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YMMV / Swamp Thing

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The comicbook:

  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The first arc of the fourth series is dedicated to undoing everything that occurred in Brian K. Vaughan's run.
    • The New 52 was this for the character, effectively declaring Brightest Day and The Search For Swamp Thing non-canon after that mini-series killed off Swamp Thing in favor of Geoff Johns's decision to invalidate Alan Moore's work, killing off Swamp Thing as written by Alan Moore and replacing him with Alec Holland, who was resurrected SOLELY so he could be turned into Swamp Thing via deus ex machina.
      • What's bizarre about this interpretation of events is that the ending of Brightest Day was itself an Author's Saving Throw, to restore Len Wein's original, pre-Alan Moore vision for the character.
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    • Even Alan Moore attempted to soft-pedal his retcon of Swamp Thing's origin by essentially having Abby and everyone else still treat Swampie as Alec Holland. Later writers essentially took the stance that Swamp Thing, for all intents and purposes is Alec Holland, insofar that he's a plant clone of him with all of his memories and personality, even if the real Alec Holland is dead.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Happens a lot between writers, with nearly every writer taking a heavy-handed approach to where their predecessor left the book.
    • Everything between Len Wein's last issue on the original series and the first issue of Saga of The Swamp Thing. Len Wein literally says this in the letters page: those stories did not happen. (Plenty of fans think this is a shame, because there's some beautiful Nestor Redondo art in them.)
    • Mark Millar and Grant Morrison openly set out to do this to everything between the ending of Moore's run and theirs. In return it was done to them too, when Brian K Vaughan's run ignored Millar's finale making Swamp Thing master of all the elemental forces.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Anton Arcane, Mad Scientist-turned-Evil Sorcerer, as presented in Alan Moore's run, is one of Swamp Thing's most recurring and vile enemies. Originally trying and failing to steal Swamp Thing's body for his own use, Arcane survives his near-demise by becoming a monstrous spirit. Orchestrating several problems Swamp Thing had to face, notably unleashing the demonic Monkey King to prey on innocent children and slaughter their families, Arcane returns to a physical form by stealing the body of his niece, Abby's, husband. Arcane proceeds to rape and murder Abigail then curse her soul to an eternity of torment in Hell simply to hear her scream, before beginning his master plan. Reviving numerous murderers and serial killers and unleashing them across America, Arcane causes a wave of violence and hate to begin emanating across the country, causing family members to kill each other, babies to be suffocated, and his revived killers to target playgrounds of children, all while planning to take his anarchy on a global scale and bring about his own apocalypse. Arcane spends his last moments gleefully mocking Swamp Thing about how much he enjoys his crimes, and, even when banished to Hell, Arcane can only laugh as he recalls how he reduced to his own brother to a tortured monstrosity that even now causes Abigail great pain. A sadistically twisted monster of a man who cares only for immortality and causing pain to others, Anton Arcane is inarguably Swamp Thing's most hated foe, and for good reason.
    Arcane: Well, Holland? Have you at last learned despair?
    Swamp Thing: You did not have... to kill her... to teach me "despair", Arcane... But you have given me... a deeper understanding... of abomination.
    • In the New 52, Anton Arcane's new incarnation is a being of boundless cruelty. In his pursuit of immortality, Arcane took over the elemental force of The Rot, the natural force of death and decay, and subsumed it to his will. Arcane extends the Rot to devour all that lives and trap the world in deathless limbo he can rule. Arcane even forced his own nephew to be the Rot's avatar, devouring his mind from within. In Arcane's battles with Swamp Thing, Alec Holland saw a future where Arcane gruesomely tortured and beheaded Abigail and saw lobotomized clones Arcane had made of her as Cannon Fodder.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: People tend to view the series solely in terms of the Alan Moore run, which may be because the rest of it has either never been collected in trade form or is otherwise notoriously difficult to find. It's generally accepted that the Wrightson-Wein run is pretty good and that the tail end of the Plasko run is required reading to fully get the Alan Moore run, while the Brian K. Vaughan run...isn't.
    • Doug Wheeler's run often falls into this almost by accident, since it was the only run to be totally and utterly forgettable. Even with the benefit of hindsight it doesn't really have any fans.
    • Nancy A. Collins' run has its share of (mild) detractors; she basically reset the series to the end of Alan Moore's run with a Swamp Thing that was (relatively) mainstream-friendly and akin to the Wrightson/Wein and Plasko runs, as she concentrated more on Character Development, exploration of Cajun culture and an expanded supporting cast than horror. (Though it's worth noting Alan Moore was a fan of her work on the character.)
    • Mark Millar's run too falls into this line as well, given the fact that it later came out that much of it was plotted (uncredited) by Grant Morrison to give the inexperienced Millar a leg up in the industry.
