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King Man (formerly known as Normal Man and Magic Man, or Mysterious Man) is a recurring character in the series Adventure Time. He is a Martian who was banished to Earth for 200 years before the series. As Magic Man, he is the main antagonist of the episodes "Freak City," "Sons of Mars," and various episodes in season 5 and season 6.
Early Life and Madness
Magic Man (his first identity) lived a normal life on Mars with his wife, Margles, and brother, Grob Gob Glob Grod. Even at this point in his life, he was still a reknowned practitioner of magic. The first major step on his descent into madness occured when GOLB, the incarnation of chaotic evil, attacked Mars and took away many martians, including Margles. This devastated Magic Man, who spent an undetermined amount of time trying to find a means to save his wife, even finding a means of reaching Prismo and attempting to wish his wife back, but to no avail. Some time later, he created a planetary defense system in the image of his wife, which he called M.A.R.G.L.E.S. (Magical Automated Resistance Generating Laser Energy Supplier) in her memory, with the specific intent of defending against future GOLB attacks. His brothers were worried about the weapon's stark resemblance to his wife, warning that Magic Man's distress could compromise his magic and, thus, cause issues with the defense system, but he ignored them. He personally brought M.A.R.G.L.E.S to Olympus Mons in order to activate it, but as they reached the summit, he changed his mind and attempted to use her to restore her to life in some desperate capacity. It activated in spite of his arguments, however, and they had a confrontation that led not only to the weapon's destruction, but to severe damage to Magic Man's psyche as well, which was attributed to his jerkiness seen in his future.
Over the next years, he caused immense chaos on his home planet, including animating the martians' shadows and making them attack their hosts, turning water into hair which, when consumed, caused magical baldness (which explained why many of the Martians were bald), and literally throwing everyone under the bus. These acts of madness caused the King of Mars, Abraham Lincoln, to banish Magic Man to Earth in hopes of teaching him to be a better person, as he had before "that night with Margles," even leaving a Martian transporter to transport him back to Mars when he relearned empathy
A Jerk On Earth
He arrived on Earth roughly 200 years before the events of Adventure Time, and he went through those centuries still acting like a jerk and tormenting everyone near him, with his acts ranging from harmless pranks to cruel torture. He was first shown on-screen in "Freak City", where he pretended to be a beggar on the road, before meeting Finn and Jake as they wandered about. He soon revealed his true nature and showed off his twisted magic, including turning a bird inside-out (much to Jake's dismay) and turning Finn into a giant foot. The duo teamed up with other victims of Magic Man's madness to fight him, at which point they realized the lunatic's lesson: that he is, plain and simple, a jerk. However, after they realized this, he proved true to his word and returned them to normal. After Grob Gob Glob Grod's apparent destruction in "Astral Plane", Magic Man attempted to steal his residual powers with help from Betty Grof in "You Forgot Your Floaties". While their minds were connected, Betty bore witness to the reasons behind Magic Man's madness, but a magically shape-shifted Finn and Jake interrupting the process. As a result, Betty wound up receiving the full trifecta of Magic Man's magic, madness, and sadness, while leaving Magic Man as "Normal Man."
In "Normal Man", he used Tiny Manticore to retrieve Glob's floating orb-head from orbit, and he planned to later retrieve the others and send them back to Mars to rule. However, after Tiny Manticore betrayed him and held his brother hostage, Normal Man sought Finn and Jake's aid in rescuing his brother, which they reluctantly gave. Following the rescue, Glob saw Normal Man's recovery and disrupted the transportation process, returning to orbit with Grod, Gob, and Grob, while Normal Man returned to Mars and began to try to help rebuild the civilization and made amends for being a jerk.
At the end of "Skyhooks II", he was seen by Betty Grof, who had been accidentally teleported to Mars due to Ice King accidentally messing up her time travel spell. He was found sitting on the throne that Abraham Lincoln once used, serving as the new ruler of Mars and gaining the new title of "King Man," which was further explored in "Temple of Mars".
In the aforementioned episode, it was revealed that he was trying to cure Betty's obsession with curing the Ice King of the crown's influence. Despite his efforts, Betty's obsession was not cured; in fact, she became only more motivated. She later told him about her plan not just to cure Simon, but to retrieve Margles back from the maw of GOLB.
In the series finale, "Come Along With Me", he and Betty were seen riding a magic carpet and chanting an incantation, with Betty linked to an unconscious Maja via a jumper cable. It was later revealed that they were in the process of summoning GOLB to Ooo in an attempt to harness his raw chaotic energy. After summoning him and seeing the destruction he caused, King Man realized this was a mistake and approached Ice King, hoping that he would get Betty to stop the ritual. In the episode's conclusion, King Man aided BMO is singing a song to defeat (or at least weaken) GOLB through the power of harmony, the opposite of chaos.
