MAN-THING #2 (1974)

When reading Steve Gerber’s Marvel work, it’s obvious that his work on Man-Thing and then on Howard the Duck were his favorites.  Each issue of Man-Thing is as dense as the titular character’s swampy body.

Issue #2 is a done-in-one, which is good because we could use a bit of a palette cleanser after the very complex story that launched the title and introduced the world to Howard the Duck (and then killed him).  It involves a guy (Richard Rory) who is visiting Man-Thing’s swamp and pours coffee on an alligator, who then attacks him.  Man-Thing saves him, and then a passer-by named Ruth Hart helps tend to the man’s wounds. Ruth is part of a biker gang that later in this issue attacks Man-Thing.

While this is going on, real estate developer F.A. Schist is leading a corporate discussion on killing Man-Thing, because he’s in the way of their construction projects.  They come up with a device called The Slaughter Room, which lures Man-Thing with sound and then is supposed to trap him, but instead Man-Thing destroys the Room.  The explosion kills the leader of the biker gang.  F.A. Shist flees the scene, and Ruth is finally free of the biker gang.

This is kind of the formula for Gerber’s Man-Thing issues.  He’s really a side-character, who moves along a realization or discovery for normal folks.

Professsor Slaughter will become a regular menace to Man-Thing as the book goes on, and Richard Rory becomes the new human focal point of the series, replacing Jennifer Kale who is working on becoming a mystic.

Creators: Gerber and Val Mayerik
Grade: C+
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.

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