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Swamp Thing Vol 2 71

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"Fear of Flying": In his living room, Gary Holland watches the movie Airport IV and stuffs his face with popcorn until a news bulletin reports that there has been yet another recent plane crash. It's the second crash in a week, and Gary is sure that they always come in threes. Feeling lucky,

Quote1 Yer a little late for the party. And what's with your friend? I thought he was the one we threw this bash for? You bollixed it up, didn't ya? Quote2
-- John Constantine

Appearing in "Fear of Flying"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


  • Wild Thing

Other Characters:




Synopsis for "Fear of Flying"

In his living room, Gary Holland watches the movie Airport IV and stuffs his face with popcorn until a news bulletin reports that there has been yet another recent plane crash. It's the second crash in a week, and Gary is sure that they always come in threes. Feeling lucky, he congratulates himself on losing the Sunderland contract to his rival Roger, so he wouldn't have to fly to Metropolis. Of course, moments later, Gary receives a call from Roger, who is calling in sick. Gary Holland will have to fly after all.
In a Gotham City alleyway, John Constantine gets drunk with a homeless man named Dogbum, who he hopes will be able to identify the next candidate for becoming a wood elemental with his ability to see peoples' auras. Before leaving, Constantine informs Dogbum that he will have a limo sent for him, to meet him at the airport, so they can identify the correct passenger. By coincidence, a limo carrying a terrified Roy Raymond stops briefly. The media personality begs for help, claiming that he is under attack by the Swamp Thing. In fact, his limo is being driven by the madman Alan Bolland, who was to be the Sprout's host, until things went awry.
Resignedly, Gary Holland prepares for his flight, packing his things away into a single suitcase. He notices the apparent ironic foreshadowing of all of his life's events: a pen that stops writing, a cancelled library card, checks that run out, last match in the book, a post card from a college friend depicting a plane lodged within one of the great pyramids...
In the Louisiana swamps, Swamp Thing and Abby Holland discuss the future. Abby wonders whether Constantine and Swamp Thing will be able to finally set the Sprout up in an appropriate body, this time. Swamp Thing responds that he hopes so, worrying that the two failed attempts to merge the Sprout with a host may have scarred it. Swamp Thing bids Abby farewell, and then travels through space to the moon. There, he retrieves the Sprout, which he had hidden in some moss attached to the abandoned lunar module from the moon landing.
Constantine drops by a WGBS broadcast where psychologist Roger Huntoon is about to give an interview about his new book on superheroes. Backstage, he deals with Huntoon, tempting him with the address of an old flame in exchange for confirmation that neither Superman nor Booster Gold will be around to stop the crash of Monarch flight 007. Once he has the information he wants, Constantine burns the address, stating that the woman doesn't need someone like Huntoon ruining her life.
In the cab to the airport, Gary Holland eyes other patrons, wondering who he will see on his own plane - who he will connect with as it crashes. Suddenly, a dog runs out in front of the cab, and it is crushed under the wheel. The cabby keeps driving, but as Gary looks out the back window, he sees Dogbum collect the injured dog in his arms, wailing with grief. Behind him, the limo driver warns Dogbum that he has ten minutes left before he has to meet Constantine.
When Swamp Thing releases the Sprout from the moss, it has obviously been affected negatively by its brief interactions with the minds of Solomon Grundy and the madman Alan Bolland. Swamp Thing attempts to resonate wit hits energy centers to calm it down, and prepare it for what awaits. They synchronize, and the Sprout follows him back home.
Gary Holland goes through baggage check, and as he heads toward the boarding area, he happens to see John Constantine arguing with Dogbum nearby. He is certain that seeing Dogbum again isn't a coincidence, and that his plane will most definitely crash. Despite this, he simply boards the plane without incident.
Constantine angrily berates Dogbum for being too distracted by his dog's death when he is required to identify the next wood elemental's sacrificial host. Dogbum complains that everyone he sees is going to die, and refuses to be of more help. As a security guard attempts to have them vacate the premises, Constantine buys a ticket with a wad of cash, and forces his way onto the plane, annoyed that he has to do everything himself.
As the plane takes off, Gary notices Constantine wandering around the aisles asking people their names, and intuits that he is the man's target. When Gary reveals that his last name is Holland, Constantine is convinced that he's found the right man. He attempts to trick Gary, but ultimately decides that honesty will be more effective. He explains Gary's role as the next elemental, shoving a large, deformed carrot into his pocket. Nervously, Gary avoids eye-contact, looking out the window at the wing.
Suddenly, an unfortunate flock of geese is sucked into the jet engine, and it malfunctions. The plane lurches in the air. Gary turns, instinctively reaching for Constantine's hand, but he is gone, along with the cushions from his seat. Gary looks up in time to see the bathroom door closing and locking, as the plane turns upside-down.
Swamp Thing returns to earth through The Green, and on his way, he happens to see the spirits of all of the passengers from a crashed plane, hanging in stasis. Realizing that they haven't realized their own deaths, he uses his energies to guide them all toward the light. Finally, he generates a body near the wreckage of flight 007, and is horrified by the carnage. Constantine wanders out from the wrecked plane's bathroom. Seeing Swamp Thing there with the Sprout, he realizes that Swamp Thing made a mistake. Swamp Thing admits that it's too late - that he already helped the crash victims, along with his intended replacement, into Heaven. Naturally, Constantine is enraged.
Somewhere, Gary Holland's flight lands safely. He looks out the window and sees hundreds of smiling faces, including those of his parents, who have been dead for years. He decides to chalk it up to coincidence.


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