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Swamp Thing Vol 2 120

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"Lady Jane": Abigail Holland argues with her husband, the Swamp Thing. She is unhappy with the decision to have the elemental, Lady Jane, playing nanny to their infant child, [[Tefé Holland (New Earth)|Tefé


Quote1 The year is 1851. The place is the county of South Yorkshire, England. My name is Alicia Huston. And this is the first day of my descent into Hell. Quote2
-- Lady Jane



Appearing in "Lady Jane"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Villains:

  • Osgood Proctor (Only appearance; dies)

Other Characters:

  • Aleister Huston (Only appearance; dies)
  • Albert Huston
  • Emma Wesley (Only appearance; dies)
  • Granny Catgutt
  • Miriam Wesley
  • Ruth Huston

Locations:

Items:


Vehicles:




Synopsis for "Lady Jane"

Abigail Holland argues with her husband, the Swamp Thing. She is unhappy with the decision to have the elemental, Lady Jane, playing nanny to their infant child, Tefé. He attempts to remind her that they cannot handle raising her on their own, but Abby takes that to mean that she cannot take care of her own daughter as well as an emissary from the Parliament of Trees could.

Naturally, Abby is alright quite worn down by the fact that in the last twelve hours, her daughter was kidnapped by a murderer, and then the first person to comfort her was an elemental instead of her own mother. Patiently, Swamp Thing explains that as much as they love her, Tefé is not a normal child, and needs to be taught how to use her powers properly. His suggestion that Tefé has taken an immediate liking to Lady Jane mereley drives Abby into even greater fury.

Frustrated, Swamp Thing drags her outside, to the front yard where Lady Jane is playing with the Tefé. He pulls a bud from the lady elemental's back and shoves it into Abby's mouth. Immediately, Abby experiences a hallucinogenic understanding of Lady Jane's life.

Flashback
South Yorkshire, England, 1851

Alicia Huston is pregnant, and married to a wealthy man named Aleister. They live in a lavish country home in Yorkshire and already have a young daughter named Ruth. Through a series of poor investments however, Aleister has lost his fortune and is now forced to sell their home.

Alicia, Aleister and Ruth have little choice but to move into a flophouse in Sheffield. Aleister works for twelve hours every day of the week at a rate of sixpence per hour, of which Alicia sees little, given his drinking. They next door to a middle-aged woman named Emma Wesley who has several children of her own. Alicia and Emma become fast friends, but a drunken Aleister is resentful of the time she spends away from home.

Emma helps Alicia to deliver her second child; a boy. Aleister is pleased, and names him Albert after the prince. To celebrate, Aleister goes to a bar with some friends before work. Unfortunately, he is in no condition to work once he leaves, and due to his own folly he ends up spilling a vat of molten steel on himself, resulting in a horrible agonizing death.

Alicia promises herself she will not cry for him, and takes work with Emma at the textile factory. Though the hours are long, she manages to keep a roof over her small family's heads. While she's working, she is forced to leave her children with Emma's eldest, Miriam, who is still too young to be truly responsible.

The foreman of the mill, Osgood Proctor, takes an interest in Alicia and offers her a way to earn some extra income. He gives her a position as his secretary, which pays much better, with shorter hours. Unfortunately, it comes with the unpleasant drawback that she is required to giving in to her boss' affections. She tells herself that it is a small price to pay in order to feed her children.

Alicia's luck take a turn for the worse however, when she discovers that she has become pregnant with a third child fathered by Osgood Proctor. She approaches her boss to see what kind of financial stability she can expect him to provide her, but he utterly dismisses Alicia, putting her back out onto the factory floor to work as she had before.

Alicia cannot fathom how she could raise a third child under such conditions, and rather than put her eldest daughter to work, she decides at Emma's urging to seek out an old crone named Granny Catgutt. Granny sells her a special concoction that induces her to miscarry.

The following day, Alicia returns to work at the mill with Emma. While having a conversation, Emma's arm is caught inside the machinery and savagely chewed away. Alicia tries to help, but Proctor forces everyone to return to their duties as if nothing ever happened. Emma bleeds to death, and her body is wrapped in a heavy tarp and pitched into the back of a wagon.

Compounding the tragedy of Alicia's life even further, she returns home only to find that the house she shared with Emma is now engulfed in flame. She races towards the burning building, desperate to save her doomed children, but the flames consume her as well. Burning, she throws herself into the River Don, where the plants matter begins merging with her once-human form - the necessary factors in the birth of a new plant elemental.

At the textile mill, a child worker glances sadly at the machine which took Emma's life from her. Proctor reminds her that idle hands are the devil's helpmates, encouraging her to work again. Suddenly, the fibres in one of the milling machines weave themselves into a noose which loops around Proctor's neck, and yanks him into the machine where he is ground to pulp.

The mill fills with flowers grown from the textile fibres, and the women inside stampede out, knocking the child to the ground. The mill catches fire, and from out of the smoke and fire steps Alicia, now a plant elemental. She rescues the girl, and safely sets her out of the fire's reach.

As an elemental, she senses that the pattern that made up her life was trivial compared to what she sees in The Green. She has been chosen to protect The Green through this budding industrial age.

Coming out of her reverie, Abby instantly regrets her feelings, and rushes into Lady Jane's arms, apologizing. Lady Jane forgives her, because they are not so different.



Notes

  • Issue features a special thanks to Phil Nutman.
  • In the 1851 flashback, Emma Wesley jokingly warns her daughter Miriam not to burn down the house. Ironically, the house does in fact burn down. It is unknown whether or not Miriam had anything to do with the fire.

Trivia

  • One of the street signs in Sheffield reads "Eaton Court" after artist Scot Eaton.



See Also


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