Confused? Here's the link to the last issue. ;)
"Not long ago, in the unexplored reaches of an unmapped swamp, the creative genius of one man collided with another's evil dream and a monster was born. Too powerful to be destroyed, too intelligent to be captured, this being still pursues its savage dream." - Swamp Thing (1982)
There had been a girl, and she had been perfect.
Her smile, a white set of teeth lined up in a perfect order, was Doctor John Holland's earliest memory, and possibly the only thing keeping him sane in the dark, empty cave he found himself within. He'd been trapped within this terrible place for many weeks now, cocooned to the wall, first by black, dead veins, and now by grass, thick and itching as it wrapped around his limbs and tightened whenever he tried to move. There was a strange hum that filled the air, one that John felt he had heard before, but couldn't quite place... and now, now John was confused. Unable to recall how he'd arrived in this place, or how he was going to get out. For some reason he didn't know hunger or thirst, having been devoid of nourishment his whole time here, yet still felt as fresh as when he'd first been brought there.
It wouldn't have been so bad, if John hadn't been able to see what his body was being used for.
They called him the Swamp Rider, champion of something called the Green, and enemy of the Rot. Again, the names sounded familiar, yet John couldn't remember anything except for his name and that one faint memory... and every time the Rider killed someone, John could see the memory growing all the more blurred, as his soul began to slowly slip away. It made Doctor Holland feel despair. Right now John was screaming.
Right now the Rider was laughing.
He stood in the city of Gotham, surrounded by the armies of Hell itself, and all he did was laugh, skull bobbing up and down, shaking leaves loose as it moved. There were thousands of strange, twisted creatures from all sorts of different realms throughout the universe, all of whom were ignoring the petty, fleshy humans running through the streets in fear of the monstrous force, all instead focused on the Green's champion, who was doing nothing but laughing at some hidden joke that only he understood.
The skies above were red, filled with the screams of the dying and the tormented. Soon it was filled with Hell Spawn, black corpses covered in chains, and all converging to one, isolated point in the vast Gotham skyline. At the forefront of this horde was their master, Anton Blackheart, still dressed in a bloody business suit, and flying under his own, arcane power, far above the Rider, where he perched upon the nearby Daily Bugle building.
"What are you laughing at?" Anton asked, sounding irritated as he crossed his arms and glared down at his foe, thick, leathery wings sprouting from his back as his human form was replaced with something much more terrifying. The Rider took a few seconds to calm down, slapping his knee slightly, and literally spewing a gut out of his mouth before finally calming down.
"Should have brought more." Swamp Rider answered, cracking the make shift knuckles in his fists as Anton rolled his eyes and gave the order to his army.
"BRING ME THE RIDER'S SOUL!" Blackheart commanded, skin turning demonic red as he spoke. "His power will be mine!"
A mighty roar filled the air, one that was a mixture of dozens of different languages, and races, all deadly in their own way. The fodder in the streets charged, ready to die and end their meaningless existence. The Hell Spawn in the skies lunged downward, and tall, mighty beasts the size of skyscrapers lumbered forward, trampling allies underfoot as they moved. It was the mightiest force ever assembled on Earth, yet this mighty, ear shattering battle cry that the horde unleashed, was undercut by a small, quick whistle that came from the mouth of the Swamp Rider, who didn't seem impressed.
Somewhere nearby, an engine revved in response, like a dog answering its owner's command, and immediately, in the distance, bodies started flying through the air as the Swamp Rider's motorcycle, crafted from ferns and weeds, tore its way through the hordes of Hell, sprouting massive trees behind it that sprouted in all directions and demolished all the poor fools that happened to be standing in the way. The cycle stopped by its owner, who placed a hand on the handlebars, and pet it affectionately, before the cycle began to reverse, letting out a hiss, and began to drive in a protective circle around the Rider, conjuring up nettles that grabbed nearby demons and dragged them screaming down into the ground.
The vine tied to Swamp Rider's wrist had a life of its own, sprouting poisonous spikes and swiping up at the Hell Spawn in the sky, easily decapitating the majority. As the heads and black blood fell from the sky, the Rider's motorcycle halted at his side, letting out a whistle of its owner, as the Swamp Rider took a seat at the helm. The champion of the Green snapped his weapon against the ground, letting out a shock wave that spread cracks along the ground and sent any demons that were still feeling brave, flying through the air.