    • Brightest Day and The Search For Swamp Thing were declared non-canon by Swamp Thing fans for the way they scorched earth every Swamp Thing story written (as well as "The Anatomy Lesson") in favor of Geoff Johns going all "Captain Yesterday" and basically resurrecting Alec Holland simply so he could die again and become Swamp Thing for real and kill the Alan Moore version, who was described as being a corrupt parody of Swamp Thing (granted, because Swamp Thing had been possessed by a Black Lantern Ring). Thankfully, the New 52 flat out erased this from canon with the two books having been erased from canon.
  • Funny Moments: Batman explaining to the mayor of Gotham that insisting on Interspecies Romance being illegal is somewhat ridiculous, concerning the fact how many aliens and other beings that aren't exactly human run around on Earth. Especially funny because of the incredibly snarky way it was delivered by Batman.
    Batman: No exceptions, I see. In that case I suggest you start rounding up all the other non-human beings who may be having relationships outside their species.
    Mayor: What? What do you mean?
    Batman: I mean, if you want to take this all the way, non-humanity doesn't end with the Swamp Thing. Let me see... You'll possibly have to arrest Hawkman... And Metamorpho... And there's also Starfire, from the Titans. Her race evolved from cats, I believe... The Martian Manhunter, obviously... Captain Atom... And then of course there's What's-His-Name... The one who lives in Metropolis.
    Mayor: *gapes*
  • Growing the Beard: The character is generally considered to have changed hugely for the better when Alan Moore did away with Alec Holland sude and began exploring nature mysticism, and most writers afterwards follow this.
  • Invincible Villain: Arcane during the New 52 with new re-imagined Rot based powers that allow him to instantly kill, turn undead, and take control of any living thing that has even a single dead cell in it, anywhere in the entire world at any time. There are no functional limits to this power, only that champions of the Green and Red can sometimes resist it, but even then Arcane can just steal somebody's appearance and kill them before they can attack. He is also effectively unkillable as he can just reform a body from any corpse. Add to the fact that he's been around for centuries, effortlessly killing champions of both the Green and Red, until finally infecting and taking over the entire world in the Rotworld segment along with killing and cloning Abby. He only loses not through any action of the heroes, when he's declared to be TOO successful as a villain, and the Parliament of Rot withdraws their support and allow them to rewind time to before his victory.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Swamp Thing's daughter Tefé burns through all audience sympathy when she enforces a Sadistic Choice on a man who started a forest fire, forcing him to choose between the life of his daughter and his wife. She doesn't kill anyone, but his family get to see him choose.
  • My Real Daddy: Len Wein helped create Swamp Thing (and more), but Alan Moore's complete rewrite of the character is the one that lasted.
  • Recycled Script: The time travel storyline that ended Rick Veitch's run has the same structure as a Len Wein issue (yes, a single issue) involving time travel. In both cases Swamp Thing would be thrown through time, would meet several of the locals, as well as an immortal that he keeps running into, and would eventually come in contact with an object (a crystal in the first case, the chunk of amber in the second) which would launch him back into the timestream. The big difference is that the Wein story Swamp Thing is moving forward in time, and the Veitch stories he's moving backwards. It's especially strange that Swamp Thing doesn't even Lampshade this, since time travel is actually a pretty uncommon experience for him.
  • Shallow Parody: Volume 2, Issue 4 features a children's television show host who espouses a series of questionable lessons on how strangers are just friends you haven't met yet...all in the service of a child-eating demon he sold his soul to. Of special note is how he likes to use the term neighbor. Said issue then features one of the characters going on a rant about the world is an awful place and that kids should be taught that instead.
  • Squick: Anton Arcane, especially after he possesed Matt Cable's body.

The television series:

The animated series:

The video game:

The Film

  • Complete Monster: Dr. Anton Arcane, from this film and its sequel, is a wicked Mad Scientist with dreams of immortality and power over the world. In the first movie, Arcane seeks to exploit the invention of the noble scientist Dr. Alec Holland, a solution capable of solving world hunger, having the staff of Holland's facility massacred by his mercenary entourage while personally murdering Holland's sister. Arcane later takes the formula for himself while testing it on one of his own men as gratitude for procuring it for him, mutating him into a freakish pig-man. In the second movie, Arcane facilitates the experimentation on countless dozens of innocent people, resulting in most of them killed in the process and those who survived afflicted with horrific, mutative growths, while throwing away the lives of his own subordinates to use their DNA to extend his own life and eventually killing his own daughter to reverse the degeneration of his body. The epitome of selfishness and dark ambition, Arcane's ultimate wish is to force the world to bow to him or starve, concerned only with his power and legacy above even the lives of his closest friends and family.


Example of: