WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice League Dark #2 from James Tynion IV, Alvaro Bueno, Raul Fernandez, Brad Anderson and Rob Leigh, on sale now.
The relaunched Justice League Dark is changing the very concept of magic in the DC Universe. As readers receive new insight into its origin on Earth, we learn that magic was stolen by mankind. What's more, the original owners, led by the Upside Down Man, are coming back for it.
As Wonder Woman, Zatanna, Detective Chimp (the new Nightmaster) and Dr. Kirk Langstrom (aka Man-Bat) investigate though, one key person who's assisting this new incarnation of the Dark team has revealed he's about ready to pack it in and retire from superhero activity: Swamp Thing.
By refusing to join the team, Swamp Thing has raised eyebrows because he's always been an integral member of the Dark squad since he left behind his Vertigo trappings to re-enter the main DC Universe in 2010's Brightest Day event. His mystical connection to the Green allows him access to nature globally, and as a result, he's honed his power to become a guardian of Earth, a position he's proudly represented recently in Dark Nights: Metal and the new Justice League book. Now, though, even though most everyone seems to accept his decision to stay off Wonder Woman's team, John Constantine isn't buying it.
When the Dark team go to Salem to deal with Doctor Fate, Constantine confronts Swamp Thing at the site of the Tree of Wonder (which has only recently sprout up when the League battled the Omega Titans). Constantine urges the plant elemental to spill the secret he's been keeping, to let everyone know he's tired and wants to retire. Swamp Thing admits it's true as he's grown disappointed with mankind over the last few years. Feeding into this discontent is the fact that the humanity Alec Holland, his host, represents, is all but gone.
He wants to quit and, like the plant elementals before him, join the Parliament of Trees, or as Constantine calls it, a retirement home. Constantine's angry because he can sense evil coming and he believes the gateway is this Tree of Wonder, which Swamp Thing seems to know more about than he's letting on due to their plant connection. Constantine can tell that by the way he's been coming to it to meditate and possibly communicate, Swamp Thing's hiding crucial information on what's to come.
Sadly, Swamp Thing just doesn't seem to care, resigned to defeat for whatever reason. He's lost faith, not just in mankind, but in heroes on the whole as he doesn't even care to join the team when they enter the Tower of Fate, or convene with the mages in the DCU when they're discussing how to deal with magic turning on them. Simply put, he thinks all of this is karma and the planet's inhabitants are reaping what they once sowed.
Constantine, who perhaps knows Swamp Thing better than any other member of JLDark, pleads with him to reconsider his choice and to get in the game, but it falls on deaf ears. The current guardian of the Green appears set on stepping aside, though given the nature of comics, it's unlikely he'll stay on the sidelines for too long; with the Upside Down Man and the Otherkind knocking on mankind's door, Swamp Thing will undoubtedly return in some manner or another at crucial point in the story.