Man-Thing Is an Oozy Monstrosity in Werewolf By Night
There’s Captain America, Ms. Marvel, and Iron Man, sure. But what about some of the lesser known Marvel characters? When do they get their television show or movie? Over Marvel’s decades-long existence, there’ve been countless characters created, far more than just the major superhero team ups like the Avengers, the X-Men, or even the Eternals.
Enter Werewolf By Night, the new Halloween special now on Disney+. Marvel’s foray into television means not only do they get to introduce characters outside of the ever-expansive feature film franchise, but the company can take the time to dig up some of the deep cut stories that, although they may not immediately fit into the overarching plot of the MCU, are still gripping and exciting tales.
The television special–which is technically a part of the MCU without any major implications for the universe–follows a team of monster hunters who search for a relic while battling a monster. The special is based on a character of the same name (here played by Gael García Bernal), literally named Werewolf By Night, real name Jack Russell. When Russell transforms into a werewolf, he has enhanced strength and intelligence.
But besides Werewolf By Night, there’s also Man-Thing, who features heavily in the Marvel special. He’s also named Ted! If you want a summary of Man-Thing’s history in the Marvel comics, read the below.
Who Is Man-Thing in Werewolf By Night?
A biochemistry professor at Empire State University, Theodore “Ted” Stallis is recruited by the U.S. Army for “Project Sulfur” to develop biochemical weapons. There, he creates the SO-2 Serum, which gives its users immunity to toxic biochemicals. But the project is canceled when side effects are discovered; the serum turns users into monsters.
He then moves to a new project for S.H.I.E.L.D., where he takes his SO-2 Serum along with him. He uses the serum to try and create a new super-soldier serum. When his wife betrays him and tries to steal the serum, he destroys his records, flees, and injects himself with the only vial left, turning him into the Man-Thing. He first appears in Savage Tales #1.
Much like DC’s Swamp Thing, Man-Thing possesses the power to control plants and since he’s not exactly in a solid physical form, he’s able to avoid bullets and other weapons easily as he’s more vegetal than flesh and bone. According to Marvel, he’s a mixture of algae, moss, and other sorts of vegetation and can even compress his mass to fit into small spaces. Gross.
There’s no telling whether or not we’ll see Man-Thing again, although odds are you probably won’t see him hanging with Ms. Marvel anytime soon. Werewolf By Night is a self-contained story and doesn’t fit into the overall plot of the MCU. Unless Marvel plans on bringing these characters back for another Halloween special (and why not?), we don’t have any more information on Jack Russell or Man-Thing’s next appearance.
Milan Polk is an Editorial Assistant for Men’s Health who specializes in entertainment and lifestyle reporting, and has worked for New York Magazine’s Vulture and Chicago Tribune.
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