"Husks": In Central America, a group of local crop growers capture Walter Kramer, a representative of the Sunderland Corporation. Kramer is about to become involved in a Mayan ritual. Reluctantly, a man named Carlos accepts his heritage as the shaman, and decides to being the ceremony fo
- Is this how the ancient peoples... of the world... trafficked with the elementals they mistook as gods? And if that is true... what am I in danger... of becoming?
Appearing in "Husks"
Synopsis for "Husks"
In Central America, a group of local crop growers capture Walter Kramer, a representative of the Sunderland Corporation. Kramer is about to become involved in a Mayan ritual. Reluctantly, a man named Carlos accepts his heritage as the shaman, and decides to being the ceremony for calling on Xipe-Totec: The Flayed God.
In the Louisiana swamp, Abigail Arcane (New Earth) marvels aloud at how fast her daughter Tefé seems to be growing up. Swamp Thing agrees, but becomes startled when he hears someone or something calling his name. He is unable to control his body from wilting away.
He rebuilds his body from three husks of corn laid on an ancient Mayan throne. He finds himself surrounded by people praising him, and calling him a god. When Swamp Thing demands to know who they are and how he got there, Carlos explains that they are descendants of a people who once served the god Xipe-Totec, and he was summoned by a blood sacrifice. Swamp Thing is confused and outraged to find that these people have killed in order to summon him.
Swamp Thing confesses that he is not Lord Xipe, and wonders what could be so important that they would sacrifice an innocent life to bring him there. Carlos responds that they summoned him because their once-fertile fields have all died out, and that the sacrifice - Walter Kramer - was not innocent. Swamp Thing is, of course, familiar with the Sunderland Corporation's history.
Carlos explains how four years ago, Walter Kramer had come to their village claiming that Sunderland Corp and the government had made an agreement, and they were chosen to test a new fertilizer that would double their crop yield. For two years, it was just as Kramer had promised. In the third year, however, the soil had turned to little more than sand; livestock began delivering malformed offspring; eventually, children were being born with horrible deformities. They sent a delegation to the capital to beg for help from the government, but the delegation never returned. Desperate, they turned back to the old ways, taking Kramer as a sacrifice to call on Lord Xipe.
Finally, Carlos demands to know whether Swamp Thing will help. Swamp Thing debates whether or not these people should be left to suffer the consequences of Sunderland's greed, or whether he should honour the contract that dates back beyond recorded history. Eventually, he decides to help.
Reaching down into the ground, he draws up the toxins from the earth. However, the concentration is so strong that Swamp Thing's body is destroyed. The villagers stand aghast until suddenly, healthy crops spring up from the ground. The villagers celebrate, until a messenger arrives with word that there are soldiers on the way, looking for Walter Kramer.
The soldiers arrive, and their leader commands that if any of the villagers moves, they should be shot. When he realizes that Carlos is wearing Walter Kramer's skin, he simply orders all of the villagers shot. With every one of them dead, he orders the crops burnt and the village torched as well.
Angrily, Swamp Thing bursts up from the ground, growing taller and taller, assuming the semblance of a Mayan god. The soldiers run away in terror, leaving their white commander behind. Swamp Thing plucks the man from the ground, and debates whether to mete out divine justice on him. Reluctantly, he realizes that he can't behave like a god, and places the man back down.
He rifles through Sunderland's papers, discovering that Sunderland Corp had made a deal with the government to release a slow-acting defoliant - not a fertilizer - in the village. The chemicals were meant to be shipped to coca-growers in South America as another guerrilla battle in the war on drugs.
Still unsure of what to do, the choice is made for him, as planes come to firebomb the town. Swamp Thing allows it, deciding that his best option is to appeal to the fourth estate. He sends evidence and information to Clark Kent of the Daily Planet.
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