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Animal Man Vol 2 18

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"Rotworld: The Red Kingdom, Epilogue": In Blestemat, the Parliament of Decay explains how their Avatar, Anton Arcane acted against their wishes and offset the balance between The Red, The Green, and The Rot. While [[Bernhard Baker (Pri


Quote1 No, Ellen Baker. She is so much more. And she belongs to everyone. She is the all-mother. She is the giver of life. She is our salvation. Quote2
-- Socks



Appearing in "Rotworld: The Red Kingdom, Epilogue"

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Synopsis for "Rotworld: The Red Kingdom, Epilogue"

In Blestemat, the Parliament of Decay explains how their Avatar, Anton Arcane acted against their wishes and offset the balance between The Red, The Green, and The Rot. While Buddy Baker and the Swamp Thing have saved this world, everyone they loved there is dead. The Parliament of Decay promises that they can send the two of them through the realm of death, back to before the Rot took hold, but they will only have one chance to set things right. Reluctantly, the two jump into the portal opened before them.

Immediately, Buddy is separated from Alec, falling upwards through a black landscape of death and darkness. He sees the trapped spirits of those he had to kill in order to get to this point, and though he wants to help them, it is only his family that he can think of, and he forces his way onward.

He lands on the ground hard near his family's RV, dislocating his shoulder. Though he is immediately attacked by piece of Rot, he thrusts it aside and runs away, knowing that the RV is empty. Using various animal powers, he tracks them to the barn where Maxine Baker was led by William Arcane. There, she is being tempted by the remaining two of the Hunters Three to join them, with the promise that they would spare her family if she did. As she gives herself over to them, Buddy arrives and surprises them.

Seeing her father alive and well, Maxine burns the hunter that holds her, and rushes back to her mother's arms, while Buddy beats back the hunters. Meanwhile, William Arcane attempts to attack Ellen, and Maxine socks him in the mouth. Angrily, he announces his intent to kill her, but the hunters are tired of him, and having seen that Buddy returned, they know Anton Arcane has forsaken them and knock the boy to his apparent death.

Seeing the boy murdered enrages Buddy, and he returns to fighting, but he can't defeat them alone. Maxine picks up Socks and heals the rot that infected him, and he explains that she is needed to help defeat the hunters. Ellen forbids it, though, and in the meantime, Cliff rushes into the fray to help his father. Buddy warns him away though, knowing that he can be of no help.

Finally, Socks explains to Ellen of how Maxine is more than just her daughter. She is important to the continued existence of all life, and without her, they will fall. Taking her aside, Socks asks Maxine how she healed him. Though she doesn't know, she believes that she simply used the cycle of life and death to transform the rotten tissue back into living tissue. Socks explains that these hunters are the same, and if she seeks out their original forms within their rotten ones, she can transform them too.

Maxine steps forward, dipping into the power of the Red, and almost immediately, the hunters begin to sense a change within themselves, and they do not like it. The Rot in them churns and twists as Maxine begins to see the hunters as they once were, recreating them as they were from the rotten tissue. Soon, two humans stand before them, confused as to where they are, asking questions about a Project Taproot and an Ascension chamber. This perplexes Buddy and Socks, because the Totems of the Parliament of Limbs had claimed that the Hunters Three were former Animal Men, corrupted by the Rot.

In the meantime, Buddy is pleased to just be with his family, safe and sound. That is, until William Arcane rises up and attempts to kill Buddy. Cliff spots him, and leaps in between them, and though Arcane collapses, he manages to stab Cliff in the chest. Dying, Arcane warns Buddy that no matter what, he cannot escape death.

Buddy cradles his dying son in his arms as Cliff coughs that at least he managed to save his father, and become the hero he always wanted to be.

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