Carl Shuffler, a mail clerk at a New York television station, is undergoing bizarre experiences. He feels like he's sleepwalking through his own life, while also feeling as if exists in a monstrous form. As he delivers mail to a newsanchor and her producer, brief contact causes her arm and his hands to burst into flame. Panicking, he flees the building.
Elsewhere, Spider-Man sits on the side of a building contemplating the odd missions he'd recently taken on. Falling debris gets his attention, and he swings up to the roof, where a messenger waits for him, offering his employer's business card labeled, "The Authority".
Meanwhile, in the surveillance chamber that is the lair of the man who calls himself the Authority, he exhorts his minions to gather a variety of data for him to assimilate. Assembling certain bits of his assistants' analyses, he concludes that Asgardian Norn Stones have fallen to Earth, making "stone-bearers" of Carl Shuffler and the Man-Thing, scrambling their personas in the process.
Unable to get a hold of their selves, both Carl and the Man-Thing, who somehow has gotten to New York, each try to make their way home.
Going to the address given to him, Spider-Man bursts in and finds the Authority waiting for him. He tells Spidey he must undertake a new mission in order to prevent the deaths of millions.
Meanwhile, the newsanchor, Tippi, visits the home of Carl Shuffler. Carl, unable to handle the wave of emotions from his nagging wife and the concerned Tippi, leaps out a window and onto the streets, where he somehow transforms into the Man-Thing. Spider-Man, Mrs. Shuffler and Tippi all converge on the scene. The Wall-Crawler tries to soothe the slime monster, who turns for an apparent attack. But part of the Man-Thing extends a crystal stone, which Spider-Man takes. Carl becomes himself again, fully in his right mind. Spidey, briefly overwhelmed by the power of the stone, drops it and it vanishes.
Observing from his lair, the Authority bemoans the loss of the stone, then considers the new mission for which he has been preparing Spider-Man.