- Do not speak to the Plant Man of power! Mine was the genius that gave the semblance of life to unthinking plant tissue! There can be no greater power than that!
- -- Plantman src
Samuel Smithers, a.k.a Plantman, was born in London and was orphaned at very young age. At some point during his childhood, he left the orphanage he was raised in. He went to work as a lab assistant to a well-known London botanist who was exploring the low-order mental activity of plant life. After ten years, the botanist died and Samuel came to the U.S., in hopes of continuing his work: an invention to make plant life smart enough for human beings to speak with and understand
He did not have the proper education needed so Smithers went to work as a gardener in Glenville, Long Island, New York. He worked for Mr. Evans, who eventually fired him because he was spending more time working on his invention than gardening. Not long after, lightning struck his plant ray gun, giving it the power to control and animate all plant life. It was revealed later that this incident occurred because of the intervention of the plant-like race H'ylthri from the mystical city of K'un-Lun.
He made a disguise and called himself Plantman. Smithers then thought out a suitable revenge for his former boss Mr. Evans, framing him for robbery. However, Evans' daughter Dorrie was dating the Human Torch, who thwarted Plantman and cleared Evans' name. Even though the Human Torch destroyed Plantman's ray gun, Smithers escaped.
He then created another ray gun, even stronger than his first. He challenged the Human Torch to a duel in the botanical garden, but was defeated and taken to prison. Smithers allied himself with the Maggia and other super-powered criminals and unsuccessfully fought the X-Men, as well as Captain America (and his partner the Falcon).
Later, he, along with the Porcupine and the Eel attended the Celestial Mind Control Movement established by Nebulon in the hopes of turning around their failing criminal careers. Smithers quickly left, as he thought that the movement was nothing more than a fraud. He devised a plan to kidnap millionaire Kyle Richmond, who was in hospital recuperating from brain surgery, and ransom him for fifty million dollars. He was opposed by Richmond's teammates, the Defenders, and was soon forced to retreat. He decided that he couldn't do it alone and returned to the Celestial Mind Control headquarters. When he saw his friends who were brainwashed by the movement, he changed his mind and wanted to leave. This time, however, Nebulon blasted him unconscious.
Smithers later branched out on his own to become the mastermind of a larger criminal operation. He developed his "Pretty Poison" which he field tested on his longtime nemesis Captain America. The toxin placed the Captain in a debilitating, life threatening coma. The Falcon and Spider-Man were able to track down and defeat Plant Man, acquiring and administering the antidote just prior to Captain America succumbing to the poison's effect. Plantman also clashed at various times with the Micronauts, the Avengers, Alpha Flight, Hawkeye, the Fantastic Four, and the She-Hulk, amongst others.
Smithers more closely allied with the H'ylthri when he worked with their representative Sssesthugar. The two worked to bring the H'ylthri to Earth to conquer mankind and set up their species as the dominant new world order. However, Smithers was betrayed by the H'ylthri and left for dead. He gave his ray gun to Namorita who was able to use it and stop the H'ylthri invasion.
Smithers joined a new team of Thunderbolts, led by Hawkeye, and took the name "Blackheath."
When the Thunderbolts confronted the Crimson Cowl, Smithers was captured and experimented upon to reveal the secrets of the bio-toxin in his body. During this procedure, Smithers' spirit connected with the energy field, the so-called Verdant Green, the embodiment of the Earth's biosphere. The Verdant Green pointed out that Smithers could release the toxin, removing humanity from the biosphere and allowing the plants to flourish as in its pre-industrial days. Instead, Smithers chose to release an antidote for the toxin into the atmosphere and appeared to die in the attempt.