After GOLB's defeat, King Man is seen in his office on Mars with a picture of him and Margles placed on his desk.
King Man was a Martian with green skin and a tuft of brown hair on his head. His eyes are white, like the Ice King's. As Magic Man, wore a tattered yellow variant of the typical martian clothing, complete with a wide-brimmed yellow hat, but with mismatched purple and magenta boots, and a red backpack with one orange and one green strap, and a pink blanket attached to the top. While disguised as a beggar, he covered himself with a cloak of rough hide that hid his features. As Normal Man, he wore a blue button-up shirt, light tan pants, and shorter brown-and-black boots. Also, his backpack's straps matched the base color scheme. After becoming King Man, he wore loose robes with a Roman-esque red cape with gold trim over one shoulder, as well as a top hat reminiscent of Abraham Lincoln.
As Magic Man, he was mischievous and cruel, taking pleasure from causing misery to the people around him. This was first shown in "Freak City," where he posed as a homeless man to travelers, begging for food. If someone gave anything to him, he gave them "a mystical magical favor" by turning them into mutated freaks resembling body parts. Other cases of his pranks included forcing Finn and Jake to experience the food chain by turning them into different organisms, injecting Jake with a sleep-inducing substance to send him to Jake World, giving Finn a bag containing tiny figurines of people he knew (which he began obsessively playing with in order to observe their interactions as they gradually grew more depraved), and stealing Jake's sandwich before hiding out in a magic molasses orb..
In spite of his madness, Magic Man freely admitted his wrongdoings and stated that he was a gaudy and jolly soul who was out to teach a "magical life lesson": that he was a jerk. Magic Man demonstrated this when he went out of his way to fight and taunt the freaks so that they can figure out his lesson. He rejected Finn's interpretations that his pranks sent a message about teamwork, confidence, or charity, and returned the freaks to their normal selves only after Finn stated that Magic Man was a jerk and that he should have never helped him to begin with. After this, Magic Man teleported away, find more "sissy do-gooders" to pass his teaching onto.
Magic Man was apathetic and refused to take responsibility for his actions as seen in "Sons of Mars". When Grob Gob Glob Grod came to arrest him for his past crimes, Magic Man avoided capture by trading bodies with Jake, resulting in Finn's brother being taken to Mars and put on trial for his crimes, which he explicitely stated he would not be pardoned for. After Finn demanded that he take them to Mars, Magic Man instead took him to his house, where he showed Finn the martian transport machine. After Jake died, the rest of Magic Man's magic returned to him, and he arrogantly proclaimed that, "[he] wins again, like always!"
In "Time Sandwich", he showed that he enjoys speaking riddles when he traumatized Jake by stealing his perfect sandwich. Magic Man told Jake the only way to get the sandwich back is to decipher his riddle:
When your face shows 7:20,
When green leaves turn brown,
The only way forward is down.
Then, you'll see, the wetter, the better.
When Jake complained it was more word play than riddle, he retorted with clear annoyance. After this, he put himself in a time bubble to slow down the experience of eating it. After many false starts, Jake and friends finally smashed the bubble and attacked Magic Man. Whether he explained the time bubble's weakness due to overconfidence or simply for his amusement is unknown.
Once the magic was transported from his body to Betty's, Normal Man became considerably less jerky, and expressed regret at his past actions, though he was still uncertain as to how to best go about this. After becoming King Man, while he still appeared somewhat regretful, he regained some of the arrogance that he had lost, which could be assumed to be a result of his new position
As Magic Man, he possessed a large amount of magical power. He had demonstrated the ability to teleport and transform objects and creatures with ease. In "All the Little People", Magic Man reveals that he has the ability to bestow sentience upon inanimate objects as seen by the Little People. Magic Man also has the capability to create a large time bubble that can slow down movement and sensations, save for when a person moving through it experiences extreme sorrow.
Despite his abilities, Magic Man never fought or took directly aggressive action against his opponents, taking far more pleasure in making their lives as miserable as possible instead. However, he seemed to be adept at defending himself in combat. He protected himself from Gork's lava blasts by conjuring portals and redirecting them behind him, and he was also able to quickly recover from being punched and launched a great distance by Zap, making a perfect landing. When he changed the freaks back to their normal forms, he appeared to do nothing but lightly clap his hands, suggesting it took little effort. In light of how carefree he was about the fight, can be inferred that the Super Freak wasn't really a challenging opponent for him.
Although he prefered to simply tease and taunt Finn and Jake, Magic Man could have easily posed as one of the greatest antagonists the duo had faced for some time, as he seemed to leave pure chaos in his wake, not thinking twice about turning Finn into a foot or Jake into himself, along with letting Jake die for his crimes on Mars.
