Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hey, remember M-Tech? Oh, you do not.


Not one of Marvel's most popular attempts at a line of books, no; although to be fair, it wasn't the least popular, either. That's faint praise, just saying it wasn't bad enough to be memorable; and neither Deathlok (not featuring the traditional zombie-like cyborg we know) nor Warlock (not the Adam Warlock version) nor today's book lasted long: X-51, featuring Machine Man.

I had a full run of this at some point, although it only lasted a mere twelve issues. I do believe the sales were remarkably poor, considering Machine Man was coming out of crossovers with the X-Men and Cable; and the book featured guest appearances from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and Mystique, the Vision and the Avengers, and the X-Men. That said, poor X-51 spent a good chunk of his first eight or nine issues controlled by Bastion's Prime Sentinel/Zero Tolerance programming nonsense, which was trying to turn him into a mutant-killer. Worse, his redesign/makeover didn't do him any favors, either: Aaron looked less advanced than he had under Jack Kirby, more like a purple Robocop with no helmet. (This may have been intentional: give him a scary and intimidating design while he turns heel, then a dramatic and heroic redesign when he turns back.
Here, Nightcrawler saves Jubilee, but don't let that put you off the comic...
Through most of the series, Special Agent Jack Kubrick tries to piece together X-51's story; Jack's name being a nod to his creator Jack Kirby and 2001 director Stanley Kubrick. (Remember, whether you call him Mr. Machine, Machine Man, Aaron Stack, or X-51, he first appeared in 2001 #8.) HAL is also name-checked this issue, X-51 #8, "Aftermath" Written by Karl Bollers, art by Joe Bennett and Bob Wiacek. Falling under control of the Sentinel programming, X-51 fights the X-Men, in a story that I believe takes place concurrently with the Apocalypse: the Twelve storyline. This squad, having rescued Wolverine from his role as the Horseman Death, wandered around the outskirts of the rest of that storyline doing their own thing, which I like.

X-51 would get another new look, closer to his old, before the end of the series; but he was also one of the narrators in Earth X at the time, with a completely different look. There, he was transparent and inhuman; and later still he would get probably his most popular design, in Nextwave. Sometimes, these things take a few tries.

3 comments:

Emperor.Kaizer. said...

si X-51 yan? Parang ibang iba ah.

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