Back in the Bronze Age, so the story goes, a popular Marvel Comics character considered running for President. No, not Howard the Duck. It was Captain America. Seems like a pretty obvious idea honestly. The symbol for America also in charge of it. At the very least, you could get a good twelve issues out of it. Ultimately, Steve Rogers decided against becoming president which is probably for the best. You can’t throw a shield at communism, folks.
But, our mysteriously egg-shaped Watcher asks this week, what if Cap HAD become president? In a scene that looks like he basically decides to run spur-of-the-moment, Cap declares his plan to run for president as a member of the New Populist Party. I took a couple of seconds to look this up, since I’m Canadian and honestly didn’t know if this was a real thing. It isn’t, far as I can tell. Anyway, at the request of the NPP’s chairman, Sleazy Truman Capote, Cap enters the race.
The excitement of a super hero running for president takes the world by storm, as noted ever loving blue eyed political commentator, the Thing shows his support for Cap. Meanwhile, local newpaper editor and loud person, J Jonah Jameson takes a negative stance. I can only assume he fears this would result in Spider-Man for mayor. (Luckily, this is not to be. The idea of Spider-Man at a desk job is too chilling to imagine.)
Cap selects his running mate, African-American Andrew Jackson Hawk who does not have time for your bullshit, by the way. The NPP is not thrilled by Cap’s decision but screw those guys, their party doesn’t even exist. Hawk accepts Cap’s offer while the NPP make some ‘hilarious’ political commentary.
Cap soundly defeats presidential hopefuls Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, making this only the second most embarrassing Captain America comic that Reagan has appeared in.* He then umasks, revealing to the world that he is popular comics artist Steve Rogers. Personally, I think it’s a little weird to elect a guy in a mask president but again, I’m Canadian. Things are different up here.
President Cap’s new plans for America take the world by storm. He converts America to solar based energy and weapons, freeing the country from, as a giant immortal spaceman puts it “they tyranny of foreign oil.” And when the South American country of San Pedro’s army of freedom fighters begs the US for help in overthrowing their corrupt government, Cap sends them solar lasers of their very own, winning the war overnight. Which, again, feels a little worrying to me.
As San Pedro celebrates its victory the newly elected president and Che Gueverra impersonator, Jacinto Morez invites President Cap to visit. Cap arrives, sans guards, secret service or… really anyone else. Which turns out to be a real problem when Morez reveals himself to actually be the Red Skull in disguise. Ugh… THAT guy.
The Skull takes Cap out and then threatens America with a solar ray satellite of hate. Luckily for all Americans who do not want to be dead, Cap is able to escape the Skull’s insidious prison by hitting it very hard. He reprograms the satellite’s computer (again, by hitting it.), drawing its deadly heat beam away from Washington, Distinguished Competition. Good news for fans of monuments everywhere.
Less good news is that the beam is now being drawn back to its source. No, not the satellite, that’s ridiculous. It’s headed back to San Pedro where Cap and the Skull duke it out. It vaporizes the two battling presidents, making this the most exciting politics has ever been. Back in America, an army of super heroes gather to mourn at Cap’s grave while the once again Christian Watcher drops a bible quote on us. Oh, Uatu. Always beliving in Jesus.
Next, we have a short story about the Man-Thing. If you’ve never heard of the OTHER muck encrusted mockery of a man with the hilarious name, let the Watcher and I refresh your memory.
Scientist Ted Sallis was working on a version of the Super Soldier Serum that created Captain America when mob guys attacked him. Sallis injected himself with the serum and then drove his car into the swamp because everyone knows mobsters are afraid of swamps. Also it turned out this swamp was the Nexus of the Universe because OF COURSE it is. Anyway, the combination of the super serum, the nexus of the universe and Marvel wanting to write Swamp Thing stories turned Sallis into a big green monster with a weird fly face who sets fire to people who are afraid of him. Simple, right?
So, the number one difference between Man-Thing and Swamp Thing is that, while Swamp Thing would go out into the woods and write poems about his weird sex life, Man-Thing is kind of an idiot. Ted Sallis’ intelligence is pretty much gone. In this story, we explore the question of what if Man-Thing wasn’t an idiot?
Ted Sallis’ old buddy, Doctor Oheimer (Great name there, by the way.) has been working on restoring Sallis’ brain. Unfortunately, at a key moment the FBI shows up to kill everyone. While Oheimer normally dies, in this universe he survives and the FBI offers him a job instead. For some reason.
Manuel-Thing and Ohemier head to a lab in Miami where Ohemier can run his experiments and Man-Thing can be cruel to caged animals in a fake swamp. Meanwhile, some government dude named Bendix plots to steal the soldier serum from Man-Thing and create an army of Men-Things. Because America’s military needs slow moving flamable muck men.
Oheimer continues to work with Man-Thing, restoring his intelligence and teaching him to use the tools of humans like computers, chairs and clip boards. Here we see the Man-Thing in his natural habitat, stealing MP3s.
Little does Oheimer know that, while Man-Thing’s intelligence has returned, Ted Sallis’ humanity has not. The evil Man-Thing plots to return to the Nexus of All Reality and… do the obvious thing to it. Whatever that is.
Meanwhile, Bendix’s evil government types think they have managed to replicate the Soldier Serum. They realize that they also need access to the Nexus of All Reality so they decide to close down Oheimer’s project. They fire Oheimer, set Man-Thing ON fire and ship the whole deal back out to de swamp.
Oheimer is shipped off to a mental institution but Man-Thing escapes and follows the government guys back into the swamp. At one point, he manages to destory one of the government’s jeeps. Luckily, Bendix is an idiot who doesn’t care if his jeeps randomly explode.
The government scientists are happily running tests on some poor alligator when Man-Thing busts in and starts killing dudes. He strangles Bendix to death with some weeds and is about to leave when the alligator, infested with swamp magic, grows arms and legs for some reason. Man-Thing and Manigator fight it out in the swamp but Man-Thing is quickly defeated. For, while his former inhumanity protected him, the newly intelligent Man-Thing knows fear. And whoever knows fear burns at the self-touch of the Man-Thing. Also Manigator becomes the new king of the swamp.
*One time the Serpent Society turned Ronny in a snake monster.