"The Parliament Of Trees": At the office the Houma Daily Courrier newspaper, a photographer named Howard Fleck tries to pitch a story about certain photos he took while in the swamps outside of Houma, Louisiana. He had come across Abby Holland, who was unaw
- Where is evil in all the wood?
Synopsis for "The Parliament Of Trees"
At the office the Houma Daily Courrier newspaper, a photographer named Howard Fleck tries to pitch a story about certain photos he took while in the swamps outside of Houma, Louisiana. He had come across Abby Holland, who was unaware of his presence as he took photos of her undressing and making love with Swamp Thing.
Out of Fleck's earshot, Abby and Swamp Thing discuss a recent call she got from John Constantine telling Swamp Thing to meet him at the source of the river Tefé in Brazil. Swamp Thing states that he must go, as this is the final stage, where he will learn all the things he needs to know about what he is, and what he is meant to do.
Swamp Thing enters The Green, focusing on a seed near the river Tefé, and regrowing his body, by coincidence, just steps away from John Constantine, and only 20 minutes after he had arrived there. Constantine leads the Swamp Thing to the Parliament of Trees, which is composed of swamp elementals of the past (including Alex Olsen, the original Swamp Thing) who have taken root to grow in peace as trees.
The creature that once was Alex Olsen explains that like Swamp Thing, all of the other elementals now in the Parliament lived parallel lives in which a human died in flames, and rose as a swamp monster later. He advises that if Swamp Thing wants information from the Parliament, he will have to enter The Green, and let his mind intertwine with those of the others.
After doing so, Swamp Thing learns the histories of all the other elementals, along with additional uses for his abilities that he had not yet even conceived of, due to his human mindset. He is interrupted from these revelations when the other elementals become aware of his presence. After making his case, asking for help, the elementals feel that he is too set in his human way of thinking, and has much to learn. They say that he should seek inner calm and not power, since power leads to anger. They indicate that his perception of what is evil is naive; all organisms play the roles nature has granted them, and any moral judgments the Swamp Thing or anyone else might make are just purely subjective and useless.
With many questions left unanswered, the parliament expels Swamp Thing, and he is sent away from the grove. When he relays the information he gained to Constantine, the human is unimpressed. He comments that there is evil in all the wood, particularly on the island of Chiloe, in the forests of Quincavi – the place they will be going tomorrow.
Back in the offices of the Houma Daily Courrier, the editors hasten to get rid of Fleck. After discussing the value of publishing the photos he produced, one of them recognizes Abby as a teacher at Elysium Lawns, and decides that her spending her weekends half-naked with "guys in kinky rubber suits" is cause for parental concern. They conclude that they should publish the photos.
Appearing in "The Parliament Of Trees"
- Howard Fleck
- Brujería (Behind the scenes)
- There is a cameo appearance of the Marvel character Man Thing after Swamp Thing enters the consciousness of the Parliament of Trees.
- Another swamp creature in the same panel bares a resemblance to Hillman Periodicals' character "The Heap" most notably from Airboy Comics.
- The Daily Courier editor-in-chief's closing line, "I say we print...and be damned!" alludes to the 1826 U.K. incident in which the pornography publisher John Joseph Stockdale attempted to extort money from various public figures in exchange for removing their names from his upcoming publication, the memoirs of society courtesan Harriette Wilson. One such target, the Duke of Wellington, famously replied, "Publish and be damned."