Can you blame R.L. Stine? He is just doing what he knows how to do. He found success in a niche (one that was quite accidental if you ask him) and has found out that the well really never goes completely dry.
Can you blame Marvel? A New York Times best selling author (one who has sold half a billion books world wide, wrote multiple television shows, and even a big screen movie) has an interest in resurrecting an iconic monster for you. This formula has been successful before.
Can you blame Man-Thing? He's been cast as a C list monster compared to DC's Swamp Thing and even a god damned Toxic Avenger. Hell, he laid the groundwork for their success. Why not try to be relevant again?
But what is the result of all this excellence? Well, it's not really a monster comic... It's a run of the mill comic book that tries to push the humor button too many times.
Dr. Ted Sallis has somehow managed to get his voice back and decided to work as an actor in Hollywood. Carol Danvers is having a film made about her, why not have one made about yourself? The problem is the film doesn't test well. People hate him as a protagonist. They actually vomit in their seats. Poor old Man-Thing will have to find work elsewhere.
Imagine ever trope about Hollywood. You got it? Well, it's in here. From backstabbing producers to the shallow public. It's like all you can do as a sentient monster is walk around the streets of Burbank and daydream about your origin story. So that's what you do.
After we get the standard scientist turns himself into a monster to keep his secret super soldier formula from the hands of army who paid him to make it and from the tattooed thugs (that want to use it for... crime?... I'm gonna say crime), we find out his was a rage filled monster then. But he's not now. He worked hard to be normal...ish. We don't know how or why though. Seems his formal self doesn't like that. So much so, that his formal self seems to have manifested to do battle with him. Yup.
So this is where the comic ends. The fight will continue next month.
I like pulp comics. I like kaiju comics. I like monster comics. All these genres have some weird, magical quality about them that asks you to buy into something that is ridiculous. Part of what makes them work is that they take themselves seriously. In that very seriousness, there is humor.
That is where this R.L. Stine fails in this book. He didn't write a monster comic. He didn't even write a Goosebumps comic. He wrote... something else. If he would have continued on the trajectory that the comic started on, I might have enjoyed it. However, the forced moments of humor and camp became so great that I groaned after ever single absurd remark. That dialog might have worked if you didn't break all pretense of being a monster comic; alas, it just became annoying.
The art of the comic is nice though. German Peralta and Daniel Warren Johnson managed to capture the horror of the Man-Thing. Too bad I didn't really care for the story.
So, no, I can't really recommend this book. Marvel fumbled again. We don't even get the phrase "Whatever knows fear, will burn at the touch of the Man-Thing" inside the actual comic. Maybe it's coming, but I won't be around to find out.
Rating: 5.5/10 Drips on the Carpet