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"The Memoirs of an Epiphyte": While in the Nexus, Suzy Linden awakens to the voice of Elissa, the hamadryad spirit of an ancient oak tree. There, Elissa encourages Suzy to recall her past, all the way back to her first memory.
Appearing in "The Memoirs of an Epiphyte"
- Black Orchid (Flora Black) (Flashback only)
- Junkin Buckley (Flashback and main story)
- Carl Thorne (Dies in flashback)
- Philip Sylvain (Flashback only)
- Susan Linden (Flashback only)
- Houma (Flashback only)
Synopsis for "The Memoirs of an Epiphyte"
While in the Nexus, Suzy Linden awakens to the voice of Elissa, the hamadryad spirit of an ancient oak tree. There, Elissa encourages Suzy to recall her past, all the way back to her first memory.
Suzy had once been an actual orchid, which had been attached to electrodes by the scientist Philip Sylvain - an ally of Susan Linden, the Black Orchid. When Susan's abusive husband Carl Thorne arrived in the lab to kill Susan, Sylvain and all the human-plant hybrids that Sylvain was growing, Suzy woke up and escaped.
While hiding in a tree, Suzy was met by Flora Black, the only other surviving plant-human hybrid. Flora had comforted her, and agreed to act as Suzy's mother. Then, together, they had gone to Gotham City to find an ally.
While Flora was busy seeking out her ally, she left Suzy in another tree. Suzy became lonely, but she soon encountered a strange boy with a strong cockney English accent and a propensity to recite nursery rhymes named Junkin Buckley. She found him intriguing, and was easily persuaded by him to play a game of truth or dare. After making her promise never to tell anyone about him, Junkin dared Suzy to talk to a bearded man on the ground below. Unfortunately, the man captured her, and put her in a truck. When she looked back up into the tree, Junkin was gone.
In the truck, she was visited by Buckley again, and he comforted her with stories. However, he disappeared again when Flora came to save her, warning that Flora is never to see him. Together, Suzy and Flora went to Brazil. She encountered Junkin Buckley there, too, though only when Flora was away. While in Brazil, she and Flora were attacked by Carl and his accomplices again. Carl was killed, and the local indigenous people burned his body.
Flora and Suzy left Brazil to return to the city, but it was a long and hard journey full of confusion, and something strange happened to her. Eventually, they stopped in a Louisiana swamp, looking for Swamp Thing. Unfortunately, he was not there, but not long after, they encountered a group of dryads. The dryads took Suzy to Elissa's tree, hoping that she could be healed there.
Elissa reveals that Suzy is something very old, older even than herself. She suggests that Suzy is something more than simply a hybrid with Susan Linden's DNA. She is not Suzy, as such. This confuses Suzy, but Elissa doesn't have any answers, and must return to being a tree as the sun comes up.
Alone, Suzy becomes angry at the thought that she might not be who or what she thinks she is. Suddenly, she hears the voice of Junkin Buckley, even here in the Nexus. She follows it until she meets him, and he invites her to play another game with him.
Appearing in "The Wiles of Junkin Buckley"
- Junkin Buckley
- The Nexus
- Free Country
Synopsis for "The Wiles of Junkin Buckley"
In the Nexus, Junkin Buckley takes Suzy to a cottage made of candy. As she eats from it, Junkin goes on a rant about how grownups make children eat greens, and how he doesn't much like greens or grownups.
After having her fill, Suzy suggests that the play a game. Junkin slyly suggests that most of the fun games require more than two people to play, and that she should return with him to Free Country if she wants to play them. Suzy is apprehensive about leaving, knowing that her friend Elissa would be upset if she left. Junkin acquiesces, suggesting that they play Rock, Paper, Scissors. Junkin wins the first round, and gets to lick his fingers and smack her wrist. Suzy wins the next round and does the same to him, only much, much harder.
Suzy demands that Junkin complete his turn in the game of Truth or Dare that he started long ago. He chooses to answer a truth, to her delight. She asks him that when he had improvised a poem around her name saying "I love you" upon their meeting, whether he had meant that or not. Junkin states that as he thinks about it now, it is true, and he does love her. Suzy is suitably pleased, but she doesn't see that Junkin had his fingers crossed behind his back.
Elissa returns to the Nexus, and she and Suzy discuss the secret friend that Susan Linden once had. Elissa suggests that the friend might have been Junkin Buckley, but Suzy doesn't know. Still, Suzy likes Junkin and his games. She describes some of the games, and Elissa suddenly becomes wary. She asks whether Junkin has mentioned a place called Free Country, and Suzy lies that he did not.
