MACHINE MAN #12

“Where Walk the Gods!”
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artist: Steve Ditko

Machine Man is out patrolling New York when he comes on an old woman being mugged. He saves her but the old hag is scarred of Machine Man. He doesn’t have much time to waste with her for there is another incident. This time a car hits a man and drives off. Machine Man captures the driver and finds out he was hired to run over the guy. Well soon there is a shot and Machine Man finds a young boy over his father. Machine Man captures the man and finds out he was hired to kill this guy. This is the last straw and Machine Man just goes nuts. He releases bolts of energy. One hits a chemical lab in a building and blows it up. The five inhabitants are transformed into some other beings.

So in Machine Man’s rage he is about to kill the assassin when these beings he changed come and stop him. They have been transformed into some higher beings that can see the future. They debate whether Machine Man should be disassembled or allowed to continue on. Machine Man is just real bitter about humanity but the young boy of the man he saved speaks on his behalf. He is grateful for Machine Man saving his father and doesn’t want to kill the would be murderer. This brings Machine Man out of his anger and he realizes that there is good in humanity. The beings he created pardon Machine Man and go out into the stars.

Wow was this a heavy issue. First Machine Man is just hip deep in people trying to kill others. Sound like how New York is nowadays. He stops a car and magnetizes a manhole cover to get one of the assassins. He saves a man and gets real angry about the whole human race. He even contemplates murder. Oh and his accidental bolt of energy turns some people into godlike beings. This was a fun and interesting issue. Very heavy on philosophy and exploring Machine Man’s own humanity.

MACHINE MAN #11

“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.

MACHINE MAN #10

“Renewal!”
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artist: Steve Ditko

Machine Man has been seriously injured fighting the Hulk. Dr. Broadhurst and Spaulding take him to a lab in New York to work on. Broadhurst manages to fix Machine Man but has to alter his systems. He no longer has the weapons like a flame thrower and laser gun. Machine Man is disturbed that this being was so easily altered and goes off alone to think. While alone a holographic message from his father Abel is activated. Abel tells Machine Man that he knew that some day his systems would cause him trouble. Yet he knew that Machine Man would find friends to help him out. He also says that his programming can never be tampered with and he loves him.

Soon after Machine Man is attacked by a jet. He captures the pilot but the pilot uses a sonic gun to knock him out. While unconscious Senator Blackburn, Colonel Kragg, Spaulding and Blackburn come on him. A rockslide traps them but Machine Man manages to free them. Everyone is grateful except Senator Blackburn who has an unreasoning hatred of Machine Man and vows to destroy him.

So after a brief hiatus Machine Man is back. With a new writer and artist. Both are accomplished and well respected and so far I love the new look. First Machine Man has been stripped of his weapons which makes him not so overpowering. Yet he has powers as he proved in taking out the jet and rescuing his friends. We also get a look at his father who sacrificed his life to remove the government bomb in him. There are friends for Machine Man in Drs. Spaulding and Blackburn as well as Colonel Kragg. Also enemies in the opportunistic Senator Blackburn and some mysterious organization that has jets. It is great to see Machine Man back and in capable hands.

MACHINE MAN #9

“In Final Battle!”
Writer and Artist: Jack Kirby

Machine Man surprises everyone by showing up at the military base. They thought he was destroyed in the A-bomb blast. Machine Man used his rocket boots to tunnel into the ground and escape. So after the introductions he has some time to play baseball with the soldier then its off to a meeting with a lawyer. The lawyer Miles Baker suggests that Machine Man disarm his weapons systems to show he is no threat to the public. Only Miles Baker is actually Konik an operative for the Corporation. Even with his systems shut off Machine Man can still easily disarm Konik. Konik escapes using his monocle to start a fire and run to a waiting helicopter. There he plots his next moves as Machine Man also wonders what the future holds.