The Thunderbolts ultimately defeated the Cowl and her Masters of Evil, but they were confronted by the Elite Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. who wanted the remains of Blackheath's body. Finally, Smithers was able to revive himself by absorbing the moisture from the villain Hydro-Man, leaving Hydro-Man desiccated. The Thunderbolts were aided against S.H.I.E.L.D. by the arrival of Citizen V, who needed the team's immediate help with his agency's ship -- the engines of which were made of alien technology that had begun distorting, threatening to suck the Earth into the null space of a white hole. In so doing, the Thunderbolts encountered the original Thunderbolts, who emerged from the void after severing the alien ship's presence from where they had been trapped on Counter-Earth. The two teams of Thunderbolts combined forces to plug the void and shunt the alien ship from Earth, similar to the manner in which Baron Zemo's team stopped the threat on Counter-Earth.
After much discussion, most of the costumed heroes and villains chose to part ways. Smithers elected to join the Thunderbolts, hoping that their new mission, to rule the world in order to save it, would closely match his own goals of protecting the Verdant Green from humans. He increasingly began to lose touch with his humanity, becoming more motivated by his connection to the Green.
After a battle with Moonstone where the Thunderbolts and Avengers teamed up, the members of the Thunderbolts agreed to go their separate ways, and Smithers agreed to return to prison, hoping to reconnect with his human nature that he felt he was slowly losing.
During the AXIS storyline, Plantman appeared as a giant plant monster and attacked Los Angeles to get back at the humans for polluting the world. When a group of Avengers attacked, they turned on each other due to the influence of Red Onslaught. Plantman was defeated by Iron Man.
|Power Grid |
Plant Manipulation: As Blackheath, Samuel Smithers' body seems completely composed of vegetable matter, allowing him superhuman strength and resistance to injury. He can also alter his shape and elongate his body. He is capable of mentally communicating with the Verdant Green, the psychic embodiment of Earth's biosphere, and he can mentally command plant and vegetable matter.
Despite his lack of formal education, Smithers is a brilliant botanist, biochemist, and inventor.
Formerly: Normal strength, average male that partakes in minimal regular exercise.
The Plantman would also use a unique humanoid plant life of his own creation called “simuloids,” creatures capable of mimicking human life and possessing rudimentary artificial intelligence. (Many times he has fooled the authorities or escaped capture by using a plant-duplicate of himself. Another simulacra even developed its own identity as Terraformer.) He has created armies of such plant-life, including at least one 100-foot tall tree-man. Moreover, he would equip these simuloids and personal duplicates with weaponry that could launch poisoned thorns or spores.
Plant Ray Gun (formerly):
A ray gun that was invented by Smithers that could increase the intelligence of plants. This was altered by what he assumed was a freak accident which allowed him to control the plants. The original was destroyed during his battle with the Human Torch. 
As Blackheath, Smithers carries no weapons. As Plantman, he would often employ guns that fired a “vege-ray,” a type of unique energies that could stimulate rampant plant growth and animate plants according to his whims. These plants could remain under his control for hours. At one point, he also added wrist-mounted blasters which would fire razor-sharp thorns at this opponents.
- 82 Appearances of Samuel Smithers (Earth-616)
- 1 Minor Appearances of Samuel Smithers (Earth-616)
- Media Samuel Smithers (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 19 Images featuring Samuel Smithers (Earth-616)
- 4 Quotations by or about Samuel Smithers (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Samuel Smithers (Earth-616)
- Plantman at the Marvel Directory
- Plantman at the Marvel Appendix
- CRIME WAVE
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- ↑ Thunderbolts #67
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Strange Tales #113
- ↑ Namor the Sub-Mariner #24
- ↑ Strange Tales #121
- ↑ X-Men #22-23
- ↑ Captain America #159
- ↑ Defenders #36
- ↑ Defenders #37
- ↑ Marvel Team-Up #71
- ↑ Micronauts #21
- ↑ Avengers #231
- ↑ Alpha Flight #121
- ↑ Solo Avengers #19
- ↑ Fantastic Four #335
- ↑ Sensational She-Hulk #24
- ↑ Namor the Sub-Mariner #25
- ↑ Thunderbolts #65-75
- ↑ Thunderbolts #75
- ↑ Avengers/Thunderbolts #1-6
- ↑ Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #1
- ↑ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 9
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