Jason Woodrue (Plant Master/Floronic Man)

I didn’t forget about you, Lucy W., so I’ll come back to your request briefly before a short hiatus. Next in the list is quite a weird villain, the Floronic Man, a plant-based mad scientist who crossed paths with a number of heroes in the DC Universe. Albeit he’s been mentioned in a couple of tv series (in Swamp Thing as a rival of Anton Arcane, and in The Flash as the owner of the greenhouse Sand Demon brings Patty Spivot to), he only has one live action appearance so far: in Batman & RobinJohn Glover portrays Jason Woodrue prior to his transformation, a mad scientist who uses the research of his colleague Pamela Isley to create the super-soldier Bane; he also tries to kill Isley when he’s busted, with the only result of creating Poison Ivy instead and getting killed by her in return. The only thing this crazy and noisy geneticist has in common with his original counterpart is his role in Poison Ivy’s origins: let’s see together.

Apparently, and on his own account, Jason Woodrue wasn’t born on Earth, rather on a different dimension called Floria, a world inhabited by dryads in which sentient human-plant hybrids were the dominant species. Due to unknown reasons, he was sentenced to death on his world and exiled on Earth to die as a human being. Here, using the advanced botanical knowledge of his world, he easily became a botany professor at Gardner University, using academic funds to continue his researches. Among his students there were quite a bunch of people who would have been pivotal in the future of The Green, the embodiment of all plant life on Earth: Alec and Linda Holland, Pamela Isley and Philip Sylvian. While teaching his most gifted students some of the secrets he alone knew about plants, Woodrue also tried to transform Earth into a copy of his homeworld, using his knowledge to prompt the plants to claim sovereignty over the world. Calling himself the Plant Master, Woodrue launched an all-out attack on the planet, but he was stopped by The Atom right before he could put in motion his cataclismic project. Considered delusional and psychothic, Woodrue was arrested and locked in Arkham Asylum, where he however was able to continue his work (mainly because all his experiments were taken for harmless hobbies by the guardians who didn’t understand them). Woodrue realised he needed more power to reach his goals, so he studied a formula that would have connected him to the Green on a deeper level: thanks to his potion, he was transformed into a human-plant hybrid, with leaves for hair and wood for skin, and he dubbed himself the Floronic Man, ready to take over the world once again. According to another source, however, this transformation was caused by Herupa Hando Hu, a Guardian of the Universe, and Nadia Safir, a Zamaronian, who selected champions to “renew” the Earth and bring it to the new millennium; Woodrue, apparently, was mistaken for a hero due to his love for the planet’s vegetation, and transformed as well.

Being it a way or the other, surely the Floronic Man didn’t want to use his newfound powers for the improvement of the human race, quite the opposite, he wanted to annihilate it to allow the plants to resume their original rule of the planet. He easily escaped from Arkham, but this time he found Green Lantern waiting for him, and he was defeated once again. After other minor battles with Atom and Wonder Woman, Woodrue finally realised that he couldn’t possibly obtain anything if working alone, and he joined the Secret Society of Super-Villains, albeit following a different agenda. Soon, however, he grew tired of the Wizard‘s schemes, and he returned to a more isolated life. His mastership and extensive knowledge over plants was well known, and he was eventually hired by General Averly Sunderland, a man who had quite some problems with the Swamp Thing, a monster that claimed to be the avatar of the Green. The Foloronic Man was asked to find out how his former student Alec Holland had become the indestructible plant-man and, intrigued, he accepted the mission. Starting from the hypotesis that Swamp Thing was a resurrected and mutated Holland, Woodrue eventually found out that he was rather a mass of intelligent plants who had absorbed the memory, personality and ultimately the identity of the dying scientist, thus believing himself to be Alec Holland. Woodrue tried to tell General Sunderland of his discovery, but when the man dismissed his research as delusional and fired him, the Floronic Man trapped him with an enraged Swamp Thing, watching as the plant-man killed the General. The revelations about his true origins, however, had driven Swamp Thing insane, and his inability to accept his identity reverted him to a lifeless mass of plants…which Woodrue ate in order to enter in contact with the Green. He obtained what he wanted, but all that energy at once drove him insane, prompting him to destroy all animal life on the planet: now, the Green had a fiercer, deadlier avatar, ready not only to protect the Green, but to avenge it from all the abuses it had suffered over the millennia.

Jason Woodrue is a murderous and psychotic man, driven by the “holy mission” of eradicating animal life from the planet in order to ensure the plants’ survival. As the Floronic Man, his wooden body is extremely resilient and durable, and allows him to survive most conventional attacks; he’s also able to bend all plants to his will, making them grow and assume any kind of shape he desires, turning them into his most lethal weapon; extremely intelligent, he’s also an expert botanist who knows everything there is to know about plant life, thus making his chlorokinesis even more dangerous. Either an alien outcast or a delusional mad scientist, the Floronic Man is plants’ lethal protector and avenger, a lonely crusader bent on a planetary genocide to please his “people”.

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