Watching from the sky, Anton Blackheart was understandably concerned, as he saw the familiar face of his enemy turn up towards him. Hollow eyes seemingly flickering with fire, as the motorcycle roared loud enough to be heard across the whole city, and mighty enough to send the survivors of Hell's armies into a full retreat.
"Oh $@#!." He muttered, as the cycle started to move across the ground, straight towards the building that Blackheart was standing upon.
"ANTON!" Swamp Rider screamed as the bike leaped up into the air and tore through the side of one of Hell's Leviathans, before coming through the other side and landing on the side of the Daily Bugle building. "VENGEANCE!" The bike wasn't affected by little problems such as gravity, instead it simply sprouted vines from its sides, and stuck them to the skyscraper before shooting upward like a slingshot, allowing the Rider and his vehicle to climb up the side of the building like it wasn't even there, gaining in speed as the Swamp Rider grinned maniacally.
"No!" Anton Blackheart yelled, lifting himself up from the rooftop and beginning to desperately try to escape up into the sky. Electricity crackled across his clawed fingers, and he pointed one of these talons towards the quickly approaching Rider. "This isn't fair!" Lightning shot down from the heavens, striking just above the Rider's cycle and sending glass shards stabbing into his bushy body. He ignored the wounds in his chest, and quickly shot off the edge of the building, right into his target, who he gripped by the neck as they flew through the sky.
A few seconds passed by, with the bike beginning to drop towards the ground like a stone, its two occupants decided to fall on their own, leaving the vehicle to its fall. Anton struggled to be free, tearing at the Rider's arm, but was completely unsuccessful, doing little more than tearing at empty foliage. Soon the two violent entities of Life and Death smashed through a glass rooftop, and slammed into the ground, creating a massive crater from the impact.
"Death's not fair." The Rider growled, clicking his jaw back into place as he gripped into the ground around him, and found his fingers touching lush, soft grass. "You'll get used to it."
Anton climbed up from the ground, suit caked in mud and, more disturbingly, neck twisted backward around his body, head facing the opposite way. The demon didn't seem to mind, instead seeming more angry about the situation as a whole, rather than some tiny little inconvenience that wouldn't matter in a few minutes. He placed his hands on his neck and twisted it around until it was facing the right way, before spewing black bile on the ground, and placing a hand on a nearby tree in order to steady himself.
"You're an idiot." Blackheart spat, voice hoarse from the injury, eyes bulging red from the battle. "You can't kill me! I've been here since before you were born and I'll be here when you go back to the weeds!" He screamed, beginning to stand up straight and adjusting a popped out leg through sheer mental power. "I can't die!" He screamed again. "I CAN'T DIE!"
The Rider grinned, spitting out a termite that had somehow ended up in his mouth. "Good."
A frown spread across Anton's face. He tried to move, only to realize his hand had been enveloped by the tree, covered with oak, as it began to spread up his arm, and quickly joined the rest of his body.
"NO!" Anton screamed with horror as it began to climb up to his neck, slowing down almost as if to mock him. "I WON'T ALLOW IT!" It was then he noticed the sign saying 'Botanical Gardens' and Anton realized that he'd been lured into a trap. Again, Anton screamed, he screamed until his vocal cords turned to wood, and he kept screaming from the confines of his prison, trapped for all eternity.
All around Gotham the night returned, replacing the blood red skies with its normal darkness, and returning the hordes back to their hellish home. The destruction remained, massive trees remaining sprouted in the streets that would cost thousands to remove, but the Rider didn't care. He just chuckled to himself, enjoying the joke and happy with the day, until he turned around.
There had been a group of people hiding within the Botanical Gardens, they'd gone unnoticed by the Rider during his conflict, and even now, he didn't really care about them. Most of them anyway.
There was a girl, stood at the front of this group, arm raised to protect them... and she was perfect.
Her smile, while currently replaced with a look of horror, was a white set of teeth lined up in a stunning order. She was John Holland's earliest memory, and now she was the only thing keeping him sane. Naturally, the Rider stopped chuckling.
Within the cave that was John's soul, his restraints began to loosen, and, summoning his strength, the man, captured for so long, managed to tear free from his prison. A throbbing began in the back of the Rider's skull, and the beast began to scream, clutching at the side of his head as he felt like it was about to explode. He collapsed to one knee, connecting with the Earth, sweet Mother Earth... and when the creature rose back to his feet, it wasn't the eyes of the Rider staring at his girlfriend in complete shock.
"Oh my God! Abbie?!"
It was John.