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"Rotworld: Prologue, Part One": Cliff Baker is sick. Since he was exposed to the influence of The Rot, he hasn't been well, and his mother Ellen feels partly responsible. She is supposed to be able to keep her childre
Appearing in "Rotworld: Prologue, Part One"
- Mary Frazier
- Cliff Baker
- Parliament of Limbs (Flashback only)
- Flash (Appears only as a corpse) (In a vision)
- Swamp Water Inn
Synopsis for "Rotworld: Prologue, Part One"
Cliff Baker is sick. Since he was exposed to the influence of The Rot, he hasn't been well, and his mother Ellen feels partly responsible. She is supposed to be able to keep her children safe, and she has failed. Her husband Buddy steps into the room, announcing that it is time for them to leave. It is time for them to go into the swamp and seek out Alec Holland, the avatar of The Green, so that they can unite against The Rot. Ellen has insisted on accompanying Buddy and their daughter Maxine into the swamp, determined to protect at least one of their children.
They leave Cliff behind to be looked after by Ellen's mother Mary, who stops Buddy before he can leave, warning him that she has never been comfortable with him marrying Ellen. His super-hero exploits have always been a burden and a danger to his wife and children. Even so, she knows that he loves his children more than anything - so she makes him promise to make them safe.
The Bakers are led through the thick swamp by their cat Socks, who claims to be able to sense the Swamp Thing's location via the interconnectivity of Red, Green, and Black. The deeper into the swamps they go, the more eager Ellen is to get out. She misunderstands the nature of their journey, thinking that the Swamp Thing can help heal Cliff. This is not so. Alec and Buddy are destined to become elemental warrior kings, and fight back the Rot. This is all that can save Cliff.
Buddy wonders how Socks can sense the Swamp Thing, so the cat teaches him how to use The Red to sense the Green. From an alligator, Buddy senses the way its jaws snap around a thrush. That thrush has just eaten some riverbed plants, which has allowed the Green to enter its bloodstream. Now, the Green is in the Alligator as well. Focusing on the connection, Buddy has a sudden flash of the Swamp Thing, deeper in the swamp. He and Maxine rush ahead, much to Ellen's growing anxiety.
They come upon the Swamp Thing and Abigail Arcane standing over a portal into the Rot. Alec suggests that they get away from it, but Buddy's voice comes from behind him, claiming that they must enter the portal together in order to stop the Rot once and for all.
Back at the hotel, Mary Frazier discovers that Cliff is burning up with a fever and gets a cold, damp cloth for his forehead. When she returns to the bedroom, she finds his bed empty, and the door open.
The Bakers share the story of how they discovered Maxine's powers, and their pursuit by the Hunters Three until Buddy was killed and had to rebuild his own body and kill an imposter who had taken his old body. The imposter managed to infect Cliff, somehow, and now they have come to find Alec in the hopes that he can help them defeat the Rot. While the adults talk, Maxine finds her way to the Rot portal and looks into the black surface. There, she sees a vision of a possible future, in which she is the avatar of the Red in a burning city. The Justice League is dead, though some heroes yet remain. Even so, the world is overrun by the Un-Men, and Anton Arcane is a threat. Though Ellen can't see her daughter's visions, Abby can - as she admits that she is connected to the Rot in the same way that Buddy and Alec are connected with the Green.
Alec and Buddy resolve to enter the Rot, tethering themselves to this world with the Swamp Thing's roots. Before they can go, Maxine begs her father to stay behind. Ellen makes him promise to come back for them. They need him. Abby asks Alec if he's sure that he wants her to stay behind. He explains that her connection to the Rot might ensure that she never gets out once she's in. Despite her feelings of responsibility, she urges him to hurry back to her.
Buddy and Alec leap into the portal, leaving Ellen, Maxine, and Abby nothing to do but wait and be ready for anything. Elsewhere, Cliff wanders the street repeating that Rotworld is coming. He approaches a man who appears to be made entirely out of carrion flies. In the swamp, Socks senses that something is wrong. They turn their heads to see the creatures of the Rot rising up out of the portal to attack them.
- Story continues in Swamp Thing (Volume 5) #12
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