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Recap / Swamp Thing Volume 2 Issue 46 Revelations

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"I promised you knowledge...real knowledge. That wasn't a trick, y'know. I mean, sure, it helped to keep you stringing along...But in the end, I always deliver."
— John Constantine

In an unspecified city, as the Crisis reaches a critical point, the Swamp Thing, Constantine, Benjamin Cox and Frank North watch past, present and future collide in an apocalyptic scenario. Once there's a lull in the chaos, Constantine sends Cox to London in order to find Sister Anne-Marie (who's looking for Judith), and North to Los Angeles to rest up for the "last leg" of their plan.

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The Monitor's satellite then beams Constantine and the Swamp Thing aboard although, as John points out, the Monitor himself is already dead. He explains to his companion that it's not the world that's ending, but the multiverse. The remaining Earths are being folded together in order to create a single, stronger Earth. However, he says, this will only save the material world. He ushers the Swamp Thing into the main hall. A massive gathering of DCU characters listen to Alexander Luthor Jr.note  explain what Constantine has just told the Swamp Thing, who upon hearing the surname "Luthor" experiences a vague premonition.

Constantine introduces the Swamp Thing to Alexander, who says that the creature will help with the Crisis's after-effects on the spiritual realms. The Swamp Thing doesn't get how a cataclysm affecting the material world could affect the spiritual one, so John has him teleport back to Earth and see for himself. As he witnesses still more scenes of past, present and future colliding, the Swamp Thing also hears within himself the agony of "a mass mind faced with extinction" and the corresponding pain of "the ethereal territories" surrounding the Earth, and he realizes John and Alexander were right.

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As he processes this, Constantine too returns to Earth, appearing beside him. He explains that the satellite is no more, then finally fills the Swamp Thing in on the cult behind all the cross-country horrors he's seen over the last year. The Brujeríanote  are a centuries-old secret society of male sorcerers based in the Chiloé Archipelago in the Patagonia region of South America. Ruthless and devoid of empathy, they wear waistcoats of human skin and transform babies into the monstrous invunche, or guardians of their cave. Constantine loses his composure as he reveals that an invunche killed his girlfriend Emma, and can't bear to finish describing how they're made.

The Brujería, Constantine says, have long foreseen the Crisis and are exploiting its emotional and spiritual effects for their own plan. By lending their influence to the sorts of horrors the Swamp Thing has experienced on his cross-country journey—and many more worldwide—they've been increasing humanity's belief in the supernatural. They will use the power inherent in such belief to awaken a dark entity—the identity of which still isn't certain—to destroy Heaven. Therefore, John and his team, including the Swamp Thing, must stop the Brujería's Central Committee from completing the ritual that would summon this entity.

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Before they do so, however, Constantine intends to fulfill his end of the deal with the Swamp Thing. He tells him to travel to the source of the Tefé River in the Brazilian rainforest, where dwell the Parliament of Trees, who'll teach him what he needs to know about himself. First, however, he suggests the Swamp Thing spend some private time with Abby, as he may be gone a long time.

Meanwhile, Sister Anne-Marie finds herself lost in the streets of London as she looks for Judith. Taking the wrong underground train, she discovers someone is following her and tries to escape on foot through the tunnel, only for an invunche to corner and kill her.