Due to interference by Finn in "You Forgot Your Floaties", Magic Man lost his magic powers and insanity to Betty Grof thus turning her into an insane wizard while he was now able to act without the extreme grief and lunacy that had previously plagued him
- "Freak City" (debut)
- "Sons of Mars"
- "Time Sandwich"
- "Food Chain" (no lines)
- "You Forgot Your Floaties"
- "Normal Man"
- "Temple of Mars"
- "Come Along With Me"
Mentioned or pictured
- "Water Park Prank" (credits only)
- "Broke His Crown" (mentioned)
- "Bespoken For" (mentioned and voice recording)
Grob Gob Glob Grod are King Man's older siblings. They banished him to Earth 200 years before the episode "Sons of Mars" for several crimes against the Martians. Although they expressed enmity towards him, Grob Gob Glob Grod still respected him as a brother; as shown when Finn and Jake offered to go after King Man, to which Grob Gob Glob Grod to respond, "I don't want to lose my brother."
In Normal Man, King Man and head of Glob reconcile, with Glob telling King Man he has what it takes to rebuild Mars.
Margles was King Man's wife before the series. In "You Forgot Your Floaties," is revealed that at some point prior to the series, Margles was taken by GOLB. King Man tried desperately to bring her back, even asking Prismo to revive her, but all attempts ended up in failure. He created a defense mechanism called M.A.R.G.L.E.S., who was created based on the original Margles, and said was to be installed at the top of Olympus Mons in order to protect Mars from GOLB. However M.A.R.G.L.E.S was created through King Man's feelings for her (despite his claims that they weren't) and while at the top of Olympus Mon, he tried to dissuade her from fulfilling her duties to escape with him. M.A.R.G.L.E.S went out of control and ended up falling to the ground, presumably to her death.
- In an interview with the creators of the show, it was said that King Man was originally planned to be the guardian of the Dead World testing people to see if they were worthy to be sent there. However, this idea was scrapped.
- King Man was originally going to appear in the episode "Ghost Princess," according to Jesse Moynihan.
- In "Sons of Mars," whenever there is a close up on his hands, he appears to have five fingers, whereas other times he has only four, even when he is morphed as Jake.
- The reason King Man is such a jerk might be that someone he cared a lot about, Margles, fell off the mountain, as seen in the "Sons of Mars" promo art. This would coincide with Betty's theory of Magic, Madness, and Sadness, which claimed all magic-users would become victims of great tragedy that led to insanity.
- Abraham Lincoln specifically states, "I remember when you were really cool. Before that night you spent on Olympus Mons with Margles." This is an actual Martian mountain and the tallest known mountain in our Solar System.
- In "Sons of Mars" King Man sings a short song while in Jake's form, with the line "...And the little people get left behind." This line is alluded to by the title of the episode "All the Little People."
- The hole that King Man emerges from in "All the Little People" bears a striking resemblance to the hole that Ice King, Neptr, Tree Trunks, Shelby, and Lemongrab exit in "Mystery Dungeon." This could mean that the Little People were given life by the Ancient Sleeping Magi of Life Giving who sleeps in the chamber directly below the grassy hatch, as seen at the end of "Mystery Dungeon."
- The quote "Do what thoust will be the whole piece of law." that King Man utters in "All The Little People" is based on Aleister Crowley's Law of Thelema, which is "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law."
- King Man is Jesse Moynihan's favorite character in the series.
- King Man's gender swapped counterpart, Magic Woman, makes a cameo appearance in "The Prince Who Wanted Everything."
- He, along with The Earl of Lemongrab, Lumpy Space Princess, Tiffany, Ricardio, Donny, and Squirrel (The Duke), were pictured in the credits of "Water Park Prank" as one of those who can't return to Wet Pipes Water Park.
- King Man's characterization (with a colorful personality, great apathy, a somewhat demented philosophy regardling life, and a constant smile) and hiss tragic origin are reminiscent of The Killing Joke's incarnation of The Joker, in that he was a normal person until one day his lover died in an accident (a fire, in the Joker's case, whille King Man's was due to GOLB attacking), driving him crazy and down the path of evil while creating with him an extreme sense of nihilism and apathy, figuring that there's no point to anything and taking joy in making others suffer. During the story, he also debates the value of memories and the effect they have on people.
Appearances in other media
- Magic Man is a playable character in Adventure Time Battle Party.
- Magic Man is the main antagonist in the Cartoon Network game Jake's Tough Break, where he casts a spell to make Jake's limbs and head fall off.
- Magic Man appears and is the main antagonist in Issue 15 of the Adventure Time comics.