Ephraim eats a plant growing on a gamma bomb that mutates him into a tree-like creature. When he stumbles across the Defenders headquarters, they must destroy him!
Ephraim Soles was a prospector, scavenger and occasional thief who made his living in the deserts of New Mexico. At one point Ephraim entered the grounds of an abandoned military base. He was not aware the grounds had been used to test gamma-bombs. He located plant life within the base and used it to cook his meal. He later reached the Defenders' headquarters at Elijah, New Mexico. The Defenders took him in and offered him clothes and a place to spend the night.
He was within the headquarters when the radioactive plants eaten earlier resulted in a great transformation in him. He was mutated into a plant-like gamma creature. In his new form he went into a mindless rampage. He had superhuman strength and proved invulnerable to telepathy, ice and bioelectricity. His body developed strong tentacles which acted as additional limbs and reformed after every injury. Flowers grew from the tentacles, containing teeth-like organs which attempted to bite others. Those bitten were infected with the same radioactive plants which struggled to take over their own bodies.
While Cloud and Gargoyle seemingly managed to kill Ephraim, the body regenerated. Theorizing the plant creature needed moisture to survive, Iceman used his powers to remove all available moisture from the vicinity of Ephraim. The body finally collapsed and died. Later spores left over from the creature were blown away from the wind, resulting in new mutations.
Meanwhile, Beast continues his college lecture tour.