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"Spider-Man: Curse of the Man-Thing #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics

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Written by Steve Orlando
Illustrated by Marco Failla with Minkyu Jung
Colored by Guru-eFX
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
2021, 34 Pages, $4.99

Review:

Harrower's deadly attack against humanity has weaponized the Man-Thing, sprouting stalks around the world that have spawned plant drones and set tons of people on fire. Captain America has gone into the creature to appeal to the man inside, Ted Sallis within the guy's mindscape. Now it's Spider-Man's turn to talk Ted down and try to wrangle this chaotic endeavor.

Curse of the Man-Thing is like a who's who of the Marvel Universe so far, having already dealt with the Avengers before pulling in the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. We know the X-Men are up next. Writer Steve Orlando seems like he's having a ball with this, playing with all the characters and bringing out the best in them.

I really love his take on Spider-Man, particularly when he's talking trauma with Ted. If anyone knows pain and guilt, it's the wall-crawler. Orlando fills this with an equal balance of great quips and poignant dialogue. Spidey recognizes that he's made mistakes in the past and they've hurt people, but he can't change those bad choices. He has to own up to them and do what he can to make up for them. It's solid advice.

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Marco Failla picks up the art duties in Spider-Man: Curse of the Man-Thing. Aided by Minkyu Jung, this is a very different style than the previous issue, with lighter pencils that don't have as much depth as what we've seen before. I'm not usually a fan of switching artists during a story arc, but since this mini-series focuses on different areas of the Marvel Universe, it gets a pass.

Guru-eFX uses a brighter palette for this issue that doesn't totally vibe with the horrors unleashed within the artwork. It's hard to be afraid of the horde of plant drones when they are colored like the armies in Plants vs. Zombies. Granted, this takes place during the middle of the day, so the sun is shining. That does coincide with the usual motif of a Spider-Man comic.

When Man-Thing does pop up, it's like a force of nature. It towers above any normal humans, looking out at the world stoically with its eerie red eyes. There's no real facial expression here, so it's tough to read if it's friend or foe.

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The scenes in Ted's mindscape are the standout ones for the artwork, creating a dark and moody atmosphere. This plays up Ted's mental state and the terrifying nature of the Man-Thing. There's a lot to sift through in these discussions and letterer Clayton Cowles keeps this moving nicely. It's a spot to take a breath in between all the crazy fight scenes. Spidey's exclamations are another stand out, perfectly capturing the character's tone.

The story gets supernatural by the end, further expanding the mythos behind the Man-Thing in new and interesting ways. I'm very curious how this story will wrap up with the X-Men in the next chapter. Man-Thing is frequently compared to Swamp Thing over at DC, but it's less regarded, perhaps because the character hasn't had a breakout story to really put it on the map. This could very well be that story.

Grades:

Story: fourstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
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Buy from Amazon UK.
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Tfaw Buy Button
Art: threestars
Overall: 3.5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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