“Byte of the Binary Bug!”
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artist: Steve Ditko
A man in a green suit and jet pack breaks into an expensive condo in New York. He goes to an apartment to steal the securities in a safe. The buildings guards try to stop him but are knocked out by gas. Fortunately Machine Man and Dr. Spaulding are there to visit someone. Machine Man manages to drive off the thief but is temporarily disabled by one of the gadgets that the thief has. So the owner comes back and this is the guy they were there to visit. He is very grateful to Machine Man for saving his money. So in gratitude he agrees to give Machine Man a job.
Next day with a new suit he starts his job at Delmar Insurance as an investigator. Later the Binary Bug as the thief calls himself breaks into the insurance company and accesses the computer to find out where the valuables of the companies insured are. He goes and steals millions in diamonds and art. The Binary Bug is actually Joseph Rambo the fired investigator that Machine Man replaced. Rambo wants revenge for being fired and is attempting to drive Delmar Insurance into bankruptcy as well as enrich himself. His next target is Khan of Xanadu.
Khan of Xanadu is a fat guy that goes around in a blimp. Fortunately for him Machine Man figures out that he is the next target of the Binary Bug. The two fight and Binary Bug screws up while not looking and flies into a power line, killing him.
I love this issue. So Machine Man decides to learn more about humans by getting a job. He has some very interesting observations as the cubicles seem very dehumanizing. As someone who worked in a cubicle at insurance companies I can agree with that. He also blows off the office floozy and finds out the man he replaced is the one behind all the robberies. At the end we also find out Khan was the one last issue responsible for trying to destroy Machine Man. He now very much wants to possess Machine Man. A brief subplot involves Senator Brickman still out to use the threat of Machine Man to win the White House. A real offbeat and surprising story to have Machine Man put on a suit and join the daily grind. Plus we get the hint of the future villains that he will face. A very enjoyable issue.