The Nexus of All Realities has been shattered as a result of events of "Heroes Reborn: The Return". In the Everglades, the locus of the Nexus of Earth, the Man-Thing stirs and is compelled to shamble towards the town of Citrusville. As he crosses a road, he is struck by a car carrying the Burke family (Jack, Gwyneth and their adopted son, Job). While Jack watches, the Man-Thing reconstitutes himself and trudges on.
In a Citrusville motel, Ellen Sallis, wife of the scientist who became the Man-Thing, suffers nightmares spawned from her guilt for her betrayal of her husband. At the same time, in his Greenwich Village Sanctum, Dr. Strange discovers the crisis of the damaged Nexus while meditating.
As the Man-Thing enters Citrusville, he encounters Owen Jackson, the town drunk haunted by his guilt at molesting his own daughter years before. The empathic swamp creature, feeling Owen's fear, as well as relief, touches the man's face, burning it. Owen does not shrink from the flames, but instead feels purged of his shame. When the Man-Thing walks away, Sheriff Bobby Fillmore tries to gun the monster down, but to no avail.
In a bar down the street, Ellen drinks, while trying to rebuff the advances of a barfly putting the moves on her. He sees the scars on her face, incurred when Sallis first became the Man-Thing, and when he recoils, Ellen becomes angry, slashing him with a steak knife. He grabs her arm just as the Man-Thing bursts into the diner through the picture window. The swamp beast grabs the man by the throat burning him, then lets him go and turns to face Ellen. Sheriff Fillmore again fires at the Man-Thing with Ellen in the line of fire. The bullets, however, transform into butterflies, thanks to the timely intervention of Dr. Strange.