"The Flowers of Romance": Liz Tremayne is alive, and she hasn't left her apartment in nearly three years on the advice of Dennis Barclay, the man who takes care of her, though she had once rejected him so long ago. Liz has become somewhat unhinged due to Dennis
- Your bereavement needn't destroy you. In time it can even make you stronger. But all that starts with one thing: acceptance. He's gone.
- — Batman
Synopsis for "The Flowers of Romance"
Liz Tremayne is alive, and she hasn't left her apartment in nearly three years on the advice of Dennis Barclay, the man who takes care of her, though she had once rejected him so long ago. Liz has become somewhat unhinged due to Dennis' conditioning. She's even afraid to watch television by herself, lest she get electrocuted. Even so, Dennis has been gone for days, and Liz finally gets up the nerve to plug in the television and turn it on. She sees a newscast reporting on the recent events in Gotham City, where Swamp Thing was killed, and Abby Cable – whom Liz believed dead – mourns him. Seeing that Abby is returning to Houma, Louisiana, Liz builds up courage enough to leave her apartment, and seek Abby out.
Abby is nearly inconsolable. Commissioner Gordon informs her that the city is arranging a funeral service for Swamp Thing, and will be happy to pay her expenses from Louisiana to attend. Batman offers that her bereavement needn't destroy her, and that it could make her stronger with time, if she accepts that he is gone. Chester Williams gives her his number, promising to carry on the Swamp Thing's teachings with an environmentalist group. She returns home, and begins tidying her house. When she finds a dead plant, she can't bring herself to throw it out, and collapses on the floor in tears.
Suddenly, the doorbell rings. Abby is surprised to see Liz Tremayne standing there at her door because she had believed that Liz died three years ago, just as Liz thought the same of her. Abby soon learns that Liz believes that the Sunderland Corporation is still in full operation under the leadership of General Sunderland, and that she has been kept inside by Dennis for her own protection. Of course, Abby knows that General Sunderland has been dead for years, and begins to realize that Dennis has caused Liz to become mentally unbalanced. Her friend is no longer the sharp reporter she once was.
Meanwhile, Dennis realizes that Liz is missing. He sees the map with Houma circled on it, grabs a machine gun out of a drawer, and heads to Houma as well. Abby hears a knock at the door, and when she answers it, and recognizes Dennis, he opens fire. Fortunately, Abby dodges the bullets, but Dennis forces his way into the house in search of Liz. When he finds her, he warns that she could have been caught by Sunderland, and he tries to convince her that Abby is a spy, and that the real Abby was killed three years ago.
As he grabs Liz, Abby smashes a vase over his head, grabs Liz, and they run for the swamps. Liz's confusion makes her slow to escape. Her sick relationship with Dennis has tricked her into thinking that her dependence on him is some kind of love, but the sickness in his eyes disturbs her. Dennis chases them down in his truck until it won't go any further, and he has to continue on foot. Apparently, after Liz had rejected him, and they were attacked by Sunderland, he had concocted this situation as a means of ensuring that Liz would stay with him.
As she drags Liz through the swamp, Abby has fond memories of being with the Swamp Thing there, and is saddened by her loss. She presses on, however, trying to imagine how he would help her if he were there. She thinks that he would use the surroundings to his advantage, and tries to do the same. They head toward a grove filled with flowers, and she forces Liz to skirt around the edge of the grove with her. Dennis catches up to them and charges forward, only to discover that the flowers are actually floating on the surface of a deep body of water. Angry, but undeterred, he swims toward them, warning that there will be repercussions for running from him. As he nears the other side, where Abby and Liz are cowering, he suddenly screams in pain as a number of alligators devour him in a flurry of scales and teeth.
Abby and Liz return home finally. Abby puts in a call to Chester, and offers to help in his environmental group. She accepts Commissioner Gordon's invitation to the funeral, and asks him to pass on her thanks to Batman for his earlier advice.
Appearing in "The Flowers of Romance"
- Dennis Barclay (Dies)
- This issue is reprinted in Swamp Thing: Earth to Earth and Saga of the Swamp Thing: Book Five.
- Swamp Thing doesn't appear in this issue.
- Liz Tremayne and Dennis Barclay last appeared in Swamp Thing (Volume 2) #20.
- Swamp Thing Recommended Reading