So this is the last issue that Jack Kirby would do. He had commitments to do the Fantastic Four Saturday cartoon. I remember that show and it was awesome. Machine Man was put on temporary hiatus but would appear as a guest in the Incredible Hulk. This was a good issue. It managed to end with a positive note. Machine Man is more and more being accepted by people. Colonel Kragg is actually an admirer. He can play around with the troops. He also has this evil criminal syndicate the Corporation out to get him. Kirby gave us a very human Machine Man before he left. Needless to say the sales were strong and he would be back in a few months.

MACHINE MAN #8

“Super-Escape”
Writer and Artist: Jack Kirby

Machine Man is trapped in an old missile silo by a criminal syndicate known as The Corporation. He agrees to surrender if they release Dr. Spaulding. The chief agrees and puts the Doctor on a helicopter for home. Once safely free Machine Man tries to escape but the defenses include an acid gun if he tries to use his magnetic boots to climb out. So Machine Man transfers power from his hand weapon to his rocket boots. Thus he rockets out to freedom.

Only the thugs are waiting outside with sonic weapons and knock out Machine Man. They take him to their secret underground HQ. The plan is the copy him and reproduce others they can sell. Only Machine Man proves more powerful than they expected. He breaks free and with his flamethrower hand melts the sonic cannon. The chief and his lieutenants escape in a pneumatic train as the complex is about to be destroyed by an atomic bomb. Machine Man converts his feet to wheels for the track. He takes off after the thugs. Meanwhile General Kragg in a jet finds the chopper with Dr. Spaulding and rescues him. They continue to search for the Corporation’s HQ and find it just as the nuke goes off.

Another fun issue. Machine Man is really the Swiss army knife of robots. The guy just has all sorts of stuff he can turn into. So funny that the criminals are somewhat upset that Machine Man doesn’t keep his word to cooperate. What do they expect? Their criminals. Criminals with nukes which is just nuts. They knew how to comics back in those days.

MACHINE MAN #7

“With a Nation Against Him!”
Writer and Artist: Jack Kirby

Machine Man is before a Congressional committee to determine his status. He is remanded into the custody of Dr. Spaulding. Outside the mob is hostile but Machine Man uses his extended arm to stop a pickpocket. The crowd then turns to his favor. On the ride home Machine Man and Dr. Spaulding are attacked by a robot called Paratron. Dr. Hiram Girk is out to prove his robot is stronger by destroying Machine Man. Only MM melts Paratron to slag with his flame thrower.

During the night Dr. Spaulding is kidnapped and the kidnappers demand Machine Man surrender himself to save him. So MM surrenders to these guy who take him away in a helicopter. With MM gone the public starts to panic that MM is loose and every bad thing is attributed to him. A sleazy Congressman is using this to further his career. MM is taken to an abandoned missile silo. There he finds out a criminal syndicate is behind the kidnapping. The criminals want to reproduce Machine Men for their own use.

Well this was a fascinating issue. Machine Man gets to defend himself. He has a strange battle with some kooky little guy that built his own robot. His friend Dr. Spaulding is kidnapped by criminals so they can create machine men for their own nefarious uses. I love how Kirby manages to portray the fickleness of people. They easily get swayed one way than the other. Some interesting developments are General Kragg seems more sympathetic to Machine Man. Also the other Congressmen on the panel are willing to give him a fair shake. Only this sleazy one wants to use Machine Man to boost his career. As I said a very fascinating issue.

MACHINE MAN #6

“Quick Trick”
Writer & Artist: Jack Kirby

Machine Man uses his extending eyes to watch as the Autocron invasion fleet enters the solar system. The partygoers that he is with start to annoy him so he leaves. At this time the army has tracked him using the tracker implanted in his head. Only he still manages to elude them and take a taxi. A conversation with the cabbie makes Machine Man realize that there are many people on Earth that deserve to be saved. So he goes and finds Ten-For who has started to go on a rampage. He has a fight that damages his arm. Yet Machine Man uses his hypno power to subdue Ten-For. He than rigs Ten-For as a massive Nova bomb and sends him on his way. Ten-For goes to the Autocron invasion fleet and detonates, destroying the invasion fleet and saving Earth.

