"The Quest for the Elementals - Part I: Matango": Swamp Thing carries his wife Abby to the Parliament of Trees in Brazil. Outside of the Parliament's domain, they are surrounded suddenly by the honour guard, a group of indigenous
Appearing in "The Quest for the Elementals - Part I: Matango"
- Matango (Flashback and main story)
- Rheelai (Flashback only)
Synopsis for "The Quest for the Elementals - Part I: Matango"
Swamp Thing carries his wife Abby to the Parliament of Trees in Brazil. Outside of the Parliament's domain, they are surrounded suddenly by the honour guard, a group of indigenous peoples sworn to protect the Parliament. The natives are reticent to allow a human such as Abby in to the Parliament, but they are interrupted by Biffa and Tefé, who lead Abby and her husband to see the Inner House of the Parliament.
On the way, Biffa explains that there are two Houses within the Parliament as a means of protecting the time loop which created them when the Swamp Thing went back in time and planted the great tree Yggdrasil. After the thirteenth elemental came into being, the Parliament decided to stop sharing the memories that the Swamp Thing gave them with new elementals, and since then, the Outer House has been comprised of those elementals who had no knowledge of the Swamp Thing's role as their progenitor.
In the grove of the Inner Parliament, Abby and Swamp Thing discover that Matango was once a member of the Parliament, too. In fact, he was the thirteenth elemental - the last to have secret knowledge of the Parliament's creation. Not unreasonably, Abby distrusts the Parliament, and asks what they have to say about Alan Hallman, the predecessor about whom they failed to tell Swamp Thing.
Biffa explains that Hallman was taken by The Grey before he could take root with the Parliament. Curious, Swamp Thing asks why his predecessors all seem to have been involved in the creation of a Bio-Restorative Formula, and why there is such similarity in their names. The Inner House explains that the map to the Swamp Thing's future that he gave them when he created the Parliament was sparse, and as such, they began selecting elementals based on the similarity of their names to that of Alec Holland, and subtly influenced them towards studies in plant regeneration. As such, even Alec Holland was manipulated into becoming the Swamp Thing. Angrily, Swamp Thing realizes that everything that has ever happened to he and his family has been the direct result of the Parliament's meddling.
As they turn to leave, Yggdrasil tempts Swamp Thing with the promise of helping his daughter Tefé to rebuild her human body. Taking the girl from his wife, he allows the trees to take her, and before their eyes, Tefé generates a human body for herself. With their child back, Swamp Thing and Abby are more willing to hear the Parliament out. They give Abby a fruit from Tuuru, the tree of knowledge, so that she can understand the words of the trees as they explain the danger that Matango and the Grey pose to her daughter.
At the beginning of creation, Sila, the master of the forest lords, seeded the planets with potential for life. In the Sol system, the seeds took root on three different planets: Earth, Jupiter, and another which has since been destroyed. On that last planet lived a fungal collective consciousness thriving on The Grey.
After the inception of the Parliament of Trees, there was created a system by which The Green was protected by a chosen elemental. The thirteenth in the line of these protectors was Matango. When a meteor from the destroyed grey planet came to earth, Matango approached the Parliament with hopes of protecting the Earth.
Instead, the Parliament wanted to create a new elemental based on this new fungal life form so they could learn from it. Matango volunteered to be that elemental, and though the Parliament felt that his intentions were suspicious, they allowed it, so long as he left a receptacle for the knowledge that his first form had gained him.
However, Matango's intent was to grow more powerful than the Parliament, and form his own. Unsuspected, The Grey's collective had its own will, which is merged with Matango's in order to fulfill its need to spread, consume, and break down life. The next time the Parliament saw him, it was as an emissary of The Grey. Though his change was contentious, The Grey and The Green lived in peace for years.
With the dawn of man, however, the Parliament felt that humanity's destructive potential needed to be controlled and restrained. Matango felt that the potential should be unleashed. He tempted humans with fruit from the branches of Tuuru, the tree of knowledge.
As a result of the change in mankind, the Parliament caused an ice age to separate the new race of men from the old. A war began between The Green and The Grey. Having once resided in the Garden of Eden, the Parliament was forced to abandon its former home in the wake of Matango's attacks. The Grey weakened the Parliament to the point that it froze over, and they had to relocate to Brazil, on the Tefé River.
Following the war, a compromise was made which allowed the new race of man to conquer the old, and for those lost to The Grey to remain so. The new race of man's gradual destruction of the environment had so far satisfied Matango, but with the Swamp Thing's actions, escaping from his prison in the Claw of Aelkhünd and planting the seed of the old race of man in his own human elemental daughter, Matango awoke.
Yggdrasil urges that the Swamp Thing and his family remain in hiding with the Parliament, as the danger to The Green would be too great if The Grey took hold of Tefé. Despite this, Eyam - once a prisoner to The Grey - believes that Matango will destroy all of The Green if he is not confronted. Unfortunately, he and Swamp Thing are only two voices in all the woods. With Eyam's help, Swamp Thing decides to bring back as many of those founders who have been trapped in stasis since the great migration. With their voices and their power, he hopes to protect his daughter, and fight The Grey.
- This issue establishes The Grey, and consequently all fungus and mould-based life on earth - as extraterrestrial in origin.
- This issue explains the exile of man from the Garden of Eden by presenting Matango as the serpent who tempted men to taste of the fruit from the tree of knowledge - Tuuru, a founder of the Parliament of Trees.
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