Swamp Thing may have a new avatar, but DC Black Label has other ideas with the previous one.
Dr. Alec Holland, who held the title of Swamp Thing, returns in an upcoming miniseries Swamp Thing: Green Hell.
Swamp Thing: Green Hell – What to Expect And The Swampy Line of Succession
It should be noted that currently that Alec Holland has relinquished the role of avatar in the current 10-issue The Swamp Thing miniseries under unknown circumstances. The current muckman is medical student Levi Kamei, which was also Holland’s most recent cameo as he passed the torch before passing on to another plane of existence.
Green Hell, a 3-part saga by Sweet Tooth scribe Jeff Lemire and artist Doug Mahnke, is separate from the current continuity and described as a “gory, gruesome, monster mash.” With a penciller regarded by the publisher as “one of the greatest artists in modern DC history,” and co-creator of the zombified Black Lantern Corps, Jeff can definitely back up that description with gusto.
The story takes place on a dystopian Earth where human survivors reside on a mountain atop a never-ending ocean of floodwater. Lemire could be topical in this story if he labels the cause as the arctic finally melting due to climate change, but without further detail it is speculation at this point. Regardless, humanity is now the pariah of the Parliaments of Green, Red, and The Rot for their failure to care for the planet. To that end, the avatar summoned by their combined powers is described as “one of the most horrific monsters to ever stalk the surface of this forsaken planet.” As for Holland himself, he arrives after being apparently dead for decades. Further, it is not clear whether he will be defending humanity as Swamp Thing, or as this new monstrous executioner that resembles Swamp Thing.
Cocreators Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson first chronicled Alec Holland’s tragic tale in 1972’s Swamp Thing #1. The creator of a bio-restorative formula funded by the government, Holland was attacked in his Florida home by spies and murdered by explosives in his lab. The original concept was the burning formula on his body mingled with the swamp waters he ran towards outside. The end result was a muck-encrusted mockery of a man whose life became one of horror and monsters. When Wein personally hired Alan Moore onto the book, he turned the origin on its ear, bringing in the supernatural elements fans are familiar with and revealed Alec Holland was, indeed, dead, and this Swamp Thing was “a plant that thinks it’s a man.” From there, it was established the Parliament of The Green bestowed the role of Swamp Thing several times before Holland, including making Alex Olsen, the original Swamp Thing from House of Secrets #92 canon. Holland himself was indeed a candidate, but the formula on his body had blocked the change, so the next best thing was a Swamp Thing with Holland’s memories and personality, but just a construct. In the early 2000s miniseries, Brightest Day, writer Geoff Johns took advantage of the opportunity to resurrect Holland and make him the one, true Swamp Thing and dispatch his then-corrupted doppelganger. Scott Snyder then took it from there in his Swamp Thing title for The New 52, which became one of the highlights of that part of DC. He also took a page from the Green Lantern universe and created the other elemental parliaments in Green Hell, even designating Holland’s nemesis Anton Arcane as The Rot’s avatar. Swamp Thing has bounced around several times since that run, even written in a miniseries one more time by Len Wein before his death.
The first 48-page issue of Swamp Thing: Green Hell is set to debut December 28th with cover variants by Christian Ward and Francesco Fancavilla.