Aquaman swims across a rotting corpse in a bed of seaweed, and is taken aback when the seaweed coalesces into the Swamp Thing. Aquaman rashly lashes out with his telepathy, quickly finding himself entangled in the seaweed bed the Swamp Thing is manipulating. The briefest of conversations convinces the two antagonists that neither is the monster they believed the other to be. Due to a rotting corpse washing up on the shore of Star Bay, the mayor shuts down the popular tourist attraction. When questioned by his staff, the mayor produces a ransom note, requesting three million dollars, signed by someone calling themselves "Toxin". A bit of rotting undersea vegetation accompanied the note, the same flora found throughout the dead man's body. As the mayor relays this information, a member of his staff begins choking on the salad he was consuming. Suddenly, plant life bursts from the man's gullet, killing him. The mayor resolves to pay the ransom. Swamp Thing's connection to the Green provides him with awareness of the plant related murder. It also leads him to suspect that one of the men in the mayor's office was actually responsible for that death. Aquaman and Swamp Thing stake out the mayor's office, waiting for someone to leave to deliver the ransom money. As the mayor drives away, Aquaman slices off Swamp Thing's left hand, with his harpoon, then fires the appendage at the car. While waiting for the car to reach it's destination, Swamp Thing comments on Aquaman's current situation, comparing the Sea King to an alcoholic vagrant sleeping in the alley behind them. Both men have lost control of their lives. Swamp Thing offers to help Aquaman with his dilemma, but the Sea KIng refuses.
The Mayor hurls the briefcase holding the ransom money into the sea. It is picked up by Patti Matson, the lifeguard who found the dead man's body. Aquaman closes on Matson, who retaliates by firing an array of harpoons at the Sea KIng, from her high tech sea sled. Aquaman easily dodges the barrage, but is surprised to find that the harpoons are tracking him. Aquaman lassos the missiles with his own harpoon line, just as Matson releases mines into the water. Swamp Thing grows a new body from his severed hand, still clinging to the mayor's car, and confronts the mayor. Upon seeing the Swamp Thing, the mayor attacks, using his own power to control flora against the plant elemental. Aquaman telepathically orders a school of fish to provide him with a momentary distraction. The fish, however, terrified of Aquaman, due to the mutagenic changes that have, of late, befallen him, refuse to assist him. Matson fires on Aquaman with laser cannons, enraging the Sea KIng enough to throw caution to the wind, and engage her head on. Aquaman grabs Matson's sea sled and hurls it out of the sea, crashing it into the mayor's car. Aquaman loops his harpoon line around the mayor's leg, and throws him out to sea. Matson spears Aquaman in the back, further enraging the already volatile Sea King. Swamp Thing entangles the mayor in sea greens, then carries him back to shore. At this point, Aquaman has gained the advantage over Matson. Out of control, the Sea KIng is broadcasting telepathic commands into Matson's brain, causing her to repeat everything Aquaman is yelling at her. Swamp Thing enters Aquaman's mind, to expose the root rot in the Sea King's soul that has poisoned his telepathic abilities. With the full realization of what has happened to him revealed, Aquaman begs the Swamp Thing to help him.