The last character who appears in Pilot, the premiere episode of Swamp Thing, is another supporting character, and an old friend of Abby Arcane: Liz Tremayne. Portrayed by Maria Sten, Liz works for a local newspaper in Marais, Louisiana, and as a bartender for her aging father, and is a childhood friend of Abby. Apparently, she knows everything there is to know about the death of Shawna Sunderland, as she leaves Abby in the “clutches” of Maria Sunderland as soon as the woman approaches their table. Her connections with the press and knowledge of local history will probably come in handy in the next episodes, but in the meanwhile let’s take a look at the original character.
Not much is known about Liz Tremayne’s early life. She lived in Houma, Louisiana, and she worked as a reporter for a local tv program, the semi-serious tabloid news In-Depth Magazine. The kind of stories she covered for her news program were mostly conspiracy-theory material, and the last one didn’t seem to differ much: two scientists, man and wife, some Alec and Linda Holland, had died in the swamp, and she investigated on what was apparently just a lab accident. Despite her current employment, though, Liz took her job very seriously, and she could feel there was a true story behind the Hollands’ death… and so she confirmed later on in her investigations, as she was slowly able to prove that the scientists had actually been murdered, and she even connected the homicides to Sunderland Corporation. Unfortunately, Sunderland Corporation was the employer of In-Depth Magazine, and it was less than likely that they’d let her tell her story on the news. If this wasn’t enough, the search for evidence in the Hollands’ case brought Liz to stumble over and over again on the sightings on a weird plant-monster that was apparently connected to the murder of Alec and Linda Holland. As soon as she had enough material to make a story out of her findings, and trying to let people know the truth despite her bosses’ censorship, Liz wrote a book, Swamp-Man: Fact or Myth?, that detailed the appearances of the creature later known as Swamp Thing and explained her conclusions on the Sunderland Corporation’s involvement in the death of the Hollands. With an anthropomorphic plant involved, though, her book met a foreseeable end, as it was mostly received as tabloid sensationalism, analogue to books on the Loch Ness Monster or the Yeti. Liz Tremayne was ridiculed and her work rejected… but she didn’t give up.
Liz Tremayne kept all the material she had gathered, but she still needed to try and rebuild her career and credibility. She looked for stories all over the country, and she eventually got interested in Barnard “Uncle Barney” Stryker, a former children television actor turned child murderer, known to the public as the Pineboro Child-Stalker. Along with an associate producer, Paul Feldner, Liz traveled to Pineboro, Arkansas, to cover Stryker’s trial… but the Child-Stalker wasn’t the only monster she found there. Barnard Stryker claimed he had been helped by a demon in killing all those children, and this was far from being a metaphor, or a last-minute attempt to claim insanity: the demon was real, and it possessed Paul, forcing him to hunt for another victim, a girl named Karen Clancy. Liz tried to stop her friend, but Paul’s will was totally submitted to the demon’s will… then, the woman received the most unexpected help in the form of Swamp Thing, the monster she had been hunting for all that time. Swamp Thing offered his invincible body as a new vessel for the demon, who abandoned Paul, and then locked himself in a freezer cellar, letting the extreme cold destroy the evil spirit. Liz reached him when things were done already, and she found Paul, still dazed, and a severely weakened Swamp Thing. Finally able to succeed in her hunt and to convince the world she was right, Liz contacted Sunderland Corporation, and arranged the monster to be sent to South Dakota, to the clinic run by Dr. Dennis Barclay. Liz accompanied her “prey”, but once in the clinic Dr. Barclay informed her that the “monster” was actually Alec Holland: the murderous monster she wanted to punish and the innocent victim she wanted to do justice for were one and the same. This totally changed the woman’s perspective: maybe, she was still in time to save Swamp Thing from Sunderland Corporation after all…
Liz Tremayne is a brave and sometimes reckless reporter, a professional who feels her job to be like a sacred mission despite working for papers that are all but serious ones. She briefly gained supernatural powers when she was possessed by the Herald of the Antichrist, but otherwise she’s “just” a bright, daring and intuitive journalist. The person she was has been systematically demolished by her companion, Dennis Barclay, and she’s now reduced to an insecure, terrified and submissive woman, unable to do anything… but somewhere underneath the ashes, Liz Tremayne’s fire still burns, and she’s only waiting for the right occasion to rekindle it and reclaim her freedom.