DEAD OF NIGHT FEATURING MAN-THING #1 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Issue: 1
  • Written By: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
  • Art By: Jose Angel Cano Lopez
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics, MAX Imprint
  • Price: $3.99

DEAD OF NIGHT FEATURING MAN-THING #1

Tim's Review for first Dead Night comic.

By Tim Janson, Columnist     February 18, 2008

Dead of Night featuring Man-Thing resurrects three different characters and concepts. Dead of Night was one of those fantastic Marvel Comics horror anthologies of the 1970’s. Because these titles were always low-sellers, Marvel’s editors’ often used them as proving grounds for young artists to audition their skills. Consequently, many outstanding artists got their start by doing these short horror stories and often times, the art was better in these titles than Marvel’s main comics. This title, published under Marvel’s Max line re-introduces fans to not only the Man-Thing, but also to Digger. Digger was Marvel’s version of EC Comic’s Crypt-Keeper, making his debut in Tower of Shadows #1 in 1969. Digger was essentially the storyteller, introducing the tales in that title as well as Chamber of Darkness. I think like a lot of people, I had completely forgotten about ol’ Digger. I have to take my hat off to Aguirre-Sarcasa for returning Digger to life, so to speak.

Digger is our Master of Ceremonies for the new unveiling of Man-Thing. Contrary to popular belief, Man-Thing actually appeared BEFORE DC’s Swamp Thing. His first appearance was Savage Tales #1 (May 1971) while Swamp Thing’s first appearance was in the June/July 1971 issue of House of Secrets #92. Aguirre-Sacasa largely keeps Man-Thing’s original origin intact for his re-boot while adding some modern elements and making the story a little more graphic and horrific. Scientist Ted Sallis is working in the Florida swamps to try and replicate the Super Solider formula that created Captain America during WWII. Ted discovers his lab partner has already been performing human experiments with the formula with disastrous results. Ted will soon find out that the terrorist organization know as AIM has their eyes on the formula and Ted must do whatever he can to keep it out of their hands. The mix of Super Soldier formula and swamp will give rise to the creature known as the Man-Thing!

Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Jose Angel Cano Lopez have delivered a story that is very much in the vein of old EC-style horror comics. Even the cover has been designed to look like an old issue of Tales from the Crypt and it comes off as a very fitting and respectful tribute. While adding some variations on Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway’s original story, Aguirre-Sacasa still manages to stick to the spirit of Man-Thing’s origin. This is not an easy character to write. Man-Thing is basically non-intelligent. His only motivating force is the emotions of those around him and thus he’s almost devoid of any personal character, and yet his reactions to emotions are what ultimately drive the story.

Man-Thing works much better in a horror title and outside the realm of the normal Marvel Universe. We don’t need to see Man-Thing team-up with Spider-Man or The Thing as we did thirty years ago as it simply would not fit logically. Keep Man-Thing as a force of nature and I think you’re really onto something, especially for a four issue mini-series. One thing I loved about the art is that the “Digger” segments were fully painted while the rest of the story was done in traditional comic art. This created a nice contrast in the book’s overall look. The painted portions are beautifully dark and moody. This is a wonderful new look at Man-Thing yet with a nod to creators and concepts of the 1970’s.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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LobeznoD 2/18/2008 1:10:12 AM
Hello Tim, how's it going? You make a lot of valid points in this review and I agree with you on the contrasting panels with Digger. It's a brilliant move that creates a nice parallel within the narrative. I have to say that this was a refreshing surpise when I picked it up. The pencils fit the spirit of the book perfectly and the story has an old school horror feel. I'm looking forward to reading Kick Ass, is there a chance you'll review that? With the trend of of recent Max releases like Terror and Hellstorm being pretty solid as of late it seems that the Max books have found their groove. Here is hoping that they stay consistent with their books.
SONYMANswallows 2/18/2008 5:02:39 PM
MAN THING is like BLADE where they dont always in the normal universe. However BLADE needs to be teamed up with the Avengers, Xmen, Xfactor or his own team of big names. I have not read a good BLADE comic from the last 20 years including the movie adaptations. The best BLADE story is BLADE 2 and even Trinity had a decent story that was maneuvered incorrectly. Man Thing is the same way unless you get a genius writer the natural enviroment of Man Thing will get boring real quick. With the travesty that is CIVIL WAR, MAN THING should play a bigger part and evolve into a more communicative being. Stick Steve Rogers body in the swamp with Man Thing where he can live because the super soldier serum has infected the swamp lands. But like in Field of Dreams Steve cant leave the swamp or he's dead. And if Suprefriends can go to Transylvania the BLADE can team up with She Hulk, Daredevil, Ant Man, Elextra, HULK and DeadPool.
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