- "Don't know what these things are... or what they want... and I don't care to find out...! Just want them to... leave me alone..!"
- ―The Swamp Thing
|"The Man Who Wanted Forever"|
|Title:||"The Man Who Wanted Forever"|
|Cover date:||January, 1973|
|Executive editor:||Joe Orlando|
|Cover artists:||Bernie Wrightson|
|Cover inker:||Bernie Wrightson|
|Cover colorist:||Bernie Wrightson; Glynis Wein|
|Colorists:||Bernie Wrightson; Glynis Wein|
|Previous:||Swamp Thing #1|
|Next:||Swamp Thing #3|
"The Man Who Wanted Forever" is the story title to the second issue of the first Swamp Thing ongoing comic book series by DC Comics. The story was written by Len Wein with artwork by Bernie Wrightson, who also provided embellishment work for this issue. The cover art was penciled and inked by Wrightson and colored by Wrightson and Glynis Wein, who also colored the interior pages to this issue. The story was lettered by Gaspar Saladino and edited by Joe Orlando. This issue shipped with a January, 1973 cover date and carried a cover price of 20 cents per copy (US).
From a distance, the Swamp Thing watches an ambulance loading up the body of Maxwell Ferrett - the man who murdered his wife, Linda Holland. He thinks back upon recent events and the road of violence that led to him being caught in a blast of exploding chemicals that ultimately turned Alec Holland into the Swamp Thing. But it is violence of another kind that shakes the beast out of his reverie. A horde of grotesque misshapen freaks descends upon him and attack. One of these "Un-Men", a serpentine creature named Ophidian uses his hypnotic gaze to render the Swamp Thing inert. They drag him onto a seaplane and fly off across the Atlantic Ocean.
The plane flies across the ocean until it reaches the Balkans in Southeast Europe. The Un-Men crucify the Swamp Thing and bind him to a wooden wagon, which they then take below ground and into a winding series of catacombs. They bring him to the mountain castle of their master - a scientist and sorcerer named Anton Arcane. Arcane is a man of advanced age and ill health. By using a mystic mirror, he reveals that he knows that the Swamp Thing is really Alec Holland and declares that he has the means to turn him human again. In exchange, he wants to supplant his own consciousness into the body of the Swamp Thing. Alec is desperate to regain his humanity, so he agrees to Arcane's terms.
Anton Arcane shows him a large ornate vase, which he calls a Soul Jar. As he speaks an incantation, he has the Swamp Thing fuel the spell with his intense feelings of desire to be human again. The spell works and Alec Holland is reborn. Anton Arcane's mind now resides within the body of the Swamp Thing.
Later, Alec overhears Arcane pontificating over how he will have revenge upon the villagers who failed to recognize his genius. He realizes too late that he has made a deal with the Devil and does not know how he can fix this. He races to confront Arcane, but is intercepted by one of the Un-Men. Alec tears loose a piece of his robe and uses it to strangle the creature. He then finds Arcane and smashes the Soul Jar. Doing so reverses the spell and Arcane's mind returns to his original body and Alec Holland becomes the Swamp Thing again. Arcane tries to escape from him and summons more Un-Men, but while fleeing, he loses his balance and falls out the castle window to his doom. The Swamp Thing beats back the throng of Un-Men and makes his way to the bottom of the castle.
From the shadows, a strange individual watches the Swamp Thing with great interest.
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