"Abandoned Houses": During a restless sleep, Abby Cable dreams of meeting the brothers Cain and Abel, who give her the choice of entering the House of Mystery or the House of Secrets. The more charismatic Cain, thou
Appearing in "Abandoned Houses"
- Abel (Dies)
- Golden Bracelet
Synopsis for "Abandoned Houses"
During a restless sleep, Abby Cable dreams of meeting the brothers Cain and Abel, who give her the choice of entering the House of Mystery or the House of Secrets. The more charismatic Cain, though abrasive, extols the virtues of mysteries, but ultimately, Abby chooses to enter the House of Secrets with Abel. Inside, Abel explains his love of stories, and his love for a particular, circular story which is connected with the strange occurrences in Abby's own life. After digging around some he finds and presents to her a golden bracelet, that he describes as a story. And he begins to explain the story of Alex Olsen...
We learn that Linda, gave Alex the very bracelet as they were celebrating their 2nd year anniversary. His lab partner Damian secretly harbors feelings for Linda, but in their company, he masks this. He was emotionally beaten when Linda chose Alex Olsen over him. We see the scene of Alex caught in the explosion at this lab, and Damian being there to comfort Linda. He then gives us narration about how he had been the one to set the explosion and kill Alex, and drag his semi lifeless body into the swamp to bury it. Though currently she seems withdrawn and distant from him, and he ponders that she's slowly learning of the truth behind the grizzly fate of her husband. So Damian decides to kill her. (the only obvious choice).
After telling her the story of Alex Olsen, an earlier Swamp Thing, Abel reveals that the secret Abby has come to learn there is that Alec Holland was not the first Swamp Thing. He explains that there is no such thing as an accident or coincidence, and that these many Swamp Things have been the result of design. Whenever "sour times" occur, he states, "the Earth feels compelled to create an elemental champion for itself."
With this secret shared, Abel reveals that he and Abby must leave as soon as possible if the knowledge is to be put to use. He warns that they must evade his brother, and have Abby share the secret with the current Swamp Thing, in order to prevent coming troubles. Unfortunately, Cain is waiting outside for them, and demands that they pay the forfeit for attempting to share a secret.
The brothers wrestle, culminating in Cain bashing Abel's head in with a rock. He assures Abby that Abel will be back to normal in the morning, and disappears with the warning that she won't be able to tell anyone the secret that she's learned. Moments later, she wakes in bed, and desperately tries to write down what she learned. She is interrupted by a phone call, and when she returns to her pen and pad, she has already forgotten the secret, and scraps the page she was writing.
Appearing in "Swamp Thing"
- Swamp Thing (Alex Olsen) (First appearance)
- Linda Olsen Ridge (First appearance)
- Damian Ridge (Only appearance; dies)
Synopsis for "Swamp Thing"
This story is reprinted from House of Secrets #92.
Sometime in the last century, Alex Olsen and Damien Ridge had been best friends. However, they both vied for the affections of a woman named Linda. Linda eventually married Alex and Damien had to endure his heartache in the form of the supportive friend. But his desire for Linda overrode the bonds of friendship and he conspired to eliminate Alex. He sabotaged the equipment in Alex's lab causing an explosion that killed him. Keeping the knowledge hidden from Linda, Damien buried Alex's body in the swamp.
Damien eventually married the widow Olsen and they lived together in an old Victorian plantation house. But Linda never recovered from Alex's death. As months passed, Damien began to suspect that Linda might soon learn the truth, so he prepared to kill her. But Alex had been resurrected as a swamp thing and broke into the house and killed Damien. Linda fled from the creature in horror, never realizing that the beast who saved her was her beloved Alex.
- The cover art is an homage to the cover of House of Secrets #92 (July 1971).
- The segment where Abby Cable listens to the origin of the original Swamp Thing is reprinted from House of Secrets #92. It is book-ended by the events of the first story.
- When Abel timidly asks Cain whether he minds Abby choosing a secret instead of a mystery, Cain grins wickedly and says, "Mind? Why should I mind? Am I your keeper?" This is an allusion to Genesis 4:9: "And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?" (King James Version)
- In a more more indirect allusion to the biblical Cain and Abel story, Abel says that Cain's "not so bad. He just gets jealous when people like me better than him." This alludes to the reason, in Genesis 4:3-5, that Cain murders Abel: both brothers bring God an offering; God accepts Abel's offering but rejects Cain's, without explaining why.
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