I knew that Machine Man would have to come around and be the hero. I nice little scene with the black cabbie and how everybody is basically in the same boat. Has a nice message considering what’s going on at this time. Wow is Machine Man a robot with some incredible powers. He can now hypnotize robots. Also rig them as a massive nuke and destroy entire alien fleets. He also has friends in Dr. Spaulding and the TV reporter he met at the party. So will Machine Man get the respect he deserves. Probably not. We’ll see next issue.

MACHINE MAN #5

“Non-Hero”
Writer and Artist: Jack Kirby

Machine Man fights Ten-For and holds his own. Only the police show up and Ten-For acts like the victim. The police recognize Machine Man is wanted by the army and try to arrest him. This angers Machine Man and he escapes and goes off to sulk. Dr. Spaulding manages to convince General Kragg to give Machine Man amnesty in exchange for his help against the Autocron invasion. Machine Man while sulking on the roof is noticed by the guests of a costume party. They invite him in and he wows them with his various abilities. A woman befriends him and reveals she recognizes Machine Man. In fact there are regular broadcasts on TV of Dr. Spaulding imploring Machine Man to come and help. The woman also tries to convince him to go and help against the invasion. Yet when Machine Man shows her the true face under his human mask she decides that he is not really human and leaves. Machine Man really gets depressed as the Autocron fleet heads toward Earth.

Well as the cover says Machine Man has decided he had enough of all the crap humans are giving him. So he goes off to sulk and watch as the Earth is invaded. A bit of a surprise to see Ten-For actually act meek. I though he was too egotistical for that. A good issue that explores that Machine Man has feeling and emotions just like anyone else. You really empathize with what he is going through. I have a feeling that Machine Man will come through. Otherwise it would be a boring series if he just gives up.

MACHINE MAN #4

“Battle on a very Busy Street”
Writer and Artist: Jack Kirby

Dr. Spaulding with instruction from Machine Man manages to remove the cylinder that Ten-For placed on his head. Machine Man than goes after Ten-For. He first finds that the army have been pretty beaten up. Using his new dimensional powers he transports himself to Central City. There he finds Ten-For tearing up a furniture store. They have a battle and Machine Man using his flame thrower drives Ten-For off. He resolves to use the dimensional powers to transport Ten-For off this world. Only Ten-For has taken hostages and also transmitted Earth’s location so the Autocron fleet can come.

In this issue Kirby does a very good job of exploring the psyche of Machine Man. There is a scene where he has a conversation with his father. Machine Man has the ability to manifest his creators in his own mind. He also wonders why he helps the human race when they are clearly out to destroy him. Yet he continues to do the right thing. Machine Man has some impressive powers and even manages to defeat Ten-For. An enjoyable comic series that thoughtfully explores what it means to be human.

MACHINE MAN #3

“Ten-For, The Mean Machine”
Writer and Artist: Jack Kirby

Machine Man is able to intercept the signal from the alien and communicate with it. The alien gives Machine Man the design to a machine that will open a space-time portal and save him. So Machine Man and Dr. Spaulding try it. They soon find out the machine opens the portal but threatens to suck them in. Seems the alien gave them a device that would trade places and bring the alien to safety while Machine Man and Spaulding would end up on a doomed spaceship. In spite of this Machine Man makes some adjustments and brings the alien successfully to Earth.

The alien is an Autocron named Ten-For. An alien machine man and very arrogant. He tries to kill the human used to connect his signal and knocks out Spaulding when he tries to stop him. At this time the army under Kragg has found Machine Man and attacks with a sonic cannon. They hit Ten-For and he thinks Machine Man has ambushed him. So he attaches a vertigo device that disables Machine Man. He leaves and Dr. Spaulding recovers and tries to remove the vertigo device from Machine Man’s forehead.

This issue sees Machine Man rescue an alien from certain doom. Only this alien, another artificial intelligence, is not a good robot. In fact he’s a total tool. I would have personally not bothered after the incident of almost getting sucked to their doom and Ten-For’s arrogant entitlement. Still Machine Man is the good guy and insists on saving Ten-For. I guess no good deed goes unpunished. So now a dangerous alien robot is loose on Earth. Another exciting issue with more to come.