Swamp Thing: Green Hell



Swamp Thing: Green Hell
Jeff Lemire, writer; Doug Mahnke, artist; David Baron, colorist
DC Black Label, 2023

Swamp Thing has been revisited so many times that it can be difficult to begin a new series without having some confusion about the status quo: this one seems to be set in the New 52 version of the DC Universe, where Jeff Lemire worked on Animal Man, and the two series interacted. So, there is no Parliament of Gears (which was introduced in the recent series by writer Ram V. and artist Mike Perkins), but the Rot (introduced in the New 52) is a factor in the story, along with the historic Green and Red.

The series has used ecological disaster as a plot point many times: here the situation is far worse. It takes place on an Earth so far gone that the last of humanity is surviving on a mountaintop island in the midst of endless floodwater. The Parliaments of the Green, the Red, and the Rot are unified in their decision that it is time to do away with human beings altogether and give the planet a reset, since humanity only succeeded in achieving apocalyptic ecological failure.

The Parliaments summon a horrific avatar, which is far too powerful for the surviving humans to defeat. Alec Holland (the former Swamp Thing, avatar of the Green) would be the perfect champion, if he hadn't been dead for decades. The old man who lives in the lighthouse is John Constantine–a character reference that goes back to the original Alan Moore run–and he knows how to summon the Swamp Thing. Alec is not happy, but Constantine tells him that they need his help to save humanity from the Green.

He has been pulled from a happy existence with Abby and Tefé in a virtual haven. When he pleads with the Parliament to save the remaining humans, they instead cut off his connection to the Green. He will have no more powers, nor the ability to be reborn. Meanwhile, Constantine seeks Deadman's help to find Maxine Baker: Animal Man's daughter, now Animal Woman. John even goes to Hell and strikes a bargain (another thing that has happened more than once in the history of the character). The climax is huge–even given the ever-escalating stakes in the history of these characters–but I don't want to spoil it. If you have read this far, you probably want to read it. Terrific work by the whole creative team.

You need to be a member of Captain Comics to add comments!

Join Captain Comics

Votes: 0
Email me when people reply –


  • I started reading Swamp thing from the beginning a while ago, but the Millar issues of the Saga/Vertigo run really wore me out. I had planned to go all the way through "New 52" which is where I left of, but I got only as far as the Tefé series (2000) before I gave up. I'd really have to do some reading to cath up to this point, and that's just not in the cards now. Always glad to learn what going on in the swamp, though.

    • I know you have the full reread gene, Jeff. I wasn't even tempted to reread everything up to this point! But I did read the previous series, so I felt like I was ready for this. That plus reading most of Jeff Lemire's stuff.

    • Under other circumstances I might not, but I hate leaving " reading projects" unfinished. :) 

  • The older I get, the more I think characters like Ra's al Ghul (and now the Parliament) may have it right. Is it really heroic to save a species that has devastated the planet? 

    • I see your point. It would have been an incredibly dark ending to this book, though!

    • Maybe the ending could have jumped ahead a bajillion years, where dolphins had evolved as the most advanced species, and ran the world in peace and harmony! The older I get, the more certain I am that we will never grow up enough to do that. 

This reply was deleted.