"Brothers in Arms (Part II)": 1945
- My dear Colonel... You're trying to shoot someone who spent two World Wars studying the effects of bullets on human flesh!
- -- Anton Arcane
Appearing in "Brothers in Arms (Part II)"
- Claw of Aelkhünd (First appearance)
- Spear of Destiny (Cameo)
- Krystallnacht Skull
- Caesar's Obsidian Scepter
- Empress Josephine's jewelry box
- Rhinestone stud (Behind the scenes)
- Napoleon's foreskin (Behind the scenes)
- A fresh yeti pelt
- Fokker Dr.I (Final appearance)
Synopsis for "Brothers in Arms (Part II)"
Swamp Thing struggles to find purchase in The Green or the Spirit World, and finding them beyond his grasp, he has nowhere to turn except the Timestream. Settling, his fractured mind takes root inside the recently deceased body of a young soldier named Alexander Holland. Taking control of Alexander's body functions, the Swamp Thing brings him back to life.
The U.S. army detachment, Easy Company, discovers Alexander's body, and to Pappy the medic's surprise, he has apparently revived from death. Squad leader Sgt. Rock nicknames him “Lazarus” and warns him that he should always wear his helmet.
Meanwhile, a Nazi colonel sifts through the ruins of the castle that once belonged to Baron Hans von Hammer, the "Enemy Ace" of World War I. While exploring the dungeons of the barony, he comes upon the Claw of Aelkhünd, a powerful occult artifact. He believes that if used properly in combination with several other objects he's collected, it could turn the tide of the war in the Nazis' favor. He rushes back towards Berlin to one of Hitler's magus bunkers, located within a slaughterhouse.
Easy Company has finally been given leave to return to base after months of being in combat, and all of the boys are excited. Swamp Thing, meanwhile assesses his situation. Picking up a newspaper, he realizes that somehow, he has been sent back in time to Germany in the year 1945 at the close of World War II. Unfortunately, Sgt. Rock soon receives orders that they are to take the nearby slaughterhouse, and kill any soldiers that they find. The men of Easy Company are frustrated by the orders, as they had hoped that they had finally fought their last battle in the war.
The Nazi colonel delivers the Claw of Aelkhünd to the bunker's commander, the Transylvanian nobleman Anton Arcane. Arcane is unimpressed with the colonel's findings and makes openly disrespectful remarks about der Führer. The colonel is insulted and feels that Arcane has dishonored the Reich. He fires several shots into Arcane's chest, but the Transylvanian's secret knowledge, gained during his search for immortality, allows him to survive the shots. He then captures the colonel and brings him down into the abattoir.
When the other Easy Company members balk, Swamp Thing as Alexander volunteers to join Sgt. Rock in his reconnaissance, sensing something evil within the slaughterhouse. Together, they find a corral of cattle, and one of them is particularly intimidating; a large, fierce bull with a pentagram branded into its forehead. Alex uses his elemental empathy to keep the beast calm. However, he senses that the bull is meant for a sinister purpose. He decides to set the animals free, and allow Sgt. Rock to return to his company.
Not long after, Sgt. Rock receives orders from command indicating that a squadron of B-17s is flying in to carpet bomb the slaughterhouse. Despite his company's elation, Rock determines to go back in and get Alexander before the place is levelled. When the Sergeant sneaks back, he has a strange encounter with Pappy there. Afterwards, he comes across the now dead body of Alexander Holland. The Swamp Thing has left it.
Inside the hidden chambers of the slaughterhouse, Anton Arcane shows the captured colonel his experiments, which have culminated with an army of grotesque monstrosities that Arcane refers to as his "Un-Men". He then hangs the colonel upon a meat hook with the intent of grinding him up as fodder for the creatures. As the Colonel is shredded to bits, Sgt. Rock releases the cattle, and the Swamp Thing regrows his body with intent to face his arch-nemesis.
The B-17s arrive and bomb the facility. As the abattoir goes up in flames, Arcane rushes to escape. He is interrupted by the Swamp Thing, who angrily growls out his name. Oddly enough, Arcane appears to recognize the Swamp Thing. He recalls first meeting him some twenty years ago. Arcane is prepared for this encounter, though, and uses the Claw of Aelkhünd to burn the Swamp Thing's body away. Somehow, Swamp Thing realizes that he and the Claw cannot coexist in the same time and place.
Arcane races outside, but upon doing so, finds himself gored by the bull that Alex freed earlier. Even so, Arcane lives, and he is carried off by the bull as Pappy carries off the box of occult artifacts, commenting to himself that immortality isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Sgt. Rock and Easy Company meet with the US contingent responsible for the bombing. Pappy, informs him that he has received new orders and that he will be transferring to a different unit. Sgt. Rock doesn’t realize that Pappy is actually the mysterious agent known as the Unknown Soldier. The Sergeant is sorry to see another medic leave the company, particularly as he hasn't yet told his men that they've been given orders to spear-head an attack on Berlin.
In the Louisiana swamp, Abigail Holland receives a visit from Floro. Floro tells her that he is now a hero working alongside the New Guardians, and that he has been sent by the Justice League to recruit the Swamp Thing in the fight against the Dominators's invasion. He says that he has searched The Green, but cannot find any evidence of the Swamp Thing's presence. He fears that the Swamp Thing may be dead. Abby defiantly refuses to believe it.
- The events from this issue take place on May 1st, 1945.
- The Swamp Thing appeared last in Swamp Thing (Volume 2) #80. This issue reveals that he was cast into the timestream as a result of the Dominators' Matrix Disruptor.
- This issue establishes that Adolph Hitler maintained his own "magus bunker".
- Earliest chronological appearance of the Un-Men. These are first generation prototypes and are not the same individuals first seen in Swamp Thing #2.
- Pappy is revealed to be the Unknown Soldier at the end of this issue.
- The chapter sequence for this story-arc is chronologized backwards since Swamp Thing is traveling backwards through time. This issue is "Brothers in Arms (Part II)". Issue #83 is "Brothers in Arms (Part I)".
- Anton Arcane's recollection of meeting the Swamp Thing twenty years earlier is recounted in Swamp Thing #83.
- One of the unseen Un-Men from this issue may be Cranius - the disembodied head grown from a human hand. In Un-Men #1, Cranius claims to be the "first of the Un-Men", indicating that his creation likely took place inside of Anton Arcane's slaughterhouse/laboratory.
- Although none of the characters in this story realize yet, Adolph Hitler was killed by the Unknown Soldier only one day earlier on April 30th. History records that Hitler and his new wife, Eva Braun, actually committed suicide. The canonical death of Hitler was chronicled in Unknown Soldier #268.
- The Swamp Thing's host in this issue is named Alexander Holland (which resembles his own name: Alec Holland).
- Sgt. Rock nicknames Alexander Holland Lazarus. Lazarus was a biblical figure from the New Testament whom Jesus resurrected from the dead. Rock gives Holland this nickname because, like Lazarus, he survived what should have been a fatal injury.
- The downed Fokker Dr.I seen on page four is the signature aircraft of the German World War I pilot Hans von Hammer, aka, Enemy Ace. Chronologically, this is the Fokker's last known appearance.
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- Swamp Thing (Volume 1)
- Swamp Thing (Volume 2)
- Swamp Thing (Volume 3)
- Swamp Thing (Volume 4)
- Swamp Thing (Volume 5)