Plantman

Plantman is the name of two supervillains in Marvel Comics.

Publication history

The Samuel Smithers version of Plantman first appeared in Strange Tales vol. 1 #113 and was created by Stan Lee, Jerry Siegel (under the alias of Joe Carter), and Dick Ayers. The idea that some of his appearances are simuloids is a retcon not indicated in many of the stories as published.

The Paul version of Plantman first appeared in Astonishing Ant-Man #7 and was created by Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas.

Fictional character biography

Samuel Smithers

Plantman
Plant man
Plantman
Stan Woch, Art
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceStrange Tales vol. 1 #113 (October, 1963)
Created byStan Lee
Jerry Siegel (co-writers)
Dick Ayers (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoSamuel Smithers
Team affiliationsThunderbolts
Maggia
New Enforcers
Lethal Legion
Notable aliasesBlackheath
AbilitiesPlant manipulation
Plant-based weaponry

Growing up as a poor London orphan, Samuel Smithers found refuge and work as a lab assistant with a famous botanist who was researching the intelligence of plant life. After the botanist's death, Smithers traveled to the United States, hoping to pick up where his mentor left off — inventing a device capable of communicating with plants. Smithers was laughed out of the scientific community and could only find work as a gardener. However, a freak lightning storm struck Smithers' plant ray-gun allowing it to control and animate plant life. With his "Vege-ray" and a disguise as Plantman, Smithers wanted revenge on his former employers but was stopped by Human Torch.[1] Plantman does another attempt at revenge, this time on the Human Torch which ended with Plantman ending up arrested.[2] He broke out, however, and traveled to the southwestern United States to grow more plants, this time with his own spliced cells. Here he had partial control, but was also sensitive to the plant's whims. When at one point he thought he had killed Tony Stark, he decided to go directly for world domination, but was foiled by Iron Man.

Count Nefaria broke the Plantman and several others out of prison to serve him as his lieutenants to help bolster his prominence in the Maggia crime family. To this end, Plantman, the original Eel, the original Porcupine, the original Unicorn and the Scarecrow captured the X-Men in an extortion attempt, but the mutants turned the tables on their captors.[3] At least Plantman managed to pilfer technology from the Maggia before his escape. He used this to create a monstrous Leviathan out of animated seaweed to terrorize London. It was stopped by Namor and Triton of the Inhumans, but Plantman managed to escape.[4]

Plantman has often used plant "simuloids" to create duplicates of himself for mercenary endeavors, raising quick cash to continue his research. One of the first known activities of his simuloids was to join his former allies and the original Viper in a crime wave under the command of the Cowled Commander (only to be stopped by Captain America and the Falcon).[5] Another time, a simuloid kidnapped wealthy businessman Kyle Richmond (Nighthawk) for ransom, but Nighthawk's allies in the Defenders helped rescue him, and Nebulon subdued the simuloid.[6] Spider-Man and the Falcon discovered an exotic plant-breeding nursery where they encountered and defeated the caretaking Plantman-simuloid.[7] Another Plantman-simuloid's scheme to rob a bank was thwarted by two of the Micronauts.[8]

Next with an army of 1,000 plant simulacra, the true Plantman captured the President of the United States by taking over an American military base. He attempted to take over S.H.I.E.L.D. using simuloids. The Avengers rescued the President, despite Plantman's army and contending with a 100-foot (30 m) tall Tree-Man and Plantman's escape.[9] Hawkeye and the Orb stumbled upon Plantman's mobile plant-growing factory and he expelled them.[10]

During the Acts of Vengeance storyline, Plantman joined with a group of villains to attack the Fantastic Four.[11] Soon after he tries a solo attack on the Avengers, who are visiting a construction site. He is defeated by the site's employees who fear the battle might destroy their hard work.[12]

During Smithers' subsequent prison sentence in Seagate Federal Penitentiary, he was contacted telepathically by Mentallo, who was being held in a stasis field in the same prison. Mentallo was still capable of using his powers and he used them to orchestrate a break-out of his fellow prisoners, which included the hero Hawkeye (who was serving time for crimes he performed while a member of the Thunderbolts) and Headlok (whom Mentallo had possessed). The criminals, remotely "chained" to one another, escaped as the so-called Chain Gang. The Chain Gang reluctantly agreed to work together to search for a way to survive, deactivate their security manacles, and search for a weapon of great power left behind by the death of the criminal industrialist Justin Hammer. The weapon had come to the attention of Mentallo by Hammer himself before he died, as Hammer awakened Mentallo's powers while he was in the stasis field. Unknown to his associates, Hawkeye was actually working undercover on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ultimately, the Chain Gang was tracked down by Hawkeye's former teammate Songbird, who helped Hawkeye defeat the villains. They discovered that Hammer's legacy was a biological toxin that had been ingested by every single villain who had ever worked for him. Smithers was the carrier. Hawkeye, Songbird, and Smithers began a new search for the trigger that would release Plantman's toxin so that it would not fall into the wrong hands.

