WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Swamp Thing #9, on sale now from DC Comics.
While the new Swamp Thing, Levi Kamei, started his superhero career unsure of his connection to the Green and ascension to become its greatest champion, Levi has quickly discovered that he and his family’s connection to the elemental powers ran far deeper than he originally believed. While Levi has been pursued from all sides since inheriting his role as Swamp Thing, the nefarious Prescot Corporation has revealed that the Green has a particularly potent link to Levi’s hometown in India that made his ascension something of a predetermined destiny as the stage is set for an epic showdown.
The Prescot Corporation has been interested in Levi and his connection to the Green long before he became the new Swamp Thing, with Kamei working with the company to develop the land around his village in an effort to help modernize the region. This led to a violent struggle against the village’s residents, resulting in the death of Levi’s father. However, Prescot’s interest in Kamei runs far deeper than simple land development projects, with the company acquiring the Sunderland Corporation and its data on the elemental hero. And in The Swamp Thing #9 (by Ram V, Mike Perkins, Mike Spicer and Aditya Bidikar), the Prescot Corporation reveals it was interested in Swamp Thing and India’s connection to the Green centuries before Levi was even born.
In order to draw out the elemental creature, the Prescot Corporation kidnaps Levi’s friend Jennifer Reece and takes her back to their corporate headquarters. Jennifer meets with the company’s head, Harper Pilgrim, who reveals he has the husk of a previous Swamp Thing kept captive and subjected to experimentation and study to learn how to access the full power of the Green. Prescot recounts that a British trader working for the East India Trading Company in 1784 learned of local legends and discovered the body of an ancient Swamp Thing which he forcibly extricated and shipped back for study. Years later, an American scientist named Edwin Prescot examined the ancient husk and caught a glimpse of the Green, originating the Prescot Corporation’s longstanding obsession with capturing another Swamp Thing.
Previously, the power of the Green was a revered element in Levi’s village, with he and his brother being bonded to its raw energies when they were children. While Levi largely forgot about this, working directly with Prescot after becoming a scientist, the corporation has quietly been manipulating him all along in an effort to seize his birthright. However, the company never counted on Levi’s brother Jacob having his own strong connection to the Green, leading to a confrontation they were ill-prepared for as a very different kind of Swamp Thing attacks.
In a way, Swamp Thing has always been a story about corporations’ malicious exploitation of people and the environment to improve their own bottom line, with Swamp Thing delivering his own form of elemental justice. With Levi and his homeland’s connection to the Green, this particular Swamp Thing stands as a meditation on colonialism, both historical and with unchecked globalization in the form of the Prescot Corporation.
In attempting to gain the powers of an elemental god, the sinister and well-connected Prescot Corporation has just learned that they have bitten off quite a bit more than they can chew in their attempt to take control of the enigmatic Swamp Thing.
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