Elissa explains that the Nexus is more of a transitional place of passage, full of gateways, than it is a destination. Only Elissa's kind are allowed to make a home in the Nexus. She reveals that there is a place connected to the Nexus called Free Country, where human children sometimes go when their lives become unendurable. She warns that if Junkin is from Free Country, Suzy should beware of him. Suzy angrily defends her friend, eschewing Elissa's offers to tell stories and play games with her.
Later, Suzy and Junkin play some more. When he mentions offhand that he comes from Free Country, Suzy becomes curious, and asks him what it is like. He explains that it is a place for children, where there are no grownups and nobody ages. They plays games all day long. He describes the rules of the game Kiss Chase, romanticizing it for Suzy's benefit. He asks whether she would kiss him if he caught her in the kiss chase, and Suzy offers that she would kiss him now, if he wanted. Crossing his fingers again, he states that the kiss must be part of the game, as per tradition. Sadly, Suzy says she cannot play the game, because she can't leave the Nexus. Grumpily, Junkin demands that Suzy ask Elissa a question for him. That night, Suzy asks Elissa what she would do if someone cut her down. Elissa reluctantly responds that before dying, she would lay a horrible curse on the man who cut her down, his wife, and his children.
Later, Junkin attempts to convince Suzy that Elissa is simply trying to make her grow up, and that grownups are horrible. Angrily, Suzy agrees to join Junkin in Free Country. Later, Elissa returns to the Nexus to find Suzy missing.<br/. Elswhere, Black Orchid inquires after Suzy with the dryads. They believe that Suzy is still doing well under the care of Elissa, but Flora still wants to see Suzy before she returns to the human world. The dryads agree to take her to Elissa's tree, and one of the dryads communes with Elissa to inquire after Suzy. Elissa reveals that Suzy has gone, but due to her promise to the girl, she cannot reveal where or how she has gone. Elissa tells the dryad to lie to Black Orchid about Suzy's disappearance, knowing that nothing can be done to get her back.
Appearing in "The Anger of the Black Orchid"
- Philip Sylvain
- Nick Scrumm
- Fred Pescovitch
- Mademoiselle Magique
Synopsis for "The Anger of the Black Orchid"
Susan Linden persuades Fred Pescovitch, a blackmail victim, to come forward along with some others to join against their antagonist; Nick Scrumm. She promises vengeance for all of Scrumm's victims, including herself.
Elsewhere, Philip Sylvain tends to his human-plant hybrids, created using Susan's DNA, and calling each of them by name. He is surprised to find Susan waiting for him in his home. She doesn't regret breaking the law to gather the list of Scrumm's victims, knowing that now she can gather them together and have them testify. However, before calling the police, she decides to have Scrumm sign some papers she's drafted that will force him to pay the victims directly, and without legal complications.
Susan asks about the hybrids Phil is tending to, and he notes that they're all doing well - even the regressive one that is years behind the others in development. He is convinced that there is something strange about that particular one, and decides to run some tests on it.
Susan decides to disguise herself as a female employee of Scrumm's nightclub, in order to gain access to him. On her way there, though, she notices some of Scrumm's men chasing down an unarmed man named Finney, who she recognizes from the list of victims. They corner him in an alley and begin beating him. Black Orchid intervenes, easily trouncing Finney's attackers. In exchange for saving his life, she asks only that he testify against Scrumm.
She dons her disguise and enters the nightclub. When she is confronted by Scrumm thinking she is someone else, she introduces herself as Susan. Scrumm assumes that the girl Millie that he mistook her for must be the real identity of Black Orchid. She then sneaks up to the control room and turns out the lights. With the lights out, Scrumm interacts with an act called Mademoiselle Magique, who reveals a black orchid - Susan's calling card. Then, a tape recording plays, demanding that Scrumm return the $1,505,320 that he extorted from his victims by midnight. The Black Orchid then swoops down and drags Scrumm high into the sky above the city.
Initially, Scrumm refuses to pay back his victims and sign the contract she drew up, but when Black Orchid drops him, he changes his mind. She catches him, and forces him to sign a cheque. Meanwhile, an automated phone message informs the police of the evidence she has collected.
Back at Sylvain's place, he wonders aloud to Susan whether or not there must be some kind of magic involved in the success of his experiments with human-plant hybrids. He notes that he had spent years working on these experiments before, with no results, but once Susan re-entered his life, it suddenly worked. He decides to show Susan the young regressive hybrid he had tested, only to discover that it destroyed his testing equipment. Susan decides that there should be no more tests. They will simply let nature take its course.
- The credits on "The Anger of the Black Orchid" are jokingly written as a combination of the original crew from Adventure Comics #430's names, and the names of the crew that worked on revamping the story for this issue.
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- Cover gallery for the Black Orchid Annual series
Links and References
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