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"Southern Change": After being informed by John Constantine that something evil and dark will be happening in Louisiana soon, Swamp Thing asks his girlfriend Abby Holland whether she has seen anything
- He claims... the darkness that is stirring within this country... will shortly manifest itself here... Perhaps... he tells the truth.
- -- Swamp Thing
Appearing in "Southern Change"
- Wesley Jackson (As a spirit)
- Charlotte Jackson (As a spirit)
- William (As a spirit)
- Angela Lamb
- Richard Deal
- Billy Carlton
- Mr. Linder
- Robertaland plantation
Synopsis for "Southern Change"
After being informed by John Constantine that something evil and dark will be happening in Louisiana soon, Swamp Thing asks his girlfriend Abby Holland whether she has seen anything strange. Abby responds that all seems well, and most people in town are excited because there is a television soap opera set in the Old South being filmed at the remains of a real plantation. Most of the black people in town have been cast as extras, playing slaves.
Tensions on the set of the soap opera, where actors Richard Deal, Angela Lamb, and Billy Carlton struggle to restrain their own feelings regarding race and slavery. Angela is something of a bigot, while Billy has been cast as the slave despite his over-sensitivity to racism. Billy also has a cocaine addiction which made his last film a commercial failure. During rehearsals, arguments break out between the actors. Suddenly, Billy seems to be possessed by the spirit of a slave that used to work at the old plantation known as Robertaland. He refers to Angela as Charlotte, the white mistress of the Robertaland plantation. The director and other actors believe that Billy is improvising, and praise him. After Billy's 'performance', Angela seems to warm to him.
As time passes, Abby gets a part-time job working on the set of the soap opera, and senses the tension there. She warns Swamp Thing about it, and he investigates. He discovers some symbols drawn in salt on the ground around the plantation property, and wonders what they portend.
During another rehearsal, Richard Deal, despite his somewhat confused and hesitant approach to playing a racist, becomes possessed by the cruel and highly prejudiced spirit of Wesley Jackson, Charlotte's husband and the owner of Robertaland. He vividly pictures himself whipping Billy, but when he snaps out of it and tries to apologize, Billy has no idea what he's talking about. The director, once again, assumes that he is improvising. Later, Angela catches Billy doing cocaine, and he begs her to promise not to tell his manager about it. She promises she won't, and heavily suggests that the two of them should begin a sexual relationship, despite her apparent relationship with Richard.
Outside, Abby encounters a woman named Alice who works at the same school that she does, and finds her drawing what appears to be the same salt patterns the Swamp Thing had previously discovered. Alice seems confused, and perhaps even possessed by the spirit of one of the Robertaland slaves. She reports back to Swamp Thing that tensions at the set are growing higher, and begs him to look into it tonight, believing it to be the darkness Constantine warned of. Together, they decide to check things out.
As night falls, the extras have all become possessed by the ghosts of dead slaves, and are performing exotic and violent fireside rituals on the lawn. All of the primary cast members have become fully possessed by the ghosts of the original residents of the plantation, analogously with their characters on the soap. Richard, possessed by Wesley Jackson discovers Angela and Billy kissing, and a scene unfolds which mirrors what actually happened there, years ago. At that time, Wesley Jackson became disgusted with his wife Charlotte's consorting with a mere slave, and decided to drag William down to the basement, tie him to a pole, and have him flayed alive, in order to see whether blacks and whites really are the same underneath the skin. He forced Charlotte to watch as her lover was killed.
Unfortunately, those events are now being carried out in the present, and Billy Carlton is soon to fall victim to history repeating itself.
- No special notes.
- The issue title comes from the Neil Young song "Southern Man," about the legacy of slavery and the Ku Klux Klan.
- The man with the boom-box is listening to Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) by Jimi Hendrix.
- The Voudoun-themed illustrations in the margins are based on Alexander King's illustrations in the 1929 William Seabrook book on Haitian Voudoun, The Magic Island.
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- Discuss Swamp Thing Vol 2 41 on the forums
- Cover gallery for the Swamp Thing series
Links and References
- No external links.