"Journeys": Swamp Thing finds himself back in a very early stage of the Earth's history. Just moments after he gains awareness, the plant in which he has taken up residence is submerged in molten lava, sealing the Swamp Thing away in hardening tree sap.
- "Elk-Hound" is an anagram for "Alec Holland," which means that somehow this claw belongs to the missing old fruit himself.
Appearing in "Journeys"
- Camelot (c. 6th Century)
- American Southwest (c. late 1700s and 1800s)
- Unnamed Neanderthal village (c. 40,000 BCE)
Synopsis for "Journeys"
Swamp Thing finds himself back in a very early stage of the Earth's history. Just moments after he gains awareness, the plant in which he has taken up residence is submerged in molten lava, sealing the Swamp Thing away in hardening tree sap.
In Louisiana, Abby Holland is going into labour, accepting aid from Labo and a local midwife. Though Abby is confused by some of the midwife's superstitious rituals, she and her friends Chester Williams and Liz Tremayne leave things in the locals' hands.
In Hong Kong, John Constantine wanders a street full of frauds hawking occultism, looking for his friend Ming's uncle. After waiting all night, Ming's Uncle seems to be able to tap into information that none of Constantine's usual contacts have been able to access. Even so, he has felt watched by a sinister, foul smelling entity since he started his investigation.
Swamp Thing has forgotten his identity, and floated for years within his amber prison. Eventually, though Swamp Thing sees as his once-friend Rheelai's ancestors chipping away at him until he is confined to a fist-sized amber gemstone.
In Hell, a demon provides eternal punishment to both Avery Sunderland and Anton Arcane. However, Arcane has just realized that Matt Cable, the man who sent him to Hell in the first place, is dead. Somehow, he manages to use his powers to destroy the demon watching over them and escape.
Swamp Thing is haunted constantly by the image of a man of plant-matter burning away to ashes. Eventually, he encounters the spirits of the people of Rheelai's tribe as they pass through the amber stone on their way to the Holy Grail. Unfortunately, they pass through so briefly that his questions about his identity fall flat.
Eventually, after eons of sleep within his chamber, the Swamp Thing wakes to catch a glimpse of what appears to be Christ holding the Holy Grail. His mind fills with images of impending doom, until finally something brings salvation. Calling out to his prison, Swamp Thing begs to know who he is. The prison responds that he is Alec Holland, and tells him much more.
In Vienna, Constantine realizes that "Aelkhünd" translates to Elk-Hound, which is an anagram for Alec Holland. Apparently, the Claw of Aelkhünd somehow belongs to the Swamp Thing himself. Fortunately, Ming's uncle managed to pinpoint the location of the Claw before his talents were thwarted by an unseen force.
In Brazil, the Parliament of Trees worries that with the Swamp Thing still gone, no one will be there to lead the new sapling that Abby is giving birth to at that very moment in its growth. However, a reassuring voice from within The Green reminds them that there are forces to which the Parliament must attend. It is the voice of one of the most ancient among the Parliament - one of the founders. The voice warns of a coming danger that could be stirred up should this child's birth even half-disturb it. He asks that the Parliament send a committee to guard the child at its birth.
The other spirits within the amber stone teach Swamp Thing about himself and his identity. They tell him the secrets of the grail before they are sent inside it. After yet more time asleep, he sees a hand reaching through the depths, grabbing for him.
After having fainted while watching the midwife cut Abby's perineum, Chester wakes outside with Liz to discover that the cabin is being surrounded by wood elementals from the Parliament of Trees, sent to watch over the birth.
Desperately hoping to escape Hell and visit pain and suffering upon his niece, Anton Arcane and the former General Sunderland work their way across the blasted terrain. A demon comes across them, and reminds them that they are in Hell, and the power of Hell to hold them is much stronger than the power of Matt Cable was to send him there. That said, the demon does sense some potential in him.
Constantine visits a museum featuring an exhibition of Nazi art, where the Claw of Aelkhünd is being displayed in a glass case. However, before making his move to steal it, he decides to have a better look at a woman who catches his eye. When he sees her face, though, she appears decayed with a mouth sewn shut. She attacks him, spewing a strange foul-smelling fluid into his mouth. Desperately, he hammers a tuning fork against the floor, which causes all of the creatures' heads to explode.
The hum of the tuning fork resonates such that it shatters the amber gem within the claw, releasing the swamp thing into his own time, finally. Soon after, a strange spirit rips itself from within the attacking woman's body, and wraps itself around him. He retreats into The Green, and the creature follows. Still, once there, the creature hesitates, and turns to The Grey. Before leaving, Swamp Thing confirms with Constantine that his wife is alright and that the Timestream is intact.
Swamp Thing speeds through The Green to the cabin in which Abby is giving birth. Outside, the guardian trees howl out into the sky. Abby is happy to see her husband at last, and tells him she loves him before making the final push that brings her child to the world.
The child is a girl, and they decide to name her Tefé, after the Brazilian river where the Parliament resides.
- This book was first published on October 31, 1989.
- No special notes.
- No trivia.
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- Swamp Thing (Volume 5)