"Reunion": In Hell, Anton Arcane is receiving part of his eternal punishment, in the form of a depraved rugby game which uses his head as the ball. The Referee calls halftime, and warns Arcane that this has been just the slightest fraction of his torme
- Chester, you've got to help me, Chester... I can't find my father's head, Chester... his head is gone... the hail... he fell apart and... I can't find his head...
- -- Abby Cable
Appearing in "Reunion"
- Swamp Thing (Flashback only)
- Amy (Dies)
- Ms. Claiborne
- Townclock Jacobson
- Jacobson Family
Synopsis for "Reunion"
In Hell, Anton Arcane is receiving part of his eternal punishment, in the form of a depraved rugby game which uses his head as the ball. The Referee calls halftime, and warns Arcane that this has been just the slightest fraction of his torment, and that he has done such terrible things that he is still accumulating interest on the debts he has to pay. As an interesting diversion, the Referee decides to show Arcane how wronging his brother Gregori in the past allows Anton's sins to continue even in death.
In a memory, Gregori reads his daughter Abigail Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, a story that she loved, inexplicably. Abby demands to hear a better ending, where the monster doesn't die, and as Gregori attempts to come up with such an ending, his memory is invaded by the present. Something has happened to him that he can't yet come to terms with. Nearby, some hunters notice Gregori playing with Abby, and run away in horror. Gregori is the Patchwork Man – a horrifying monster – and what he believes is his daughter, is actually a pile of rags.
An adult Abby wakes from a nightmare, missing her husband, the Swamp Thing. However, on this night, her dream had been of a different monster. She arrives at her new job at Spanish Acres Home for the Elderly – a job which is sadly more depressing than the job she lost at Elysium Lawns, helping autistic children. Her coworkers are Gator, a rude and insensitive man who mistreats the residents, and the stern and unsympathetic Ms. Claiborne.
Gregori Arcane recalls how some people had threatened to take Abby away from him, he argued with his brother Anton about it, and Abby had run away crying. He had searched and searched for her.
Abby visits a man she calls Townclock, an elderly German watchmaker living in the home. He is attempting to fix Ms. Claiborne's watch, and Abby warns that he should put it away before Gator sees it, or else it will never get back to its owner. It is also visiting day, and despite the promise that his family is visiting him, Townclock anticipates that his daughter Ilsa will not come to see him. Sadly, his suspicion proves true, and his Ilsa is not there when his family arrives.
The Patchwork Man holds the bundle of rags to his chest, imagining that it is Abby. He imagines that if he lets her go, the green man will take her away. He remembers, however, that the green man took Abby away to a safe place. He realizes that he did something bad to her.
Abby's strong recollections of encounters with a familiar monster lead her to collapses in the home. Soon after Ms. Claiborne helps her up, Abby discovers Gator in one of the residents' rooms, crouching over her dead body and fiddling with her hand. He tries to talk his way out of the room, and runs off to call an ambulance.
Gregori recalls that he had let Abby wander into the minefields, and they were both injured. When he had stepped on a mine, Anton had changed him into a patch-work man – a monster. He doesn't want her to see him the way he is now.
After finding the dead resident, Abby is shaken. Ms. Claiborne coldly states that if she can't handle the emotional difficulties of working with the elderly, she should quit. Suddenly, their attention is captured by the sound of a scream. Townclock has caught Gator trying to steal Ms. Claiborne's watch, and slammed the thief's hand in a drawer. Abby arrives in time to see Gator knock Townclock's cane out from under him. Abby accuses Gator of thievery, including a ring belonging to the woman who died earlier that day. Gator readily admits to it, but Ms. Claiborne overhears him. Abby is entirely disgusted, and she goes home.
After feeding the emotionally unbalanced Liz Tremayne, Abby calls her acquaintance Chester Williams, who informs her that a swamp man has been seen in Texas. Abby, Chester, and some others go off in search of this creature, hoping that it is the Swamp Thing. Once there, they split up. Abby encounters the creature, and soon realizes that it is not Swamp Thing, but it is still familiar. She realizes that the creature is her father, Gregori Arcane – the patchwork man – and she embraces him. They both enjoy a moment of familial love until Gregori remembers his appearance, and moves away, refusing to be seen like this. The heavy rain turns to hail, and he is battered to pieces.
When morning comes, and the weather clears, Chester and his friends discover Abby crouched over the body of the patchwork man, singing. His head has gone missing, and Abby is particularly distressed. Chester kneels down beside her, attempting to be of comfort.
The Referee congratulates Anton Arcane on his ability to still be causing pain on the earthly plane so long after having left it himself. The demon ends halftime, and Arcane's head is returned to the playing field. Wistfully, the demon admires Arcane's lack of repentance, musing that he may be proper demon material, once his debt is paid.
- Script by Bissette, Plot by Moore, Totleben, Veitch, Bissette
- Swamp Thing doesn't appear in this issue, except in flashback.
- The concept of the Patchwork Man borrows heavily from the story of Frankenstein, first written in 1818 by Mary Shelley. As an homage to this, during a flashback sequence in the issue, Gregori Arcane is reading the novel to his daughter.
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Links and References
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