I might spoil a bit of Swamp Thing #0 in this post.

§ September 10th, 2012 § Filed under cranius, swamp thing § 35 Comments

So I went into this New 52 Era of Swamp Thing under the presumption that, well, everything that had gone before, all that Vertigo stuff and Challengers of the Unknown team-ups and Alec’s brother Edward and so on, was still part of the Swamp Thing back story. Okay, maybe not Edward, but what I figured was going to happen was that, as part of this new direction, the focus would be more on “moving ahead” and not so much “worryin’ about all that old stuff.” You know, not going too out of the way to just throw out all those old stories, but, hey, we’ve got new stories to tell, let’s all just jump in with this fresh start and let’s go, gang!

I thought that about Swamp Thing, simply because there wasn’t really too much that directly contradicted anything that had gone before…well, sure, there’s some small measure of retconning, and tying in Arcane to the whole “Rotworld” business, which is all well and good. But it wasn’t like, say, Fury of Firestorm, which explicitly reboots the entire concept of the character, ignoring anything that happened before. It’s more like the Green Lantern books, where, aside from some minor continuity tweaks, they continued on pretty much business-as-usual in this brave new New 52 world.

Well, Swamp Thing #0, part of DC’s Zero Month, where we get a peek at the backstories of their various characters, sorta did away with that preconceived notion of mine. We get an altered version of Swamp Thing’s origin as well as a drastically altered Arcane. Arcane had been tied to the Rotworld concept before, but I figured it was one of those minor “retconnings” I’d mentioned before…that he was still a mad scientist whose search for immortality put him at odds with our mossy hero, but now, in the New 52, we were going to learn the real truth behind all of his previous shenanigans.

Nope (and here comes the SPOILER part)…turns out he’s an evil monster who can disguise himself in the flesh of other humans, has served the Rot for centuries, and hunts and kills Earth elementals like our pal Swampy. Also, he was directly responsible for Alec Holland’s death and (presumably) the rise of the human host-lacking Swamp Thing that we all were familiar with from previous series.

You may be surprised to hear that I’m cool with these changes…Swamp Thing exists under the long shadow of what Alan Moore had done with the character, and the New 52 reboot gives this new creative team the opportunity to retool basic concepts of the series in order to do new and hopefully interesting things. And so far, it has kept my interest. I’m okay with Arcane’s new status quo, making him a sort of “anti-elemental,” and doing away with his horror movie “mad scientist” origins, though…I can imagine the plot permutations possible to keep those original Arcane stories sort-of in continuity. I mean, Abby Arcane has to come from somewhere, right?

Besides, to make a point that has been made many times over…it’s not as if those previous Swamp Thing comics stopped existing or anything. I can always reread those if I want.

A couple of other points: another change that bumps up against my preconceptions of the character is the specific reference to Alec Holland’s death being “five years ago,” which I need to wrap my head around given the kinda real-time progression of Swamp Thing’s previous adventures. I always thought Swamp Thing’s timeline was more along the lines of twenty-something years, which was a problem when there were stronger ties to the regular DC Universe, but less of a problem once it was moved into the DCU-free Vertigo line. Now that it’s back in the DCU as of the New 52 relaunch, “five years” is the new across-the-board paradigm for this Age of Heroes, and I guess Swampy’s got to fit in there somehow.

Another thing is Arcane’s appearance, which originally was the result of being poorly-repaired by his Un-Men following his fall at the end of his debut story. Now, post-New 52, I guessed he always looked like that (or his appearance has a different origin, or the same origin recontextualized, or…well, I certainly nailed that down). Not a complaint or a criticism, just an observation.

One thing I’m sure we can all agree on, however, that of all the details regarding the New 52 version for Swamp Thing, this is the most important thing: Cranius is still around:

So remember friends…even if you’re put out by Swamp Thing’s recent changes, at the very least the return of Cranius offers us all some hope.

35 Responses to “I might spoil a bit of Swamp Thing #0 in this post.”

  • White Lantern Alec Holland says:

    I don’t know what’s more infuriating.

    Swamp Thing getting retconned after 40 years of the most solid continuity of any DC character…

    …or Batman NOT getting retconned in the new timeline like (nearly) everyone else.

  • White Lantern Alec Holland says:

    You forgot to mention Arcane is also in Animal Man #0.

  • Snark Shark says:

    WHY does he have ANTLERS?


  • Rich Handley says:

    I completely gave up on the series and will no longer be reading it. From issue #1 of this new series, it’s been clear that all the old continuity had been jettisoned, from the Parliament still existing to the Parliament not hating mankind to Abby having an evil half-brother to the very concept of the Rot… all of it flew in the face of what came before. By the time Snyder got around to completely destroying Arcane’s backstory, I’d decided I was no longer interested. I have the first four Swamp Thing runs, and those are enough for me.

  • Bear says:

    I really like Swamp Thing’s New 52 look. The antlers give a more majestic appearance and give him flavours of Cernunnos and the Green Man.

