Amazing Spider-Man: Curse of the Man-Thing #1 Review

by Charles Martin on April 28, 2021

Amazing Spider-Man: Curse of the Man-Thing #1 Review
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artists: Marco Failla with Minkyu Jung
Colourist: Guru-eFX
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Welcome to episode two of the "Steve Orlando tours contemporary Marvel" show!

As in the first issue, here the poor Man-Thing serves as the weaponized MacGuffin with which a Poison Ivy knockoff assaults the 616. And like my colleague James Caudill, who reviewed Avengers: Curse, I was severely underwhelmed by the poor fit between the Man-Thing and the story at hand.

There's a silver lining in this second act, though. While the Avengers and now the Order of the Web battle plant-monsters around the world, Curt Connors and then Spider-Man himself are drawn into the mysterious swamp-world where Ted Sallis "lives" to give him some much-needed pep talks.

"Great Responsibility" speech ahoy!

That means that after 30-odd pages of being technically dead, Man-Thing finally pulls himself together and starts taking an active role in this supposed birthday bash thrown in his honour. 

But the downside is, it appears his backstory has been crudely retconned for the sake of dragging the X-Men into the next issue. Dang.

Now that I've vented my bile at the overall premise, I do want to say that Steve Orlando is doing a pretty good job writing a wide slice of Marvel characters. This is just how we expect the Marvel universe's A-listers to talk and act in a Big Dumb Event™. (Am I damning with faint praise? I don't mean to.) 

And the crisis is well-paced. Cutaways to the Avengers are just long enough to keep the global nature of the problem firmly in mind while the real action happens in New York. T'was ever thus in Marvel, right?

On the visual front, Marco Failla and Minkyu Jung do an excellent job blocking out the big action spreads. The Avengers spread might not, strictly speaking, be essential to the story, but dang, it looks cool.

These artists prefer a sharp, angular style for their characters, including faces. It works well for their Spider-Man, who has McFarlane-sized eyes and keeps his mask on throughout. Other characters are less fortunate, particularly the old ladies of Hordeculture. Francesco Mobili drew them much more realistically and impressively in the Avengers issue.

(I'll jump back to the strategic level for a second: This sort of hard-to-overlook visual shift is one of my big problems with "round-robin" stories passed from artist to artist.)

Guru-eFX adds some much-needed visual consistency with his colours. Although he goes flatter and brighter to match the artists' style in the action scenes, he also retains an impressive amount of the soft, painterly modulation he used in the Avengers issue. This is most evident in the swamp scenes, where the well-blended colours firmly assert that this is the same setting we saw last time.

Amazing Spider-Man: Curse of the Man-Thing #1 continues in the style established in the previous issue. While it features more actual Man-Thing content, and that's much appreciated, the driving purpose is still to give the author a crack at writing as many high-profile Marvel characters as possible. He does it well, and the artists support him capably, but the obvious contrivance of the plot makes it hard to engage with.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
One of the best moments is an excellent comic relief exchange between Miles-Spidey and Captain America. Those guys are great together; let's give them a miniseries already!