Tuesday, January 12, 2016

They call him Mister...Mister Machine.


We alluded to this issue some time back: Machine Man (Mister Machine this issue, his second appearance) is very attached to his face. Maybe not the same way you are, but yeah. From 1977, 2001: A Space Odyssey #9, "Mister Machine" Written, edited and drawn by Jack Kirby, letters and inks by Mike Royer.

Captured by the army, the robot X-51 has been thrown into a maximum security cell. He's also had the face his "father" Dr. Stack gave him, forcibly removed; and that's what he's angriest about. X-51 breaks out of his cell, and while he refers to an automated cannon as "brother watch-dog!" X-51 exchanges some surprisingly charged epithets with a guard, as they refer to each other as "that infernal machine" and "flap-jaw." (During his Nextwave days, X-51 would often refer to humans as "fleshy ones.") As the escape leads to battle with the guards, the administrator of the project seemingly relents, and orders X-51 released and his face returned. (And a tracking device surreptitiously placed in X-51.)

Free, and now looking like Aaron Stack, he encounters the mysterious Monolith again, and tells it he won't seek his destiny, it will find him.

I don't think this issue is considered to be Kirby at the peak of his powers, but I find it charming. Aaron is likable, which goes a long way.

3 comments:

Dale Bagwell said...

I've...gotta' check this out honestly. Looks good. Really good, well as good as Kirby was back in the 70's.

But I dig the drama and pathos, the robot man forced to admit he's a robot and not a real man, that twist on Pinocchio...damn. Plus a healthy, but earned, feeling of paranoia, and you're off.....

I swear I don't see why Ellis was the last writer to really do anything meaningful with him....

googum said...

I think this issue may have been his last conflict with the army, and from here on through most of his regular series it was mostly villains who wanted to capture Machine Man, then profit. Somehow. They weren't Kirby's best villains, either; there may have been some loss of focus.

Dale Bagwell said...

I can see that. Either he used up all of his really good ideas, or he was still gun shy in fear of Marvel taking them too, and profiting off them whereas he wouldn't see a dime.