Warning! Spoilers for DCEASED: Dead Planet #2 below
Ever since John Constantine was introduced in the pages of Swamp Thing, the blonde-haired, chain-smoking English magician has frequently crossed paths with the former Alec Holland, Swamp Thing. Whether as a friend or occasional foe, the representative of the Green has put up with a lot of the chaos and turbulence that is as much a part of John’s life as his iconic trench coat. In all that time, it was inevitable that some of John’s winning personality might rub off on anyone who lives long enough to call themselves his “friend.” In DCeased: Dead Planet #2, their version of Swamp Thing appears to inform John of an important discovery on the other side of the world. But when John starts to curse and complain about little details, Swamp Thing takes a page out of John’s spellbook and curses him out, to the surprise of his teammates in Shadowpact and John himself.
First appearing in The Saga of Swamp Thing #37 (1985), John Constantine was a character with a troubled backstory who suffered both loss and pain in his study of the occult: the supernatural and his own magical abilities. John became Swamp Thing’s protector, guide, and occasional teacher as both characters worked alongside each other enough to develop a unique kind of friendship. As Swamp Thing learned about the Parliament of Trees and his role as a plant elemental, John would occasionally pop up either requesting his help or assisting Swamp Thing with his current dilemma. When both characters were incorporated into the mainstream DC Universe, their friendship continued with John helping to bond Alec with Swamp Thing again, and later they’d work together as members of Justice League Dark. Although John isn’t the easiest person to get along with, Swamp Thing could usually be convinced to help Constantine, even if he survived to regret it.
In DCeased, John Constantine begrudgingly survived the events of DCeased: A Good Day to Die and was seen among the surviving heroes remaining on the overwhelmed Earth at the end of DCeased: Unkillables. In the sequel DCeased: Dead Planet which takes place 5 years later, John continues to fight the good fight as a member of Shadowpact, a mix of magical and seasoned heroes who have been protecting survivors from the infected or “Anti-Living” as John calls them. During their recent rescue, John is interrupted mid-battle by Swamp Thing who wants to discuss the discovery of a new garden with John, even using his powers to help end the battle in a quick and gruesome manner so he could have John’s full attention. While this new and hidden garden is important enough to merit investigation, John immediately shuts it down when he discovers it’s located in Australia, bemoaning that he didn’t survive this long just to have something in Australia kill him. Frustrated at John’s narrow-minded and rude behavior, Swamp Thing does something unexpected and long overdue: He tells John to “shut the @#$% up” which surprises everybody present, including John and readers everywhere.
It’s not so much that it happened but that it’s taken Swamp Thing this long to curse John Constantine out. John admittedly is not the easiest person to get along with and those who call themselves his friends tend to not live long enough to brag about it. Over the years both John and Swamp Thing, who’re usually loners who only work with super teams like the Justice League on special occasions, have become team players and the end of the world is a hell of a rallying cry to join together. This new garden which had been previously hidden from everybody including Swamp Thing, who is literally plugged into the planet itself, is worth investigating and John’s whining about location comes off as immature and annoying. Apparently, this kind of moment does not happen often, if not ever, as the members of Shadowpact are stunned, surprised, and even John is impressed that Swampy took a page out of his book.
Both John and Swamp Thing appeared on the cover of Dead Planet #1 indicating that they would have a role to play in the series and advanced solicitations have shown that what they both discover will set the groundwork for the next story in the successful DC zombies-not-zombies series. Tom Taylor, Trevor Hairsine, Gigi Baldassini, Rain Beredo, and Saida Temofonte continue to pepper the horror and high stakes of the story with great character moments such as this which come as natural instead of forced for the sake of pacing. As Swamp Thing accompanies members of the Shadowpact to Australia to investigate this new discovery, the events that followed suggest that his cursing may become a force of habit provided that he and John Constantine survive long enough to use it.