Marvel Comics has released more information about its planned celebration of the 50th anniversary of the debut of the mysterious Man-Thing, unveiling the cover and synopsis for Curse of the Man-Thing: Spider-Man, the second of the three Steve Orlando written one-shots that comprise the story.
"Man-Thing's supernatural abilities have been pirated thanks to the new Marvel villain, Harrower, a zealot intent on clearing humanity off the board so a new species can get a shot at the top," reads Marvel's official solicitation. "The world burns and fear is the accelerant!"
"Meanwhile, Spider-Man races across New York desperate to avert disaster and find the one man that just might be able to get through to Man-Thing...his former colleague Curt Connors, A.K.A. The Lizard!" it continues. "But deep within the Man-Thing's psyche, it's Spider-Man that discovers something he never expected: a devilish secret, and a doctor seeking redemption."
The cover, seen here, is by Daniel Acuña, while the one-shot's interior art will be drawn by Dan Dare artist Alberto Foche in his Marvel Comics debut. Nick Bradshaw has created a variant cover, seen above.
"Spider-Man: Curse of the Man-Thing picks up the second, explosive chapter of our anniversary celebration as cities across the world fall prey to Man-Thing's fire, and the best hope for stopping the blaze rests with not just Spider-Man, but one of this oldest foes: the Lizard," states Orlando in the reveal.
"What a blast to watch Man-Thing take Manhattan, and to see both Peter Parker and Miles Morales step up to the plate to defend their city against fear!?"
"If you like super heroes and the supernatural, you'll love this high-octane celebration of one of Marvel's strangest characters," adds editor Mark Paniccia. "It feels like its own big event. And Steve's epic story will reveal, amongst other things, an unexpected new dimension of the Marvel Universe."
The series of three one-shots kicks off in March's Curse of the Man-Thing: Avengers, with Spider-Man following in April, and an X-Men themed one-shot to round things out.
Original story follows.
Marvel Comics will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the debut of the mysterious Man-Thing starting in March 2021, with a series of three one-shots written by Marvel Comics newcomer Steve Orlando, with art from Francesco Mobili, in which Man-Thing will team-up with different Marvel characters.
The whole thing kicks off with Avengers: Curse of the Man-Thing #1, as announced through Bloody Disgusting. Appropriately, Orlando promises some intense body-horror alongside the story's superhero action, partially thanks to a brand new villain known as the Harrower.
"For decades, the Man-Thing has haunted the Florida Everglades. Now a new enemy has hijacked his body on a quest to take his incendiary abilities global!" reads Marvel's official synopsis of Avengers: Curse of the Man-Thing #1.
"We wake to fear as gargantuan monoliths menace cities worldwide, with only the Avengers standing between the population of Earth and a planetwide inferno," it continues. "Can they save Man-Thing in time to douse the fires? And does the man inside the thing, Ted Sallis, even want to be saved? Introducing a sensational new villain, The Harrower!"
From the sound of the description, it seems as though the Harrower will somehow harness Man-Thing's odd power of causing fiery pain or even actual conflagration to those who fear him, usually criminals, as described in his classic slogan "Whoever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing's touch!"
Orlando states that the subsequent two-issues will put Man-Thing in the path of Spider-Man, and then the mutants of Krakoa in a story that will introduce a new version of the formerly villainous Dark Riders – but the writer assures readers Man-Thing is at the heart of the action throughout all three parts.
"These three issues are a journey that draws together the biggest names in the Marvel Universe. But who else would you call when the Nexus of All Realities in unguarded and cities across the world face fire and fear?" Orlando tells Bloody Disgusting. "But Man-Thing is the star of this adventure, and it's his journey that draws us through our three issues, catching the Avengers, Spider-Man, and Krakoa in the slipstream."
"After a massive trauma at the hands of Harrower, it takes allies expected and unexpected to pull the Man-Thing back from the brink so he can save us from our worst fears," Orlando continues, expounding on the story's plot.
"It's a tale of near-death and rebirth, but what better for Marvel's resident swamp god than to be forced to hunker down into himself before he can re-emerge bolder, bigger, and more powerful than ever, just like the swamp that first gave him new life," Orlando states. "Man-Thing's quest to reckon with the secret he's long held within draws from his earliest appearances and feeds into the hyper-new, not just with his re-emergence, but the debuts of a new villain in Harrower and a new team out of Krakoa in the Dark Riders. Everything that he touches is bound to see new growth."
As for the new villain the Harrower who bears a design from artist Carmen Carnero, from what Orlando explains, she seems a perfect villain for Man-Thing, with a focus on body horror and physical mutation.
"Harrower is the body horror savant of both the plant and animal worlds. She studied with some of the world's foremost biologists and botanists, and landed finally at some of the world's most disgruntled," Orlando explains.
"You know them from their time making hell for the X-Men – those beautifully aggressive action scientists known as Hordeculture. But for as much as Hordeculture wishes to trim humanity back to a reasonable size and restore balance to Earth, Harrower doesn't think that's good enough," Orlando continues.
"What they call the wisdom of experience, she calls cowardice and half-measures. Harrower feels we've had our shot, and that another species deserves a shot at a billion years of evolution and being top of the food chain. She believes hard enough that she abandons the science Hordeculture raised her on for the supernatural, something that gets her disowned by her mentors…and unleashed on the world."
Orlando also lends some insight into Harrower's powers.
"Harrower's spellwoven scars allow her to commit horrific acts of bio-fusion or bio-fission, melding animal with animal, plant with plant, or animal with plant, in tortured ways," he states. "It's this ability that makes her uniquely suited to hurt the Man-Thing and take his godlike powers for herself."
Additionally, Marvel has prepped a series of March Man-Thing themed variant covers, debuting three planned covers for Venom #32 by Superlog, Amazing Spider-Man #62 by Greg Land, and Captain Marvel #27 by Bernard Chang.
Here's a gallery of interior pages from Avengers: Curse of the Man-Thing #1 along with the three revealed variant covers:
Avengers: Curse of the Man-Thing debuts in March with covers from Daniel Acuña, Chris Sprouse, and Nick Bradshaw. Look for Marvel's full March 2021 solicitations later this month on Newsarama.
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