DCeased Dead Planet makes a reference to Vertigo’s iconic Swamp Thing run to explain how deep Swamp Thing and Constantine’s relationship is.
Warning! Spoilers to DCeased: Dead Planet #5, out now!
Ever since he was first introduced in The Saga of the Swamp Thing #37, John Constantine and Swamp Thing have always been connected. The entity that was once formerly Alec Holland and the famous occultist and con artist have had a turbulent relationship, tarnished by manipulation, conflicting agendas, and yet they remain friendly and will begrudgingly help each other. This interesting relationship appears to be intact in the pages of DCeased, where their latest team-up reveals that they are bonded by an unusual event that involved getting Alex’s ex-girlfriend pregnant.
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The event in question occurred in Swamp Thing #76 (1988) by Rick Veitch and artist Alfredo Alcala that follows Swamp Thing asking his current partner Abby Arcane if she’d like to have a baby with him – the child being a home for the entity called Sprout whom Swampy was told to destroy by his boss, the Parliament of Trees. Due to the limitations of Alec’s current supernatural form, he travels to London and appears in John Constantine’s apartment, where Swamp Thing takes control of his body and mind when his words fail to have any effect. Traveling to Louisiana, Swamp Thing is not amused at the extent of John’s manipulation and plans to exploit him in the past but continues to use his body for this purpose. Although Abby doesn’t trust John, Alec is able to convince her to get in bed with him, where they make love during her period of ovulation. Although John regains control of his body mid-lovemaking, which Abby was afraid might happen, they are successful and Abby would give birth to their child Tefe Holland in Swamp Thing #90.
In DCeased: Dead Planet #5 by Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine, their version of Constantine is reunited with his old ally and protector of the Green when Swamp Thing notifies him of the Second Bunker’s appearance. Showing that some of John’s winning personality has rubbed off of Alec throughout the years, John and his team, the Shadowpact, traveled to Australia, a mission that killed half of the participants and left Swamp Thing concerned about the Bunker’s cruel exploitation of the Green for its own survival. Swamp Thing is the only person who knows of John’s goals to obtain magical objects to help save the dying world from the arrival of the demon Trigon. As Constantine recruits Batman, Batgirl, Red Hood, and Ravager to help him, Constantine explains that where they need to go is hidden by magic but that Swamp Thing can reach it. John explains that because of their past, particularly using Constantine as his spiritual surrogate, he and Swamp Thing are connected, meaning that their bond enables them to follow Alec anywhere in the world.
Taylor again proves that he’s not only done his homework but that he continues to have fun doing so. The situation of Tefe Holland, and the means of her creation, was already complicated and John’s involvement made it even more complicated considering he was demonically tainted at the time of the conception. This was passed on to Swamp Thing’s daughter who saw her father return to hell to reclaim her soul, just like he had her mother. It may come off as hilarious but Swamp Thing’s dismissal of these memories, much less mentioning them could be a sign that Alec has neither forgotten or truly forgiven Constantine for everything that happened by involving him.
Although DCeased has the common zombie apocalypse storyline we’ve seen before, Taylor and his collaborators keep it fresh and entertaining by telling a story that isn’t afraid to reference classic DC stories alongside modern ones. Hopefully, Swamp Thing and Constantine are able to keep their current alliance intact, because considering what’s coming, they’re gonna need all the firepower and magic they can assemble to stop the real end from coming.
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