"Urban Jungle": Since becoming the Swamp Thing, Alec Holland has gained a new understanding of plant life - and he has had enough time listening to what The Green has to say to become bored with all the talk of sun and dirt. However, sometimes the p
- That flower is digitalis terrorem. It's nasty. Deadly if ingested, and it contains a toxin that causes terrifying hallucinations.
- -- Swamp Thing
Appearing in "Urban Jungle"
- Superman (Cameo)
Synopsis for "Urban Jungle"
Since becoming the Swamp Thing, Alec Holland has gained a new understanding of plant life - and he has had enough time listening to what The Green has to say to become bored with all the talk of sun and dirt. However, sometimes the plants begin to speak of something strange happening, and that is when Alec knows he is needed. For example, he has recently been alerted to the existence of a square mile of tropical rain forest sitting in the middle of one of the driest deserts on earth. This should be impossible. Grumpily, he walks right into the middle of an armed conflict on the rain forest's edge to question these people about it.
Though all of the men are terrified of him, he manages to force one of them to explain that someone called the Seeder came to make the desert green, and changed everything for his tribe. Then, the SDF came to take it away. Apologetically, Swamp Thing explains that this anomaly cannot be allowed to exist, and destroys it all. Before the natives can respond, he disintegrates his body and enters the Green.
Ever since he gave up his human body and the love of his life to protect the Green, he has been travelling the world, seeking out unusual manipulations of the Green. Usually, these alterations have been made to help somebody, like they the one he just destroyed, but in the end, it always goes wrong somehow. And always, he has heard the name "The Seeder" in connection with it. Whoever the Seeder is, he does not understand the nature of the Green. As much as Alec may want to let some of these alterations persist, he can't. Each one stretches the Green too thin, and threatens the entire system.
Though he wants very much to go back to the swamp to mourn the loss of Abby, Alec decides instead to be around people, travelling all the way to Metropolis. He emerges in the Botanical Gardens, recalling how he used to go there when he was a grad student, excited by the wide variety of plant species on display there. These days, if he came in daylight, his monstrous appearance would likely bring unwanted attention from the likes of Superman. In fact, Alec would like to talk to Superman. The Kryptonian has to make decisions about who will live and who will die all the time. Now that the Green is asking Alec to make the same kind of decisions, he could use the help.
That night, Alec catches the Scarecrow breaking into the gardens to steal a digitalis terrorem flower, which is deadly to ingest, and causes terrifying hallucinations besides. Stalling, the Scarecrow behaves as though Alec - who is hiding in the bushes - is a botanist, explaining that he is only attempting to retrieve a sample of the rare flower in order to cultivate more of it. Naturally, Alec already knows who the Scarecrow is, and what he uses these plants for. Even so, he gives the Scarecrow advice on how best to raise the flower, as the villain snips away the prehensile vine that Alec caught his arm with. Thanking his mysterious helper, Scarecrow collects a bag full of the blossoms and turns around to find the imposing Swamp Thing standing over him.
Instinctively, Scarecrow unleashes a blast of fear gas into Alec's face - with no effect. Alec reminds him that he is a plant, and so is the straw in Scarecrow's costume. He gives the straw new life, wrapping it around Scarecrow's neck. Desperately, Scarecrow tries a variety of different fear gasses, hoping that one of them will work. When the Swamp Thing finally collapses, the straw releases him, and Scarecrow gleefully admits that he should have known that a formula that's nearly 60% carbon dioxide would be most effective.
Unfortunately, this is met with a rumbling from the ground, as vines burst up from the ground to cover the entire city. Plants, after all, inhale carbon dioxide, unlike humans. Elsewhere in Metropolis, Superman sees the plants taking over, and knows that Alec Holland must be involved.
- This book was first published on April 3, 2013.
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