"Roots": This story is reprinted from Swamp Thing (Volume 2) #24.

Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #4 is an issue of the series Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing (Volume 1) with a cover date of February, 1997.

Appearing in "Roots"

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  • Flexi-Flesh spray


Synopsis for "Roots"

This story is reprinted from Swamp Thing (Volume 2) #24.

The Justice League of America watches the tape they received depicting the attack on Terrebonne Parish, and try to formulate a plan of action. The Floronic Man has used his connection to The Green to kill humans in Lacroix, Louisiana, and plans to unbalance the earth's atmosphere by causing plants to produce more oxygen - and the inflammable gas will eventually ignite and kill all animal life.

Meanwhile, the Swamp Thing confronts Woodrue. Initially, the madman assumes that Swamp Thing is joining him as a companion, since he also holds a connection to The Green. He offers the Swamp Thing the opportunity to kill a prone woman, but rather than join Woodrue, he punches him in the face, and rescues the woman. Angrily, Woodrue stabs Swamp Thing through the chest with a sharpened tree trunk.

Noticing that the Swamp Thing and Woodrue are fighting against each other, the townspeople take the opportunity to escape. Nearby, Abby Cable meets an old man who refuses to admit defeat, and runs off to retrieve an object he calls 'Evangeline.' In the meantime, Woodrue traps Swamp Thing beneath some rubble, and suddenly becomes aware of Abby's presence. At that moment, though, the old man returns bearing a chainsaw.

Woodrue kills the man before he can attack, and recalling her sympathies for Swamp Thing, who he deems a traitor, he decides to kill Abby with the chainsaw. As he raises his arms over his head, Swamp Thing grabs one of them, and snaps it. He explains to Woodrue that he is hurting The Green by his actions.

Woodrue is disbelieving, claiming that he is the servant of the Green, and that he has been carrying out the will of the wilderness. Swamp Thing responds that the carnage and destruction that Woodrue has caused are the way of man, and not the way of The Green. He says that Woodrue's illness has poisoned The Green with his desires. Finally, he causes Woodrue to realize his error by reminding him that plants require carbon dioxide, created by humans and animals, to continue producing oxygen and live. The realization causes The Green to draw away from Woodrue, leaving him alone. In horror, he runs away.

Abby remembers that the Swamp Thing said to her that he is not Alec Holland, whom she believed him to be. He responds that he has since learned that he is merely a plant that thought he was Alec Holland, and now, he is happy with that knowledge. Pleased, they embrace and return to Houma.

Desperately, Woodrue returns to the swamp, sensing that the Justice League is coming for him. He searches for his Flexi-Flesh spray, hoping to appear as a human before they arrive. Unfortunately, as Superman and Green Lantern approach him, he appears before them as a grotesque version of his former self; as his spray flexi-flesh spray has worn off. His mental state is fragile, and Superman and Green Lantern take him to Arkham Asylum, hoping he can get help there.

The Swamp Thing returns to his swamp, wondering why he would ever have left it, and finally embracing his life as a plant, and not a man.



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