Monday, March 13, 2017

Man-Thing #1 Review - Marvel Monday

Man-Thing #1

Writer: R.L. Stine
Art Team: German Peralta, Rachelle Rosenberg
Art Team on Back-up: Daniel Johnson, Mat Lopes
Marvel Comics
Release Date: March 8, 2017
Cover Price: $3.99

Man-Thing Hits Hollywood, Hollywood Hits Back!

I’m no horror expert like our old friend Eric Shea here at WeirdScience but I will watch/read the occasional scary story or two when the mood strikes me every now and then.  However back in my younger days I would regularly dabble into the Goosebumps series written by R.L. Stine, which in and of itself, was a name big enough to draw my attention to this book and Man-Things way.  So let’s get right into this, figure out what this character is all about here in issue one, and if R.L. Stine can put some respect on the Man-Thing brand.

Life seems to be coming at your fast if your Man-Thing as events start fast because it looks like Man-Thing is mixing it up, right off the bat, with a giant Centipede monster rivaling his size, speed, and strength.  Unfortunately what we quickly find out, once Man-Thing dispatches his enemy with a giant stomp turning into a ‘human’ centipede, is this was all a staged scene, for what looks to either be a TV show or movie, coming soon focused on Marvel’s swamp monster. 

From there we move on to see Man-Thing, after shooting his scenes, being called into Heck Haywood’s office, who is Studio Development Director for this project.  In quick succession Mr. Haywood does a good job, albeit with a touch of humor, of displaying no remorse for Man-Things feelings, firing him on the spot, all while either directly or indirectly insulting poor Ted Sallis' several times along the way. 

Man-Thing leaves the studio lot broke, dejected, and with no place to go really after his trip out west has failed, blowing up in his face, mere moments ago. As our ‘hero’ walks the streets of Burbank, California Man-Thing thinks back to how hard he’s worked “to get himself back” from formerly being a mindless beast. Did our hero do something he regrets to be this way or just not want to return to his old life living in a swamp, this looks to be a question the series will look to answer. 

 At this point the creature reflects back on his origin, that fateful night he turned from scientist on the run to the grotesque Man-Thing he is today.  The origin story takes up the second act of the book, done very well by R.L Stine, perfectly capturing the essence of a classic monster movie while also providing insight into Ted himself and why he feels so betrayed and conflicted about his current situation.

The flashback ends as we resume our story continuing to follow Man-Thing on his walk through Burbank which has a handful of surprisingly funny moments sprinkled throughout.  Eventually our marvelous swamp monster comes across his reflection in a storefront window and stops for a moment of thought only to catch a second copy of ‘himself’ following off in the distance.  Man-Thing turns around to confront the ‘stalker’ only to find, the copycat version of him, isn’t here to play nice as the two begin viciously fighting.

Our ‘good’ Man-Thing comes to a half conclusion, thinking that this must be the animalistic version of himself he dispelled that possibly is trying to drag him back to the swamp where he belongs. The two twin monsters duke it out like champs for the last few pages of our issue, but before we get too many answers this month, we’re left with a few final blows exchanged between the two ‘Things’ as our cliffhanger for the book.

The issue also includes a backup story, written by R.L. Stine as well, with art team of Daniel Johnson and Mat Lopes. This is simply an independent four page short story called Put a Ring on it. This story itself is also extremely well done coming to a complete conclusion with a few nice twists as well all in its short little page count. Be sure to finish this book all the way through its real a treat through and through and one of Marvels better titles I’ve read lately.

Overall Man-Thing #1 was well worth its initial investment of $3.99 with a great horror/comedy type of story, dare I say, with a little bit of Goosebumps flavor hidden underneath it all that I’m totally alright with.  The story engaged me the entire way through the book and has me interested in a character going forward I would normally not pay much attention to otherwise.  The art teams on both stories do a great job of conveying the mood and emotions throughout really setting the tone for the words on the page.  This was a great effort by everyone involved and I can’t wait for issue two to drop.
Bits and Pieces

R.L. Stine does an excellent job of setting the tone and establishing the premise for the beginning of this story raising a few questions along the way I’m excited to find the answers to.  Both art teams present on the stories in the book do a great job of capturing the tone and emotions present making this something I wholeheartedly recommended to any fan of a horror/comedy type of comic book.


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