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Quote1.png I can't do this! I've never understood the formula... Because I didn't create it! Quote2.png
Dr. Ted Sallis

Appearing in 1st story

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Synopsis for 1st story

Chapter One: Bad Seed

At the Substratum, the lair of the Hordeculture, Lily Leymus, Edith Scutch, Opal Vetiver, and Augusta Bromes are having an argument with Augusta's niece Harriet, who calls herself "Harrower". The Hordeculture are in disagreement with Harriet's experiment of completely removing humanity from Earth's ecosystem, rather than keeping it at manageable size as the Hordeculture intended to keeping it this way. Also they deeply frown on her decision to use magic - which they perceive as chaotic and unreliable while science is manageable and predictable - to merge plants and animals known as "spellification". Harriet accuses her great-aunt and the Hordeculture are cowards and heatedly argues that managing humanity won't change humanity's behavior, and extermination is the only solution, and thus allowing another species to be in charge of humanity's place in next few billions of years.

Harriet elaborates that the only chance to achieve their goals is the Man-Thing; she sees the tragic transformation of Professor Ted Sallis through the SO-2 Serum and supernatural waters of the Everglades had made him into a god, born of both magic and science. So she intends to build from the Man-Thing's corpse into something stronger than both. Harriet teleports away to continue with her goals and to prove the Hordeculture that she is right. The Hordeculture decide not to stop her, knowing that Harriet won't be sway by their repeated warnings. Instead, they can hope that Harriet's magic will backfire on her and giving her the chance to learn from her mistakes. But if she does end up threatening the biome, Augusta swears that the Hordeculture will stop her.

In the everglades of Citrusville, Man-Thing hears the cries of help from a man. Man-Thing follows the cries to a man, whose half of his body is turned into plant growth. The man panics at the sight of the Man-Thing and saying that a woman wanted him afraid and using him as bait for the Man-Thing. Then without warning roots burst out of the man and instantly kills him. Harriet appears and Man-Thing attacks her. However, Harriet proves herself stronger and sturdy than she looks, and she punches into the Man-Thing and rips out his spine and brain, and causing his body to wilt. All that is left of the Man-Thing is his skin, which Harriet needs for the "harrowing of Earth".

Chapter Two: Slash & Burn

The next morning, several cities worldwide including in Wakanda and Krakoa are populated by massive vegetal growths. Curious onlookers who touches these growths are instantly set on fire. The Avengers are dispatched to investigate these growths. Blade notice a scent of blood magic coming from the growths and Ghostrider detect that it isn't hellish in origin. The growths react to the morning sunlight and releases swarms of gargoyle-like, fungal drones. The drones start to attack people and their touch causes their victim to be set on fire as well. The Avengers battle and slaying the creatures. In Brooklyn, Captain America kills more of the drones alongside She-Hulk until Rogers is suddenly cocooned in vines when he is touched by a stray seed.

Rogers' consciousness is transported to a dreamscape of a swamp where he is attacked by illusions of Nuke, Protocide, William Burnside, and the Anti-Captain America. Rogers is unexpectedly assisted by Professor Ted Sallis and allowing Rogers to overcome the illusions.

Chapter Three: Breathing Fire

The Avengers' battle with the growths worsen as the growths start releasing clouds of spores, causing any human who inhale the spores to combust and coughing out a bigger cloud. Thor is even having trouble to contain the spore clouds through his storms. Black Panther is able to prevent the growth in Wakanda from pollenating by placing a device to block sunlight from reaching the growth. T'Challa is left curious of why the growth is not setting his people on fire before he decide to investigate further in Brooklyn to see Rogers' condition. He analyze the plant growth on Rogers and learns that they show a unique chemical burn associated with the Everglades inhabited by the Man-Thing; thus realizing that the people burning alive are caused by their fears.

Meanwhile, Rogers is introduced to Ted Sallis, who explains that he is all this left of the Man-Thing's consciousness and they are deep inside it. Sallis had been trapped in here with his worst fears (Captain America and his replacements) and unable to control the Man-Thing while he only watch him act on instinct, setting people ablaze because of fear, until Harrower came and tore his flesh from Sallis' soul. The trauma freed him just in time to witness Harrower turning Man-Thing into a doomsday weapon. Rogers' presence in Man-Thing's consciousness is no accident, as the Man-Thing used his last act before he lost control to bring Rogers because of his ties to the SO-2 Serum which was meant to recreate Captain America. Rogers, now learning that Harrower's doomsday weapon is a chemical weapon, ask Sallis if he can stop the growths. But Sallis is very unsure if he can, as whatever Harrower is doing is supernatural and beyond him. Rogers tries to encourage Sallis to regain control of the Man-Thing as he believes that the Man-Thing brought him to help Sallis. But Sallis refutes Rogers' encouragement and telling him that he can't help because he doesn't know how. He elaborates that he wasn't trying to recreate the Super-Soldier Serum to help the world, he was trying to help himself and his family. Lastly, the reason he can't find a way to counteract the SO-2 Serum's effects is because he never understood the formula as he never created it.

Solicit Synopsis

BURN AT THE TOUCH OF THE HARROWER!

Critically acclaimed writer Steve Orlando (Martian Manhunter, Batman, Wonder Woman) makes his Marvel debut with a blockbuster celebration of MAN-THING’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY! For decades, the Man-Thing has haunted the Florida Everglades. Now a new enemy has hijacked his body on a quest to take his incendiary abilities global! We wake to fear as gargantuan monoliths menace cities worldwide, with only the AVENGERS standing between the population of Earth and a planetwide inferno. Can they save Man-Thing in time to douse the fires? And does the man inside the thing, TED SALLIS, even want to be saved? Introducing a sensational new villain, THE HARROWER! PART 1 of 3!

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