A week from tomorrow, the series Swamp Thing, which was previously only on DC Universe streaming service, will begin playing on The CW. This horror-comic show follows a scientist-turned-monster defends the swamps of Louisiana with his plant-controlling powers.
The show leans into the comics more horror aspects, which is perfect as October starts this week.
The show has been received very well, despite only surviving a single season, with a 94% Rotten Tomatoes score, a 67% score on Metacritic, and even nominated for the Saturn Awards “Best Streaming Superhero Television Series” for 2019. Unfortunately, there is only a single season, as the show was cancelled five days after the premiere aired. Executive Producer James Wan was unsure of the reason of the cancellation, however since then they have stopped the yearly subscription option, and all original programming has been migrated to either The CW or HBO Max.
As I didn’t have DC Universe, I wasn’t able to watch the show, but I am interested in the character, even though I haven’t read any of his stories before. I really only know him as a parallel to Marvel’s Man Thing, which I also don’t know a ton about. So I thought it would be a good idea to learn a little bit about the character, since the show was created for fans of DC comics, only being released initially on DC Universe. The information below is from the comics, but characters and story lines are the ones seen in the show, though the details differ from source to adaptation. The site is still up to watch those shows and read the comics, however.
So I know that he is a giant swamp-plant monster thing, but what specifically are his powers?
At it’s simplest form, Swamp Thing is a collection of “sentient vegetable matter” who can sustain itself through photosynthesis, like most plants. His strength is from his connection to The Green, of which he is the avatar. Through The Green, he has complete control over all plant life, and has the power of Astral Projection, as well as possession of others. So long as there are living plants, there will be Swamp Thing.
The Green is the name of the force that flows through all living things in the universe. That force has manifested itself into a humanoid, that is Swamp Thing. So while The Green is more than just Swamp Thing, Swamp Thing is nothing more than The Green.
A chemist from Louisiana, Alec Holland and his wife Linda invented a Bio-Restorative Formula, which was designed to stimulate hormonal growth in plant life, enabling plants to grow in hostile terrain. This would solve any food shortage in the world, essentially the ultimate GMO. However, his laboratory was destroyed by a bomb, planted by those who hired Holland in the first place. As his body died in the Louisiana swamp, covered in his new Formula, The Green absorbed Holland’s body and mind, and he awoke as Swamp Thing.
Abigail “Abby” Arcane
As a child, Abby noticed she had a spectacular, almost supernatural, sense of empathy, which she uses to become a nurse for her village in Romania. Unfortunately her uncle, Anton Arcane is a scientist/magician who wants to research immortality, leaving a trail of monsters, called “Un-Men,” in his path. While Anton’s goal is to find and take over the body of Swamp Thing, Abby gains a connection with Swamp Thing through her empathetic powers. She later becomes the wife of Alec Holland, Swamp Thing.
General Sunderland was the President/CEO of Sunderland Corporation, a scientific research firm that worked closely with Defense Department Intelligence, the military arm of the US Justice Department. It was the DDI that funded Alec Holland’s research and creation of the Bio-Restorative formula.
Note: It seems that the show has combined the comic characters Anton Arcane and Avery Sunderland
A DDI officer, assigned to protect Alec Holland during his research, prior to his death. Husband to Abby Arcane, until his death as a result of being possessed by Abby’s uncle, Anton Arcane.
Saga of the Swamp Thing
By far, the most recommended stories to read from the Swamp Thing are the three collections of the Alan Moore run of the comics. The three go from a great origin story of the character in The Anatomy Lesson, and continues through the first appearance of the character John Constantine. Before Watchmen, it was Swamp Thing where Alan Moore made his debut in the US comic industry.