Dan DiDio is the new Monitor for the Dcnu.

  • Suckmaster Burstingfoam says:

    I don’t think it matters.

    Any of it.

    At all.

  • NeverAsk says:

    While the DCnU might be fine for the casual or new reader, too often when I as a longtime reader try to jump in, it feels like I’m being consistently punished for my dedication. Recently, I decided to just take a break from the DCnU and turn to reading the back catalogs of books I missed the first time around from DC and other publishers.

    As least there’s always Archie: The Married Life. Life, death, pain, hamburgers, turmoil, politics, collusion, bad music, mental breakdowns, and even multiverse hijinks. What’s not to love?

  • Michael Grabowski says:

    Although I had long since stopped reading Spider-Man comics regularly by then, it was this sort of idiotic continuity garbage during the Clone Saga that made me give up on following Marvel/DC for good.

    I liked the Swamp Thing character when the Pasko-Yeates series introduced me to him, I really enjoyed hunting for the Wein-Wrightson comics over the next couple years, and Moore-Bissette-Totlben & co. made it all pay off with their extended run. Others may differ, but Moore’s retcon & recontextualization of the character was handled in a way that respected the longtime reader and the characters themselves in a way that few other reboots ever do. Personal economics made me drop the book soon after #63, but nothing I’ve read about the character since has made me want to catch up with any run I’ve missed.

    Mike, maybe in one of these posts you can talk about reasons why you continue to keep up with the character through messes like this. Awhile back you brought up whether one buys a comic by a favorite creator no matter how bad the results might appear to be (I think–may be misremebering) but is there a possibility Swamp Thing could be so badly mismanaged that you would stop buying it?

  • Snark Shark says:

    “I think Dan DiDio is the new Monitor for the Dcnu.”

    I’d say ANTI-MONITOR.