  • swamp mark says:

    He has antlers because he’s always had antlers.There’s never been an Alec Holland Swamp Thing that didn’t have antlers.That’s the point.I may not like it but there it is.As a life-long fan,I’ve gone years without any Swampy appearances available at all!So I’m just going to enjoy this revised version for what it is and hope they keep the quality level as high as it is.And if they don’t,I’ll still collect it.Don’t forget,fan is short for fanatic.

  • swamp mark says:

    Sorry,forgot to add,LONG LIVE CRANIUS!

  • Mikester says:

    W.L.A.H. – I didn’t “forget” to mention Arcane was in Animal Man #0, because I wasn’t writing about Animal Man #0. This post wasn’t intended to be a complete checklist of Swamp Thing-related character appearances.

  • Derooftrouser says:

    You forgot to mention that Louis Jourdan was in Octopussy.

  • Andrew Leal says:

    You forgot to mention that Adrienne Barbeau is a saucy thing.

    Biggest question regarding the new continuity: Is Swamp Thing still CHALK?

  • Casey says:

    I don’t think Arcane works as well as a foil for Swampy if he was never human. I think this could work, however, if he’s portrayed as a kind of Randall Flagg of the DCU. Think about it.

  • White Lantern Alec Holland says:

    I don’t understand how this new version of Arcane could ever be part of a family, if he was never human or mortal to begin with…

  • White Lantern Alec Holland says:

    Or on the other hand, perhaps all the Arcanes are immortal, given that this Anton Arcane is much, much older than the original, yet his brother Gregori was somehow young enough to father children (Abby and William) who are still young themselves. And I suppose we’ll never see Tefe again because of all this.

  • Mikester says:

    Andrew – Swamp Thing is now dry-erase board marker, which is slightly disappointing.

    W.L.A.H. – I thought about mentioning that Tefe was out of the picture, most likely. I suppose she could still be part of the story, as she was artificially aged, if I recall correctly, but still, squeezing even that into a five year gap seems like a bit much.

  • Anonymous says:

    Cranius is too cool not to appear in this. After having his Un-Men series canceled after only one year and getting punched out by Batman at the end of Brightest Day Aftermath–he deserves a DCnU cameo.

  • Anonymous says:

    If Tefe does still exist, then Alec and Abby are worse parents here than they ever were in the Vertigo series.

  • swamp mark says:

    I’m getting confused again.If there is no back story to any of the New52,can’t they bring back Tefe any way the writer wants?It’s wide open.Swampy could grow a full-grown woman,call her Tefe,and give her the powers of a dry-erase board marker.That would be the new continuity.They don’t need to make it jibe with the past,there is none.Not till they write it.Does this make sense?Am I right?

  • Anonymous says:

    “WHY does he have ANTLERS?”

    Because Swampy is the horniest character in comics?

  • Anonymous says:

    He has antlers because he is sporting wood.

  • Adam Farrar says:

    Mike, if you didn’t see and no one else has mentioned it, Swamp Thing and Abby appeared in the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special back on Sunday night. It’s a short easy joke, but they’re there!

  • Pal Cully says:

    That’s all I got…

  • White Lantern Alec Holland says:

    “Swamp Thing and Abby appeared in the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special back on Sunday night. It’s a short easy joke, but they’re there!”

    Are you talking about this? What happened? Will it rerun?

  • White Lantern Alec Holland says:

    “Swampy could grow a full-grown woman,call her Tefe,and give her the powers of a dry-erase board marker.That would be the new continuity.They don’t need to make it jibe with the past,there is none.Not till they write it.Does this make sense?Am I right?”

    And then he’d shout, “We must stop Arcane and the Rot! Quick, Tefe! To the Swampmobile!”

  • Adam Farrar says:

    WLAH, That’s it. Here’s the video: http://video.adultswim.com/robot-chicken/swamp-thing.html
    It’s short.

  • Anonymous says:

    Look for Cranius in all the #0 issues this month!

  • Anonymous says:

    No matter what you say–that Swamp Thing #0 cover deserves to be on a t-shirt.

  • Subnormal Human Being Possible Buyer says:

    That is the best cover of last week. Does Swamp Thing rock or what?

  • Subnormal Human Being Possible Buyer says:

    Swamp Thing #0 was a better deal than this week’s
    Batgirl #0. There’s no “How did she get out the damn wheelchair?” story in it at all.

  • Anonymous says:

    No mention of Babs ever having been Oracle while in the chair either. The DCnU’s really taking its toll on all the characters….

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s insane the grown-up James Gordon Jr. wasn’t retconned out of the Bat-Books, yet there’s not even a mention of Tefe in Swamp Thing. What gives?

  • White Lantern Alec Holland says:

    “It’s insane the grown-up James Gordon Jr. wasn’t retconned out of the Bat-Books, yet there’s not even a mention of Tefe in Swamp Thing. What gives?”

    Sloppy editing?

  • Anonymous says:

    Extremely sloppy editing on all of the New 52 books, Swamp Thing included.

    But that’s what controversy is for, isn’t it?

  • Mikester says:

    WLAH – Since the last three comments are from the same IP address…you’re not actually trying to have a conversation with yourself while pretending to be different people, are you?

  • MrJM says:


    Maybe all three of them are fake!

    — MrJM

  • Daniel Latta says:

    The new DC cover designs remind me of the Ultraverse.