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Swamp Thing Vol 2 73

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"The Fire Next Door": Swamp Thing, in his astral form, speeds south from Metropolis, and he worries for the plight of mankind. Nature seems to be rebelling against its inhabitants. As he travels underground among the bones of long-dead creatures, something unseen

Quote1 Aarrgh! What... in the name of heaven... has hold of me... this time? Quote2
-- Swamp Thing

Appearing in "The Fire Next Door"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


  • Swamp Knucker (Dragon)
  • Wild Thing

Other Characters:




Synopsis for "The Fire Next Door"

Swamp Thing, in his astral form, speeds south from Metropolis, and he worries for the plight of mankind. Nature seems to be rebelling against its inhabitants. As he travels underground among the bones of long-dead creatures, something unseen awakens. A huge astral dragon-like creature brings its massive jaws down around the Swamp Thing's ankle. Before long, the dragon has devoured him. The dragon grabs the Sprout, and heads for Earth.
In the Louisiana swamp, Abby Holland wakes from strange and unpleasant dreams. Unable to determine what it is that is bothering her, Abby wanders her swamp-home struggling to think of it. She sits watching the sun for hours before finally following up on her intuitions. Eventually, something inside her breaks, and she cries. Whatever is going to happen, it's going to happen in Houma.
John Constantine visits his Sioux Indian friend Brenda, who can divine the future from animal entrails. She is growing impatient with the fact that he always seems to have an ulterior motive for visiting her, rather than romance. Later, he meets with Carl, a man who studies prophetic dreams. Carl notes that recently, 87% of dreams have reported some kind of dragon appearing. Oddly, 74% of those dragon dreams had a 60s, hippie context. Elsewhere, Constantine checks in with Staj, the gardener, who complains of his recent crop of pumpkins with mouths full of grotesque fangs. Freddy the Geomancer informs Constantine that another charge in the earth's electromagnetic field is building near Houma.
Walking home with some groceries in Houma, Chester Williams becomes the target of ridicule from some delinquent joyriders who don't take kindly to hippie types. Chester tries to ignore them, and the boys become aggravated. The leader decides that he'll run Chester down in the car. Chester rounds a corner, and as he does so, the boys drive up onto the curb. One of the rear-view mirrors on the car smashes through a gas-main attached to a telephone pole, causing it and the car to explode in flames. Chester continues on his way, oblivious.
En Route to Houma, the limousine in which TV personality Roy Raymond and his partner Lipchitz are trapped, and struggling to survive continues its journey. Lipchitz has developed D.T.s because all that has been available for them to drink is alcohol from the car's minibar. Roy Raymond is still obsessively trying to negotiate a TV deal with Morgan Edge for the rights to the Swamp Thing - despite the fact that the car-phone's cable has been cut. All the while, their insane driver, the creature that was once Alan Bolland, recites an Old English epic.
Chester Williams returns to his house in Houma, stopping to pick up the mail at the door. Liz Tremayne has locked herself in her room, typing on Chester's typewriter. He finds another cheque from the D.D.I., and underneath it, a letter addressed to an "A. Holland." As he puzzles over this second letter, he sets the groceries down on a lit oven burner, and they go up in flames. He manages to put it out with a fire-extinguisher. Trying to relax, he rolls himself a joint, and sits back in his chair. Setting the joint in an ash-tray, he leans forward to inspect one of the hallucinogenic tubers he took from the Swamp Thing. He cuts off a small piece, and prepares to take his first ever bite. Before he can do so, he realizes that his joint has fallen onto the chair, and that it has caught fire.
Outside, Constantine and a homeless man called Dogbum watch as Chester struggles to beat the fire out with his jacket. Dogbum can sense the auras of other humans, and he believes that Chester's is particularly unusual. Clearly, Constantine believes that Chester is the next candidate to become a wood elemental, because he seems to be caught in a confluence of coincidences caused by the unbalance in nature. Chester manages to put the fire out with juice and milk from the fridge, and then plucks the piece of tuber from the ground before mopping the floor. He takes the destroyed chair out back, and decides he needs to take a walk.
Outside Houma Park, Chester happens to see a tow-truck dragging the smouldering remains of the car from which the joyriders had heckled him. Constantine is waiting nearby, and suggests that karma caught up with the drivers. Chester comments that his day has been full of weird coincidences, and Constantine encourages him to tell him all about it. He reveals his identity, and Chester recalls that Abby had warned him against talking to the occultist. Flatly, Constantine reveals that Chester is to be the next Swamp Thing.
Abby appears nearby, and interjects that Chester is not to be the next Swamp Thing, and warns Constantine away. Constantine complains that this entire situation was caused by Swamp Thing's failure to comply with the Parliament of Trees, and now anybody who associates with the Swamp Thing will soon be in danger of falling victim to a synchronicity maelstrom.
Their argument is interrupted by the appearance of the terrifying dragon creature, which aims a blast of its white-hot phosphorous breath at Chester. Abby shoves Chester into a pond, hoping it will protect him. Suddenly, the dragon's shape begins morphing into that of the Swamp Thing. Since his astral form was eaten, Swamp Thing has now taken control of of the Dragon's body. He admits that the Parliament must have been desperate to have set such a violent creature free. He bonds the Sprout to Abby, telling her to return it to the swamp. Meanwhile, he will try to dispose of the dragon. Before disappearing, he attempts to warn Constantine against doing something, but disappears before completing his message.
Constantine decides that it's already too late - that failing to bond the Sprout to Chester has taken them past the point of no return. He decides that it would be best for him to avoid further contact. Chester crawls out of the pond, hoping that he is safe from the synchronicity maelstrom now. As he leaves the park, he contemplates eating the chunk of tuber that he has kept in his pocket until now. As he is about to take a bite, the limousine carrying Roy Raymond and Lipchitz drives past, its passengers begging him for help, by name. Thinking this is too much of a coincidence, Chester drops the chunk of tuber to the ground, and runs back home.


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