Appearing in "A Simple Twist of... Fate"
Synopsis for "A Simple Twist of... Fate"
The Man-Thing shambles across his homes in the Florida Everglades when suddenly his attention is drawn to a mystical portal that suddenly opens. Emerging from it is the mystic known as Ian Fate. Fate notices the Man-Thing and senses the creature's pain. Feeling sorry for the muck monster, Fate encourages it to follow him while he tells it his story. He tells the Man-Thing how he was a journalist who was devoted to his family until they were killed in a car bomb set by a mercenary as Eric Payne. Seeking revenge, Fate began studying black magic. Eventually, he learned that Payne was operating as the costumed hero known as Devil-Slayer. He used his magical powers to try and destroy his foe but was defeated by his allies the Defenders. Fate explains that he feigned insanity and when Doctor Strange turned him over to a psychiatrist he bided his time until mystical forces are in alignment were in their proper place to use his powers to escape. His thoughts muddled, Ian decides that he will use his power to end the suffering. Seeing a kindred spirit in the Man-Thing he takes the muck monster along with him on his quest to set mankind free.
Meanwhile in New York, at the offices of the Daily Bugle, Peter Parker is selling photos of the elderly for a Daily Bugle piece on the plight of the elderly in the city. While Joe Robertson is impressed with Peter's photos and concept, J. Jonah Jameson is skeptical until he takes a look at the photos himself. Satisfied with the work, Jameson tells Joe to write up Peter a voucher for the shots. Shortly, Peter is walking down the street, completely preoccupied with the amount of money he just made that he doesn't notice a crosswalk changing. Peter is almost hit by a car but his spider-sense warns him quickly enough to allow him to jump out of the way. This is witnessed by many people on the street. Realizing that he is about to blow his secret identity, Peter bolts off before anyone can get a good look at his face. Around the corner, he runs into Ian Fate and the Man-Thing (disguised in clothing). Fate asks Parker where the Daily Bugle building is located and Peter sends them in the right direction. He finds the pair odd, but not all that strange for New York. That is until he sees that the brute accompanying Fate is leaving a trail of slime in his wake. With his spider-sense tingling, Peter decides to check it out. He slips into a nearby restaurant washroom to change into Spider-Man and follow after them.
At that moment, Ian Fate and the Man-Thing are in the Bulge offices looking for J. Jonah Jameson. At first, Jameson brushes off the visitor until he recognizes Ian Fate due to his past career as a reporter and welcomes him in with open arms. When Jonah asks Ian what he can do, Fate asks for help on his latest project. He then uses his magical powers to reveal the Man-Thing's true form, causing the Daily Bugle staff to panic. The collective fear puts the Man-Thing into a frenzy, but Fate protects the Bugle staffers from the Man-Thing's burning touch with mystical shields. It's at this point that Spider-Man arrives and peeks through a nearby window. He is confused seeing the Man-Thing with Ian Fate but decides to wait and see what is going on. Ian asks Jonah to let him use the Daily Bugle's media platform to help ease the suffering in the world, as the medium has brought so much suffering in the past. Jonah wishes he could help but thinks that Ian needs help. He explains that a newspaper reports what is, not what could be and to do what Fate asks would compromise his journalistic integrity.
Seeing this as yet another betrayal, Fate strikes Jameson, prompting Spider-Man to intervene. Fate strikes back with a mystical bolt that the wall-crawler easily dodges. When he fires some webbing at Fate, the villain blocks these with a mystical shield. By this point, Fate's rage has upset the Man-Thing enough for the muck monster to grab him. Ian reacts to this in fear, causing him to burn at the Man-Thing's touch. Not wanting Fate to die, Spider-Man leaps in to try and stop the Man-Thing, but cannot get a good hold on the muck monster. Eventually, Ian passes out from the pain and the Man-Thing turns his attention to the fearful emotions coming from J. Jonah Jameson. Spider-Man leaps at the creature, knocking both of them out of the nearby window. As they fall to the street below, Spider-Man discovers that his hands are stuck within the creature. He finally manages to pull his hands free and stop his fall from a web-line as the Man-Thing strikes the street below. On the ground, Spider-Man watches in a surprise as the Man-Thing reforms and starts to shamble away.
However, the creature becomes a threat again when the people on the street start to react to the monster in fear. Spider-Man leaps in to stop him and the Man-Thing fights back on instinct. As Spider-Man fights a losing battle in the streets, Ian Fate laments over his over his inability to teach people to renounce suffering. Jameson talks sense into his former colleague, pointing out that he isn't the same man that people regarded so highly when he was a reporter, including his late wife and child. What really drives this home is when Ian sees the photos that Peter Parker took and realizes that he has caused great wrongs. First he frees the Daily Bugle staffers and then heads down to the street below to right the wrongs he committed against the Man-Thing. On the streets, the muck-monster has defeated Spider-Man just as the NYPD arrive on the scene. The creature fights back against the cops, but Spider-Man pulls them to safety. He then uses all his remaining strength to fight the Man-Thing, breaking the creature apart as it weakens the longer it is away from its native swamp. Thinking that he destroyed the Man-Thing, Spider-Man watches as Ian Fate teleports the monster away before he passes out from exhaustion. However, the Man-Thing has survived as Fate brought the creature back to its native habitate. Ian is now convinced that he can change the world by using his power to help himself and the Man-Thing himself.
- Ian Fate recounts his origins and his battle with the Defenders in Defenders #104.
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