Tropes

  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Brujería have been around for centuries, according to Constantine. However, the quotation at issue's end from Bruce Chatwin's travel book In Patagonia, as well as the head Brujo's claim in Issue 48, place the sect's origin before the emergence of humankind.
  • Black Comedy: Lampshaded and discussed when Constantine, aboard the satellite, makes an offhand joke about a disastrous failed exorcism (see below under Noodle Incident).
    The Phantom Stranger: The same Constantine...The same black humor...
    Constantine: Is there any other kind?
  • Creator Cameo: Alan Moore appears as a background character twice. In his second cameo, he's wearing a t-shirt with a V for Vendetta symbol. In his first one, he's one of the panicking onlookers in the first apocalyptic sequence. Compare the third-last issue of Promethea, in which Moore is among those caught up in another sort of apocalypse. Both cases are a subtle invoking of The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You.
  • Crisis Crossover: The events in this issue are concurrent with those in Crisis on Infinite Earths #5, which also features the gathering on the recently-deceased Monitor's satellite, and Alexander Luthor's explanation of the plan to merge parallel Earths together. Rather than allowing the Crisis to interrupt the ongoing Swamp Thing story, Moore incorporates the former into the latter by having the Brujería foresee and exploit the Crisis for their own ends.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Revelations" is a reference to The Bible's final book,note  from which the opening quotation (8:10) is taken. It also refers to "American Gothic"'s first full Exposition of what and who are behind everything that's happened, and where it's all leading.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Double subverted. The Swamp Thing assumes that the chaos around them marks the end of everything, and so he wants to be with Abby; Constantine tells him it's the end of the The Multiverse, in that the surviving parallel Earths are being folded into one, albeit with considerable collateral damage. However, Constantine says, once the Crisis is over, if the Brujería's plot to destroy Heaven succeeds? That will be the end of everything.
  • Foreshadowing: The Swamp Thing gets a "cold tingle...of premonition" upon hearing the name "Luthor." Although he correctly senses that this Luthor is no threat, Lex Luthor will, in Issue 53, be instrumental in severing his link to the Earth.
  • Genuine Human Hide: The Brujería wear waistcoats made of the skin of a new Christian corpse. These garments glow in the dark because "human fat is slightly phosphorescent."
  • Initiation Ceremony: A candidate for admission to the Brujería must stand under a particular waterfall for forty days and nights (in order to undo his baptism), catch a skull his instructor throws him, kill his best friend to prove his lack of compassion and sign a document in his own blood.
  • It's Fake Fur, It's Fine: Subverted. In one of the apocalyptic scenes, a terrified woman in a fur coat tries this line on a gang of knife-wielding wolf-people before switching to an "it was a gift" explanation, which suggests she was lying about the fur not being real.
  • Noodle Incident: "Newcastle," Constantine's disastrous attempt to exorcise a demon from a child, receives its first of several mentions in Swamp Thing. However, it isn't yet treated as the life-altering My Greatest Failure the incident would become in the Constantine mythos. The Phantom Stranger mentions it having taken place "last winter," and Constantine actually jokes about it: "The kiddie died and I was in a loony bin for a few weeks, but other than that it went really well." In Hellblazer, Jamie Delano would Retcon the Newcastle case as having taken place in the late seventies and resulting in Constantine being in and out of the mental hospital for a few years.
  • Really Was Born Yesterday: Constantine introduces Alexander Luthor Jr. to the Swamp Thing as "less than a year old, but he's big for his age." (In the Crisis miniseries, Alexander, a refugee from the doomed Earth-Three, undergoes Rapid Aging as a byproduct of his interdimensional travel to Earth-One.)
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: The Brujería are a hidden, exclusive occult society devoted to causing The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Shout-Out
    • "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and it was all of them at once" is an allusion to the opening words of A Tale of Two Cities.
    • Subverted in-universe: After witnessing the effects of the Time Crash, Benjamin says, "Thuh-thuh-thuh-that's all, folks." Frank recognizes this as a Porky Pig reference, but poor Benjamin apparently didn't intend it as such; he was just stuttering as usual.
    • Several aspects of the Brujería cult are taken from actual Chilote mythology. Brujos, according to this mythos, are feared sorcerers who wear a phosphorescent macuñ ("cloak") made from the skin of a dead man's chest. The process for becoming a brujo is similar to that in the comic, with the additional detail that the blood pact is a Deal with the Devil. The invunche or imbunche ("deformed person") guards a brujo's cave. As in Swamp Thing, its head is twisted backwards and its limbs are disjointed. However, instead of having one hand sewn to its back, as in the comic, the traditionally-depicted invunche has a leg attached to its back, meaning it must either hop on one foot or propel itself with that foot and its arms.
  • Time Crash: As the Earth's past, present and future collide, Neanderthals freak out upon finding themselves in a disco; the real-life Depression-era bank robber Clyde Barrow tearfully watches his and Bonnie Parker's death on a videotape of the 1967 biopic, and a warrior from 5070 Manhattan (now a "salt bog") brings down a dinosaur, among other events.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Constantine says that the Brujería make an invunche by dislocating the limbs of a six-month-old infant. He can't bring himself to say what happens next.
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