The search ended with Hammer's daughter, Justine, who turned out to be the Crimson Cowl, leader of the Masters of Evil. Hawkeye convinced several members of the Masters of Evil to side with him and Songbird against Crimson Cowl and their former allies, pointing out the dangers of the super-weapon, which would either blackmail or kill them. Hoping to throw off suspicion, Hawkeye made the villains reinvent their costumed identities, thus creating a new team of Thunderbolts, and Smithers joined the group as Blackheath.

Beginning with his time in prison, Smithers had noticed that his body was in the process of mutating, drawing him closer to the energy field that he manipulated to control plants. When the Thunderbolts finally confronted the Crimson Cowl, Smithers was captured and experimented upon to reveal the secrets of the bio-toxin. 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.[13]

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 caught up with them and wanted the remains of Blackheath's body. Finally, Smithers was able to revive himself by sucking the moisture from the villain Hydro-Man, leaving Hydro-Man's body desiccated. The Thunderbolts were aided against S.H.I.E.L.D. by the arrival of the true 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.[14]

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, increasingly motivated by his connection to the Green[15]

Blackheath joined the Thunderbolts in many acts of questionable heroism under Zemo's leadership, where the ends justified the means. Zemo's ultimate plan involved the creation of "the Liberator," a device that would drain abnormal uses of energy throughout the world and hopefully reduce global threats, eliminate superhuman terrorism, and stabilize the world's status quo. The Thunderbolts succeeded in launching the Liberator, only to be confronted by the Avengers. Feeling betrayed, Moonstone absorbed the powers the Liberator had harnessed, combining them with her already-increased powers of the moonstone. The Thunderbolts and the Avengers teamed up to defeat Moonstone, ultimately removing the alien gems that gave her her powers.[16]

The members of the Thunderbolts then 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.[17]

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 (a clone of Red Skull with parts of Professor X's brain placed in him). Plantman was defeated by Iron Man.[18]

During the Avengers: Standoff! storyline, Plantman was an inmate of Pleasant Hill, a gated community established by S.H.I.E.L.D.[19]

Paul

A man named Paul used to work as a clerk at a comic book store until his boss fired him stealing comic books with variant covers which he planned to sell to support his gaming hobby. He later attended Power Broker Inc.'s presentation of the Hench X App where Power Broker tests it on Paul. The Hench X App transforms Paul into a new Plantman just as Ant-Man arrives. To further demonstrate the Hench X App, Power Broker has Plantman fight Ant-Man. Due to Plantman's inexperience, Ant-Man managed to have his ants eat Plantman's weaponry before defeating him.[20]

During the Avengers: Standoff! storyline, Plantman was an inmate of Pleasant Hill, a gated community established by S.H.I.E.L.D. Using the powers of Kobik, S.H.I.E.L.D. turned him into an unnamed TV repairman.[21]

Plantman later appears as a member of Baron Helmut Zemo's "New Masters" alongside Firebrand and Flying Tiger. They later encounter Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, Free Spirit and Jack Flag. During the fight, Plantman surrenders peacefully while Free Spirit defeats Firebrand.[22]

Powers and abilities

Originally, the Samuel Smithers version of Plantman used various devices to control plants. He used a chloro-blaster gun which promoted rampant plant growth, a vega-ray gun able to animate any plant, and spore-shooting pistols. He also used large scale cannons able to do what the hand-held chloro-blaster and vega-ray gun would do on a larger scale. Plantman also has the ability to control the movements of his animated plant creatures, called simuloids. Simuloids are humanoid plant life constructs grown from alien spores; they are made of wood and capable of movement and mimicking human life, and are capable of speech and can be programmed as extensively as any hi-tech robot. There are two basic kinds of Simuloids: "Heavies" and "Replicas". Certain Plantman simuloids were programmed with Samuel Smithers' brain patterns to believe they were the original Plantman, thus it is not always clear whether any appearance of Plantman is the actual Plantman. In one instance, a simuloid gained independence to the point that it became a separate, sentient entity, re-christening itself Terraformer and becoming part of the ecological/elemental-themed supervillain team, the Force of Nature.[23] Plantman has extensive knowledge of gardening and an aptitude towards gadgetry.

The Paul version of Plantman can control plants and is also made of plants.

