“Computer Love Part 2”
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Andy MacDonald

Hipster Machine Man is confronted by his former girlfriend Jocasta and her new boyfriend X-52 the new Machine Man. They both try to talk Hipster Machine Man out of his free will. That they are there to help him for his own good. Hipster Machine Man is full of rage and they talk about their feelings for a while. Jocasta tries to destroy Hipster Machine Man and the Hipster chops off her head. Then New Machine Man attacks and tears off his arm. Yet Hipster Machine Man uses his free will to shoot his eyes into New Machine Man’s mouth. This distracts him and Hipster Machine Man can disable him. He then takes Jocasta’s head and fights his way out of the building.

“The Leap–!”
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Mike Hawthorne

The Midnight Wreckers are now being attacked by The Artificial Life Army on one side who accuse them of programming robots against their will. The other side are killer Bain-Bots. Some of the robots that are friends manage to convince the ALA that the Wreckers are the good guys. So they join forces against the Bain-Bots. Dr. Bashara who they nickname Brain hacks into the network and disables the bots. He gets some help from a co-worker and the attack is defeated. The ALA decide to give the Wreckers a truce for now and the Wreckers move on to a new base up north.

Oh God what a mess. The main story is just full of endless talking and whining. We get some lecture on the patriarchy forced human gender roles. (Yes this is definitely 2020.) New Machine Man has to apologize for his mansplaining. The whiny Hipster Machine Man somehow comes out on top and the end.

The second story was a bit more interesting. DeFalco understands his characters and the story is alright. Given some more length he could have a decent story. It’s main flaw is the horrible artwork. Apparently it’s true you have to draw the men as feminine and the women as masculine in new Marvel comics. This was definitely not the Machine Man of old. That was quality. This is just depressing. Oh Well, I have a complete collection now. Honestly have no interest in checking out the other comics in this 2020 series. Probably be as depressing as this series was.


“Computer Love Part 1”
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Andy MacDonald

It is 2020 and the robot rebellion is going on. Arno Stark the adopted brother of Tony Stark has joined forces with Sunset Bains and her robot corporation Baintronics. Together they are trying to suppress the free will of artificial intelligences. Aaron Stack X-51 the Machine Man has joined the Artificial Life Army to resist this. His love Jocasta has been taken over by Baintronics obedience code. So he chases her to a secret facility in New Jersey. There he battles the rebuild X series robots that have been rebuild. Machine Man manages to disable the obedience code and the robots have a mass existential crisis. They start fighting themselves. Machine Man then confronts Jocasta who is quite content. He also finds out that there is an X-52 model who claims to be the Machine Man of 2020.

“If They Be Heroes–!”
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Mike Hawthorne

The Midnight Wreckers are salvaging an abandoned Baintronics plant when they are assaulted by security robots. Fortunately a technician monitoring it named Rahman is in sympathy with the A.I rebellion. He disables the robots and drones allowing the Wreckers to escape. They make it back to their HQ where Gears Garvin and Peter Spaulding argue over the wisdom of being involved in stealing circuits. Rahman finds them to join up but the Artificial Life Army shows up because they think the Wreckers are programming robots against their will. Also at the same time Baintronic robots appear.

So they decided to resurrect the world of 2020 for the auspicious year. Mostly with a series of Iron Man titles and two Machine Man titles. Naturally I had to check the Machine Man ones for a complete collection. This is actually a cool idea. Only problem is that it is actually 2020 and Marvel is a dumpster fire of woke shit. First off I didn’t care for the new Machine Man. He looks like some hipster and I hate hipsters. Like any hipster this Machine Man is a whiney and self absorbed little twit. He really seems to be some kind of stalker of Jocasta. Oh and they made the classic Machine Man the bad guy which really disrespects the character.

The backup story was a bit better. Naturally it has the original writer and he does a decent job with it for such a limited space to work with. He brings back the Midnight Wreckers and some favorites like Gears Garvin and Peter Spaulding. My main complaint is that the artwork is horrible. The characters look like mannequins that have their faces gone over by a blowtorch. I’m not too picky when it comes to art but this is just an abomination of art.


Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Barry Windsor-Smith

Machine Man has decided he has had enough of being hunted by Sunset Bain. After the attack on Sanctuary he is going to go to her. His friends try to dissuade him but he manages to find the coordinates to her HQ from a damaged robot mercenary. So he takes off on a flying motorbike. His friends follow him. At the NY HQ he is met by thirty security guards. His friend Slick jumps off his bike and it plows into the security men. Machine Man is really angry as he just wants to talk and didn’t want any killing. So as his friends continue to battle the security troops he takes his bike and flies it into the office of Sunset. There he battles Arno Stark the Iron Man of 2020. He kicks his butt. Then threatens to kill Sunset but Jocasta his old girlfriend intervenes. Senator Brickman decides to commit suicide. We find out Machine Man was just scaring Sunset and not really going to kill her. MM gets a promise that Sunset will leave him and his friends alone. Jocasta will make sure that she follows through. The police arrive and they take off into the sunset.

The final issue comes to a very satisfying conclusion. Machine Man finds out his long lost love Jocasta is still alive and working with Sunset. He has his final confrontation and gets some closure. He reunites with Jocasta and has his moment before riding off into the sunset. This is the first that we find out police are actually around. The first three issues gives you the impression that they didn’t exist and corporations do what they please. Maybe the defund movement is something they correctly envisioned.

This was a blast reading about what they envisioned 2020 almost forty years back. Clearly it was inspired by Blade Runner. I love all the fashion, slang and technology that we were supposed to have now. While most of it is clearly outdated, in reality 1984 just transposed on 2020. I will say that the series holds up after all these years. It is still an enjoyable and fun read as it was back in 1984. Machine Man is shown to have more humanity then many of the humans in the series. Good storytelling never goes out of style.


