"This Green Hell": Swamp Thing has a terrible dream in which he is human and he is married to Abigail Arcane. They have a child together, and he allows her to play outside, warning her to stay away from monsters. While she plays out
- I connect. I find people to help. It's our choice, Alec. We're not monsters. We can be as human as we want to be.
- -- Superman
Appearing in "This Green Hell"
Synopsis for "This Green Hell"
Swamp Thing has a terrible dream in which he is human and he is married to Abigail Arcane. They have a child together, and he allows her to play outside, warning her to stay away from monsters. While she plays outside, the Swamp Thing approaches her, and when they touch, she is overrun by vines, and is trapped within a wooden husk.
Meanwhile, Swamp Thing's body has been spread across the entirety of Metropolis, having been given an overdose of carbon dioxide infused fear toxin, causing him to photosynthesize and grow at an exponential rate. Unfortunately, this had had the effect that several of the city's citizens have become trapped in their homes, and emergency services are struggling to handle it. Superman offers what help he can, but the city's firemen are reserved with their gratefulness, given that they blame him, in part, for the constant emergencies that they have to deal with. Not yet willing to suspect the Swamp Thing of malice, Superman wonders just what Dr. Holland is doing.
In his dream, Alec meets a future version of himself, who never chose to become the Swamp Thing. He has won the Nobel Prize, and built a family. The future Alec explains that this life could have belonged to the Swamp Thing, if he had chosen differently, but now, the desire for family and success will fade away as he succumbs further to the call of The Green.
Alec's troubled dreams are having physical repercussions on Metropolis, with his massive vines dragging down a suspended bridge. Superman only has a short time to hold it up while the citizens trapped on it try to escape. Meanwhile, he can already see the vines crushing a bus full of innocents nearby. Thinking quickly, he bounces his heat vision off of the side of the Daily Planet globe, ricocheting into the vines, and saving the bus. Becoming fed up, Superman flies high above the city to find the epicentre of these events, and notes, with some self-recrimination, that the Botanical Gardens are the source.
At the gardens, Superman spots the Scarecrow who explains that he didn't know his actions would have such dire results. He has no idea how long his fear toxin will affect the Swamp Thing.
In his dream, Alec listens to his future self - now a decayed skeleton - claiming that it would be easy for an Avatar to lose control when the Parliament of Trees has promised so much power. Secretly, the Green wants to propagate itself all over the world, to overcome all other life entirely. Everything else, the skeleton claims, might as well burn.
Suddenly, Alec wakes to discover that he is on fire, as Superman is blasting him with heat vision. When Superman hears Alec's screaming, he stops abruptly, and puts out the fire. Fortunately, the flames leach out the remains of the toxin. Though Superman didn't know that would happen, it is fortunate. Superman explains that the city is being torn apart by plants, and it must be brought to a stop. Realizing the extent of the damage, by accident or not, Alec quickly calls away his vines.
Alec apologizes and offers his help, but Superman states that he's done enough already. Alec explains that he actually came to Metropolis to talk to Superman about what he should do with his new found power. Superman points out that as powerful individuals, they can never allow things like what just happened happen. They have a responsibility to control their power. Sadly, Alec agrees to leave, but ask one final question: how does Superman manage to act like a human being when his power does not require him to. Superman responds simply: he just connects with others. That is the choice they make. They are not monsters. They can be as human as they want. With that, Superman grabs up the Scarecrow, and flies off.
- This book was first published on May 1, 2013.
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