"Come Hither, Child": At the Shepherd Institute in Texas, Dr. Durock pleads with a boy named William Arcane to try to be more sociable with the other patients there. He knows that William's apparent allergy to chlorophyll means that he can't leave his protect
- When Swamp Thing disappeared, The Rot... it came calling. Telling me that the time was coming soon, when I would be called to the desert to serve him.
Synopsis for "Come Hither, Child"
At the Shepherd Institute in Texas, Dr. Durock pleads with a boy named William Arcane to try to be more sociable with the other patients there. He knows that William's apparent allergy to chlorophyll means that he can't leave his protective bubble for more than a few minutes, but hopes that William will try to make himself less isolated despite it. As the doctor speaks, one of the dead fish mounted on the wall whispers William's name, and the boy is taken aback.
Orderlies wheel William out of the Doctor's office, and in the hallway he has an encounter with another boy named Drew. The other children behave as though they are friends with William, but once the Doctor is out of earshot, they begin to threaten him. Drew plans to return at midnight, and puncture William's protective bubble. The orderly does nothing to stop the taunts.
Outside the swamps of Louisiana, Abigail Arcane holds Alec Holland at gunpoint. She challenges him to do something to prove he is who he says he is, or she will kill him within three seconds. As she counts down, Alec struggles to understand what she wants from him. When she gets to 'three,' Alec hits an emotional peak, crying out. Suddenly, he has a vision of a skeletal woman in a dress, surrounded by darkness.
When he opens his eyes, he is surprised to see that vines and branches have sprung up from the ground to restrain Abigail. Satisfied, she drops down from the branches and introduces herself. She convinces him to get back onto her motorcycle and head to the Texas marshland to save a certain boy; a boy with the power to end the whole world.
Late at the Shepherd Institute, William watches TV from inside of his bubble when he hears the mysterious voice coming from one of the fish on the wall. The rest of the fish speak up, calling out to him. Meanwhile, Drew and his friends appear, ready to pierce the protective film with a fork, threatening William's life. The fish command him to take up arms for a certain powerful being. Suddenly, William reaches out, and causes the bullies' bodies to morph and contort until they are dead. Hearing the commotion, Dr. Durock comes out of his office to find the dead children lying in front of William's bubble. William calls him over, and confirms that the doctor's scuba-fishing gear is in the back of his truck, before causing the doctor's lungs to come up through his mouth.
On the road, Abigail explains that William has the power to control dead matter. Just as Alec was born with a connection to The Green, there are people born to opposite elements. In this case, it is The Black; The Rot. Abigail's family - the Arcanes - have always had a strong connection to The Rot, particularly her uncle Anton Arcane. She explains that she is different from the version of herself that Alec remembers from his shared memories with the Swamp Thing. During her time with the Swamp Thing, he unwittingly protected her from the Rot, but now that she is without him, the Rot has come calling again. It has reached her; changed her.
She claims that if Alec allows himself to bond with The Green, he will become the Swamp Thing - the most powerful Green knight on the planet. It is the same with William and The Rot. If he bonds with The Rot, he will become an unstoppable force of death and disease, something that has not been achieved since the days of the biblical plagues.
Upon arriving at the Shepherd Institute, Abigail and Alec are horrified to see the murdered children already killed by William's power. They turn around in time to see Doctor Durock die before their eyes, with his lungs hanging out of his open mouth. Alec asks how Abigail knows all about William. She responds that she is the one who hid him away at the institute. She thought he'd be safe there. He is her half-brother, William Arcane, and if he joins with the Rot, it will mean the coming of hell on earth.
Appearing in "Come Hither, Child"
- Abigail Arcane (Flashback and main story)
- William Arcane (First appearance)
- Dr. D. Durock (Dies)
- Drew (Dies)
- Anton Arcane (First appearance) (Flashback only)
- Patchwork Man (Flashback only)
- Swamp Thing (Flashback only)
- Abigail Arcane's motorcycle
- Victor Ibañez is the artist for pages 1-5, 12-15 and 18-20.
- Yanick Paquette is the artist for pages 6-11 and 16-17.
- In the flashback sequence, Abigail Arcane is wearing "Yeates" jeans.
- As another nod to a past Swamp Thing contributor, Abigail rides a motorcycle by the maker Bissette Motors.
- Dr. D. Durock of Shepherd Institute is named after Dick Durock, who played Swamp Thing in the movies and the Swamp Thing (1990 TV Series).