“Vengeance be mine!” sayeth The Swamp Thing.
Ok, he never actually said that. Old Swampy is a great many things (pardon the pun), but loquacious isn’t one of them.
But seriously, if there’s a dude you DON’T want mad at you in the realm of comics, it’s the SWAMP THING. Case in point:
The Death of Sunderland!
(aka Hugs for a smug old bastard)
After fan-favorite scribe Alan Moore did a number on ol’ Swampy back in the 80s, he’s been a raving mudslide of vengeance, squishing anyone who so much as looks at him the wrong way. Not only has his enemies died in horrifyingly satisfactory ways but he has made the entire planet quake in the wake of his wrath. I guess this is what happens when one being controls the whole of nature as effortlessly as we would handle a TV remote.
The Swamp Thing first achieved this heightened sense of vengeance in Moore’s “The Anatomy Lesson” way back in Saga of The Swamp Thing #21, the first ever Swampy story arc by the British Wunderkind (after briefly wrapping up former writer Martin Pasko’s storyline in SOTST #20). Upon finding out that he was never truly Alec Holland, but rather a plant who only THOUGHT he was Holland and tried his best to copy a human form utilizing the bio-restorative formula, Swamp Thing takes out his rage on a frail old man called Sunderland (who was, admittedly, his captor at the time) by smothering him to death against his muck-encrusted chest. Later on in the series, our favorite muck monster goes on to viciously break the arm of Jason Woodrue while the latter was brandishing a chainsaw. The crack of bone still echoes viscerally in my mind after all these years, a nightmare SFX that will haunt me forever, probably. Not content with merely causing intense physical trauma, Swamp Thing then goes on to viciously maul Woodrue’s belief-system with his monstrously drawn out rhetoric of the way the ecosystem actually works, causing perhaps the worst case of cognitive dissonance ever. I call this bit
The Maiming of Woodrue!
(aka “You call yourself a scientist??”)
In subsequent issues Swamp Thing slowly loses his faux humanity and becomes almost godlike, viewing people much as we would ants. No longer adhering to any code of superhero morality (if he ever did) he goes on to beat Batman to a pulp while inundating Gotham City with rampant vegetation that shuts down the city. All this because the good people of Gotham deemed it necessary to arrest Abby Cable for her unnatural love affair with a plant (as documented by a pervy photographer). Said plant is, of course, our very own walking green vegetable afrodisiac The Swamp Thing. This sordid episode does, of course, need it’s own title. Therefore, I give you
The Humiliation of The Bat
(aka “Alfred! Where’s the weed killer?”)
Later, an assassination attempt gone wrong sends Swamp Thing’s consciousness into space where he has numerous adventures, and when he finally returns to earth he mercilessly executes those responsible for the attempt on his life by killing them in a variety of disgusting and stomach-turning ways. (Example: One is killed by a bunch of roses that bursts to virulent life when he presents them to his lady, and another transgressor gets smothered in petals. The worst murder, however, is the man eating a lettuce-sandwich, who suddenly feels a spurt of growth inside him which turns out to be a rapidly expanding tree that slowly bursts from his body, causing him horrific pain before he dies. Death by roses, death by petals, death by lettuce. I call this
Mother Nature’s Triptych of Death!
(aka Flowers are a man’s worst friends)
So, to reiterate: NEVER GET OL’ SWAMPY MAD. Not unless you want roots sprouting from every orifice. And if you have any criminal inclinations, AVOID THE LOUISIANA SWAMPS AT ALL TIMES. They could be seriously bad for your health.