Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Man-Thing #1 Part II

How fragile memory is. John tells me it was at another convenience store, Circle K, and not Pic-n-Pac, that we got the comic, and that he bought it, not Pop. But he agrees that the general observations on the communal nature of our property were pretty accurate. That is, I suppose, one of the functions of the recovery of the material objects of the past--to check your memory against a reality. But to go on...

The story starts in the swamp, where the Schist Corporation's efforts to build over it are disrupted by the efforts of the Man-Thing, a horde of demons who have appeared to try to destroy the muck monster, and the appearance of Korrek the Barbarian and Howard the Duck. After a brief and futile struggle, Dakimh the Enchanter appears, whisks the demons away in a whirlwind, then tells Man-Thing, Korrek, and Howard that he has summoned them for an important task. They vanish, and the construction workers who have witnessed the whole thing vow never to speak of it again.

The scene changes to the Congress of Realities, a group of ambitious beings from all planes of existence who, under the leadership of someone called the Overmaster (who looks like a businessman with suit and briefcase) aspire to godhood--the total control of all realities. They are preparing to execute Jennifer Kale, Dakimh's fetching blond apprentice, when she suddenly seems to turn to water and pours through the floor.

It is but a spell of Dakimh's to transport her back to his Castle Between Night and Day. He explains that the Overmaster has put the cosmic balance out of whack, collapsing various realities together, to open a way to the plane of Therea, where he plans to destroy the gods and take over. The little group head to the Nexus of Reality, hoping to restore the balance, but along the way Howard plunges off an airy path. They think he is dead, but we all know now he was really only on his way to his own franchise. The rest reach the Nexus, but before they can do anything the Overmaster and his hordes break through and head into Therea.

The Overmaster heads for a gleaming palace where he believes the gods to be, and Dakimh's little band chase him. They confront him at the palace's moat, and the Overmaster gloating reveals himself to be the Netherspawn. Dakimh sics the Man-Thing on him, whose regenerative powers and psychic opposition to evil and fear make him the perfect nemesis. A battle royale ensues, with Manny finally flinging the Netherspawn into the pure holy waters of the Therean moat, which quenches the demon's power. His horde flees in panic.

The little band gathers back together, and Korrek and Jennifer wonder why the gods never tried to protect the palace themselves. Dakimh says they were never in the palace, and that they mistake the nature of the gods of Therea. He leads them to a nearby cottage where a peasant couple and their dogs are leading a peaceful, natural existence. Jennifer says it's too weird that a couple of peasants are the gods in charge of reality. But Dakimh reveals it is the dogs who are the gods.

Man-Thing, attracted by their goodness, leans forward to pat them. In that instant the "gods" transport them back to their different realities, passing through every point in space to do so. With a better understanding of their place in the universe, the humans go about their business with a renewed sense of peace and awe. The Man-Thing merely wanders back into the swamp, soon forgetting everything that has occurred.

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