Sunday, April 5, 2009

Uncanny Macabre X-MAN-THING

For any and all fans of touchingly bitter-sweet, heartfelt, emotion-eliciting and all 'round GOOD comics stories - there's something truly wonderful for you out there.

OH. I should mention that it might help if you're a fan of the Macabre MAN-THING as well...
...and, of course, it doesn't hurt of you're also fans of those mutant teenager X-MEN who seem to be popular, either.

Lurking, hidden in the back-up story of X-MEN : FIRST CLASS : FINALS # 3 (of a 4 ... or 5 issue mini-series), is an X-cellent tale of the then-young original X-Men in a story titled; "X-Date".

As the title might allude... it's a date story between Scott (Cyclops) Summers and Jean (Marvel Girl, not-yet-Phoenix) Grey. It also guests the lovable lump; Man-Thing.

Written by Jeff Parker and lovingly rendered by Collen Coover, this is a touching story wherein the two young lovers literally "bump into" the Man-Thing.

The story, by Parker, is similar to previous issues of the X-Men : First Class series (specifically # 8) where he has Man-Thing act as a "House of Mystery / Tower of Shadows" type of guide through the lives (past and future) of those he meets.

Truthfully? I kinda LIKE for the muck montser to have that innate ability.
As long as it comes via his EMPATHIC nature and not through some kind of active thought process.

Sadly, in this tale, Parker does indeed make that sin.
His Man-Thing is far less mindless than any other rendition.

Here, while the mutant duo are trying to figure out their next step, Man-Thing is obviously consciously thinking about the situation and then... when he has found a solution, the "idea" light-bulb "appears" (figuratively) over his head.

"Eureka! By George, I think I've GOT it!"
(If this wasn't in the script, and it's strictly a visual goof, then, in which case, this falls upon Coover's shoulders)

This is strictly a no-no.

I'll allow for the possibility that Jean Grey's mental powers are somehow boosting Man-Thing's cognitive abilities somehow. It isn't stated, but for a story this nice, I'll bend over backwards a little.

I'll almost always grant a certain leeway for Manny to have some semblance of cognitive abilities (especially as how that is how he was portrayed in his early stories), but his thoughts should be as gossamer as the wind. If he does think of something, it should fade into the dark recesses of his mind until the actual thought is lost, but perhaps the general gist of it all might remain.

At best, he should "think" kinda like a stoner. "I've got a GREAT idea! Wait... wait... what was I saying? Oh, yeah... something about doing something. Riiiight. Pass the munchies."


However, that one misstep is the only stumble in the entire journey.

Colleen Coover is my new all-time favorite Man-Thing artist. Even beating out the legendary Mike Ploog (if such a thing could be thought of as possible)!

I could read stories of her version of Man-Thing all day, every day, for the rest of my life.
And if you could replace ME with her drawing of Jean Grey, and COLLEEN for her illustration of Man-Thing in this image...

That's EXACTLY what I'd do and say.
Kiss her on the cheek and thank her for letting us see this.

I'm not sure who handled the coloring on this story (as it's not specified), but I believe it might have been Coover herself. Whomever is responsible, the palette is vibrant, the tones are lush and the technique is effective in orchestrating the proper mood and setting.

RUN, don't walk (or shamble) to your nearest comics-retailer and pick up this gem, if not for the opening story (featuring the continuing saga of the X-Men vs assorted threats from their past), but for this love note of a story.

Man-Thing says; "You stay beautiful, y'hear?"

This story is definitely going to be in the running for my 2009 "Sanctum Awards", you can be sure of that.
As it is, last year, Man-Thing's appearances in X-Men First Class #'s 8 and 11 were runner's up - and the story that co-starred CLEA, as drawn by Colleen Coover, that appeared in KING SIZE SPIDER-MAN SUMMER SPECIAL # 1 actually WON it's category!

To check out LAST year's SANCTUM AWARDS, go HERE.


Tegan O'Neil said...

Kissing Man-Thing is a surprising motif. First Quasar, now this. Are there any more instances of smooching the bog beast?

~P~ said...

typing "Kissing the Man-Thing" in a search-engine, will most assuredly produce results not entirely what you were expecting.


I know of the Quasar issue, and this scene, but have there been any other Muck-Monster-Macking?
I can't recall any.
However, there certainly MIGHT be.

Aaaaand thank you for putting that thought into my head, so now I'll be on the look-out for it.

Actually, while not actual KISSING, I do know that in Doctor Strange : Master of the Mystic Arts # 41, after Manny helped prevent the end of all-there-is, the assorted gatherers were palling around and holding his hands and patting him on the back.

I think it showed Jennifer Kale as being fairly warm to him.

Hmmm... I THINK she was ALSO shown to be "friendly" to him in the recent "Dead of Night" series.

I'll have to take a look.

As if I didn't have enough to do.


~P~ said...

Yes there ARE many more instances of Man-Thing lovin'!

And... I devoted an entire post to some of them.

A Valentine's Day post; appropriately (and oh, so wrongly titled) "Kiss my Giant-Sized Man-Thing".

I'm just typing this comment for anyone who reads the previous post, and reads the previous comments and thinks to themselves; "Hmmm... I wonder..."

Don't say I don't follow up on these stray thoughts.
It might take a little while, but I get to all of them eventually.


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