Other versions

Marvel Adventures

Samuel Smithers was a scientist who valued plants over people. Smithers donned a plant armor, and became the supervillain Plantman, battling Iron Man, only to meet defeat.[24] Plantman was also hired to attack Tony Stark, but defeated by a remote controlled Iron Man armor.[25]

In other media

Television

  • The Samuel Smithers version of Plantman appears in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "O Captain, My Captain" voiced by Charlie Adler.[26] He uses an Infinity Fractal to control the plants in the Amazon rainforest causing Captain America's International All-Captains Squad (consisting of Captain America, Captain Australia, Captain Brazil, Captain Britain, Captain Liechtenstein, and Wolverine as Captain Canada) to fight him and his plant army. He was defeated when Wolverine used the reflective glass to direct the sun beams toward the plant army.

References

  1. ^ Strange Tales #113
  2. ^ Strange Tales #121
  3. ^ X-Men #22-23
  4. ^ Sub-Mariner #2-3
  5. ^ Captain America #159
  6. ^ Defenders #36-37
  7. ^ Marvel Team-Up #71
  8. ^ Micronauts Vol. 1 #21
  9. ^ Avengers #231
  10. ^ Solo Avengers #19-20
  11. ^ Fantastic Four #334-336
  12. ^ Avengers Annual #19 (1990)
  13. ^ Thunderbolts #71
  14. ^ Thunderbolts #65-75
  15. ^ Thunderbolts #75
  16. ^ Avengers/Thunderbolts #1-6
  17. ^ Avengers/Thunderbolts #6
  18. ^ Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #1
  19. ^ All-New, All-Different Avengers #8
  20. ^ Astonishing Ant-Man #7
  21. ^ Captain America: Steve Rogers #1
  22. ^ Captain America: Steve Rogers #1
  23. ^ New Warriors #8
  24. ^ Marvel Adventures: Iron Man Vol. 1 #3
  25. ^ Iron Man: Golden Avenger #1
  26. ^ Comics Continuum

External links

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The Eel is an alias used by two fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The first character to take up the identity was Leopold Stryke who first appeared in Strange Tales #112 (October 1963) created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, while his successor, Edward Lavell, first appeared in Power Man and Iron Fist #92 (Apr. 1983). Both Eels were at one point a member of the Serpent Squad even though the character they portray was not actually based on a snake. Neither Eel has ever been featured as a regular character in any of Marvel's ongoing or limited series.

The original Eel, Leopold Stryke, wore a suit that could generate an electrical charge like an Electric eel and was coated with a slippery substance. He was often depicted as a henchman, normally teaming up with other criminals such as Plantman, Porcupine, Scarecrow and Unicorn. He later became a founding member of the Serpent Squad along with his brother Jordan, the original Viper. He even worked for Madame Hydra, unaware that she had killed his brother. Stryke was killed by the Gladiator during a heist.

The second Eel, Edward Lavell, started out as a foe of Power Man and Iron Fist, but later became a general henchman like the original Eel working for Justine Hammer's Masters of Evil and the Maggia. At one point Lavall appeared to have been killed, but later appeared as part of the latest incarnation of the Serpent Squad led by Sin, the daughter of the Red Skull. Subsequently, the Eel became part of "Serpent Solutions", the next incarnation of the Serpent Society.

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Ken Gillanders OAM is an Australian botanist, horticulturist, nurseryman and plantman.

Ken, a nurseryman for over 50 years (now retired), and his wife Lesley started Woodbank Nursery on a bush block in Tasmania. Woodbank Nursery specialized in rare, exotic, unusual and native plants. As their nursery and its reputation grew so did their spectacular gardens containing many rare plants. Ken and Lesley collected seeds in Chile, Ecuador, New Zealand, China, South Africa, and Lesotho. Ken cultivated and propagated many Tasmanian natives including Leatherwood cultivars.

Ken has presented horticultural papers in the UK, Japan and New Zealand. He is co-author of "Know Your Rock Garden Plants and Dwarf Bulbs".In 2002 retirement came, many Australian and overseas collectors were devastated describing the nursery’s closure as a "tragedy". Ken and Lesley stayed on in their garden of botanical treasures and have increased its size to cover over 5 acres (20,000 m2). Nowadays they travel overseas taking photos of plants in flower, instead of collecting seed. The nursery was known as Woodbank Gardens from 2003 to early 2012 and hosted small events on occasions. In early 2012 and Ken and Lesley sold their nursery to another private owner. In June 2004, on the Queen's Birthday, Ken was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for service to Horticulture. Ken is currently the Australian Rhododendron Registrar.

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