"When It Comes A'Knockin'": The Swamp Thing explains to Alec Holland how he came into existence. He had been a pilot in the Royal Airforce, Calbraith A.H. Rodgers. On his fourth mission, at barely 22 years of age, his plane went
- But I was Swamp Thing already. I saw the thing I was, and he was more a monster than a hero. I am no savior.
Synopsis for "When It Comes A'Knockin'"
The Swamp Thing explains to Alec Holland how he came into existence. He had been a pilot in the Royal Airforce, Calbraith A.H. Rodgers. On his fourth mission, at barely 22 years of age, his plane went down over a swamp in Germany. He had become a pilot in order to escape the call he'd been hearing all his life; the call of The Green. As he lay dying in the swamp, The Green came for him, and he became an earth elemental. Years later, he joined the Parliament of Trees, but he has come a long way today, to speak with Alec Holland.
Alec refuses to cooperate, and the elemental warns that he could make Holland listen, if necessary, but he will not. They make a deal that if Alec listens to the creature's story, and still feels the same way, the Parliament will leave him alone forever. He takes the creature's hand, and they enter The Green.
The Swamp Thing shows Alec the horrible creature known as Sethe, the bringer of storm and pestilence, a lord of something neither The Red nor The Green; lord of rot and decay. The creature warns that Sethe is the enemy that the Swamp Thing was born to defend The Green against, and he is gathering his army. He warns that the monster is likely already aware of Alec Holland, and has probably already sent envoys to find and kill him.
Alec wonders why he has been targeted, and the elemental explains that like him, Alec is connected to The Green in a biological way. The Parliament of Trees believes that Alec is destined to be a great leader, the greatest protector The Green has ever known. Alec counters that he has already been the Swamp Thing, and that he is no hero.
The elemental reveals that the Swamp Thing whose memories that Alec shares was never the same as Alec. Elementals had, in the past been bonded with the flesh bodies of those who were chosen, but when Alec was caught in the explosion that killed him, his body was destroyed. The Parliament decided to continue anyway, placing Alec Holland's consciousness into the local plant life. The Parliament wishes to see the Swamp Thing that Alec has never been; the Swamp Thing he could become.
As they speak, the elemental begins to die, explaining that when the human host dies, elementals return to the Parliament and take root. To leave the Parliament afterwards means true death for elementals. Having already made his choice to die, he passes the decision on to Alec to become the next Swamp Thing. Of course, Alec has doubts. As the creature dies and decays before his eyes, it makes a final request that Alec avoid the white-haired woman he has seen in his dreams.
Returning to his hotel room, Alec passes by the lobby, and Ms. Channar, the proprietress, reminds him that the week's payment will soon be due. As he gets dressed in his room, the door cracks open, and a possessed Ms. Channar charges in wielding an axe. Rushing past her into the hallway, he finds that all of the other patrons are possessed too, brandishing weapons. Slamming the door on them, he ducks another swipe by Ms. Channar and crashes through the window only to have her tower over him, readying a killing blow.
Alec is saved, suddenly, by a woman on a motorcycle, armed with a shotgun. He climbs onto the bike, and they attempt to outrun their pursuers. When they fall out of sight, Alec demands that she pull over. When he asks who she is, she pulls off her helmet, revealing that she is Abigail Arcane, and she is about to watch him die.
Appearing in "When It Comes A'Knockin'"
- Calbraith A.H. Rodgers (Swamp Thing) (Dies) (Flashback and main story)
- Ms. Channar (Possessed)
- Abigail Arcane's motorcycle
- The Totleben's Motel where Alec Holland is staying is a reference to artist John Totleben, who worked on numerous Swamp Thing covers and issues.
- The Wrightson Diner is named after Swamp Thing creator, Bernie Wrightson. Perhaps, it is former Swamp Thing writer Len Wein sitting near the restaurant's window.
- As another nod to a past Swamp Thing contributor, Abigail Arcane rides a motorcycle by the maker Bissette Motors.
- Swamp Thing Recommended Reading