As the DC Universe gains a new Swamp Thing just in time for Infinite Frontier, the Champion of the Green is already on one major superhero’s radar.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Swamp Thing #2, by Ram V, Mike Perkins, Mike Spicer and Aditya Bidikar, on sale now.
While Levi Kamei may still be acclimating to his horrific new role as the DC Universe’s latest Swamp Thing, his fledgling superhero career has already attracted some high profile attention. With the arrival of a ravenous monster known as the Pale Wanderer cutting a bloody path through Arizona’s Sonoran Desert coinciding with Levi inheriting his own monstrous destiny, the expected showdown provides Levi quite the entrance as Swamp Thing.
And in The Swamp Thing #2, that entrance does not go unnoticed by Batman as the Dark Knight watches on with vested interest.
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As Levi tries to clear his mind from the haunting memories and visions he has of his tragic family life back in his native India, the Pale Wanderer faces his own existential questions as he claims new victims in the American Southwest. Just as Levi struggles to remember who he is and how he is connected to the Green, the Pale Wanderer claims to be a living desert that became sentient and took on the form of a man. And as Levi realizes that his visions of the past are connected to his urges to transform into Swamp Thing as he tries his best to sleep at a friend’s Manhattan apartment, he transports himself to Arizona to stop the Pale Wanderer’s rampage before any more blood is spilled.
As Levi asserts himself as the new Swamp Thing, he triumphs over the Pale Wanderer by summoning a massive banyan tree in the middle of the desert. Towering above the rest of the Sonoran as the monstrous villain is ripped apart from the inside out by the tree manifesting inside of him, the banyan puzzles authorities by its overnight appearance. As news reports are broadcast worldwide about the phenomenon, Batman is seen observing the reports from the safety of the Batcave on the other side of the country. And far more insidious forces have developed interest in Levi, with Mr. Pilgrim from the nefarious corporation Prescot Industries seen reviewing files of Levi, the Sunderland Corporation and Alec Holland as the reports continue.
The most notable instance Batman and Swamp Thing crossed paths was during Alan Moore and Rick Veitch’s seminal run on Swamp Thing. After the superhero’s wife Abigail Arcane is arrested in Gotham City under the charges of “crimes against nature” due to her sexual relationship with a plant — sentient or otherwise — with an enraged Swamp Thing channeling the powers of the Green to engulf all of Gotham in plants. Batman attempted to free his city from Swamp Thing’s wrath but realized how grossly overpowered he was and persuaded the government to pardon Abby just as the pacified Swamp Thing was apparently killing by snipers wielding a specialized defoliant.
With the Dark Knight officially on the case, Batman is sure to see if this new Swamp Thing is friendly or if he intends to use the full power of the Green as his predecessor had on Gotham all those years ago. And the Caped Crusader is apparently racing against corporate interests as the successors to the unscrupulous Sunderland Corporation has begun to make its own moves against the new Swamp Thing, already aware of Levi’s true identity, and pick up where Sunderland had left off with Alec Holland. Levi may have finally staked his claim to the powers of the Green but he is in more danger than ever.
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