“Rime of the Ancient Wrecker!”
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artists: Herb Trimpe and Barry Windsor-Smith

Hassle is continuing on to Sanctuary. She suspects that Bain let her escape and thinks the tracking bug was in the floater she stole. So she steals another but the bug was implanted in her ear. Machine Man and the others are taken to Sanctuary. There they find out the Ancient Wrecker is none other that MM’s old friend Gears Garvin. MM finds out that forty years ago someone attacked Gear’s garage. Paul Spaulding was killed and MM and Jocasta were taken. Soon after Bain starting manufacturing robots. He knew she was responsible but couldn’t prove anything. So he started the Wreckers. Hassle arrives but following her is Arlo Stark the Iron Man of 2020 and his robot army. A big fight ensues with MM managing to defeat Iron Man and save the floating city of Sanctuary. He than vows to take the fight to Sunset Bain.

Another exciting issue the this limited series. Machine Man meets his old friend Gears. We learn a little of what happened to Machine Man and his friends. We also have some dramatic moments where Machine Man shows he has human feelings. Arlo Stark apparently is not related to Tony but bought the company and name after his death. Sunset Bain and Ambassador Brickman are real anxious to stop Machine Man and live in constant fear. A cool look at this future world of 2020 with flying motorcycles, floating cities and sonic showers. The character Hassle has short green hair which in all honesty is actually a thing in 2020. Only instead of a badass resistance fighter she most likely would be some kook going through ten year old tweets to expose unwoke behavior. Yes reality can be stranger than fiction.


“If This Be Sanctuary?!”
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artists: Herb Trimpe and Barry Windsor-Smith

Machine Man with the Midnight Wreckers are being chased by Baintronic robots. Thanks to Machine Man’s quick thinking he manages to save his friends and destroy the Bainies. Only they lose their skippers in the process and must take the subway. Only $14.37 a person. At Baintronics Sunset Bains is visited by Brickman the former senator who was MM’s nemesis back in the seventies. He is a former ambassador to the UN. They hire Arno Stark the new Iron Man of 2020.

MM and the wreckers visit their underworld contact a fat man named Broadoni. He runs a video parlor that caters to Vidiots. People who are addicted to video games and can be plugged directly into them. Broadoni though has set them up and they have to fight through security robots. Hassle one of the Wreckers stays behind to cover the others escape. Brain the smart guy has to disable MM with his tech to stop him from going back to rescue Hassle. The Wreckers take Broadoni’s jetcar and head to Canada and the Wrecker Sanctuary. When they arrive they find themselves captured in a net. Hassle meanwhile is taken to Baintronics and tortured for the location of Sanctuary. Bain decides it isn’t working and has her taken away. Only Hassle manages to grab a pistol and blast her way to the roof. There is a convenient flying car that she can use. She thinks it’s too easy and she is right. It is a plan by Arno Stark to have her lead them to Sanctuary.

The second book was a real fun treat. I love reading what they thought this time would look like. Obviously all futures are based on the present. So we have video game addiction which was probably something new back in the eighties. Also when Machine Man is disabled by Brain’s disc he starts to babble out old TV commercial jingles from the time. I actually do remember them and this brings back some memories. Oh and think about the inflation they envisioned with $14.37 tickets for a subway. I love reading these retro futures while living in that future.


“He Lives Again!”
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artists: Herb Trimpe & Barry Windsor-Smith

It is September 23, 2020 and a robot is scanning for obsolete stock in a warehouse. It comes on a box without a magnetic tape to identify it and decides its obsolete. The box gets dumped in the Baintronics landfill. There four young people who are Midnight Wreckers are scavenging for parts. The Midnight Wreckers deal in black market robots in this far future world. After fighting the Bainies, the robot security guards, they take the box to their hideout in New York city in an abandoned McDonalds.

They find an old robot that they put together. The robot has a personality and claims to be Machine Man. Machine Man fills in his rescuers who he is and his past. He has no memory of how he got put in the box way back in the seventies. The Midnight Wreckers tell him of the world. That his arch enemy Madame Menace or Sunset Bains controls the corporation with a monopoly on robots. The group is attacked by Bainies including a deadly C-28 Death-Dealer. Machine Man manages to defeat the C-28 by using his body as a conductor of energy to overload the robot’s circuits. The others manage to take out the security robots and their human handlers. The group flee with Machine Man wondering about his fate.

Back in the eighties Marvel released a number of limited series of more obscure characters. Their best was this Machine Man limited series. DeFalco returned and gave us this fascinating story of a future cyberpunk 2020. A sort of Blade Runner type future with flying cars, robots and evil omnipotent corporations. I remember that 2020 seemed so far away when I read this as a kid. Now the magical date when this story took place is less than a week in the past. So did they get it right. Well no flying cars or robots although there are omnipotent corporations around. Actually I think I would prefer the world they envisioned instead of the one we have right now. I guess the future isn’t what it was supposed to be.


“Jolted by Jack O’ Lantern!”
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Steve Ditko

Machine Man goes to Gears Garvin to get his facemask fixed. He also is upset that he went berserk over the damage and wonders if his sanity is in danger. Meanwhile a ruthless mercenary called Jack O’ Lantern is recruiting lowlifes for his gang. Gears manages to fix the mask and MM is able to go back to work at Delmar Insurance. While there he gets his first assignment. The company is selling advanced super-embassies capable of repelling any terrorist attack. MM along with his coworkers will attend a Halloween party to sell to world governments.

While at the party MM sees a known hood taking pictures. He follows the man to his HQ and meeting with Jack O’ Lantern. MM doesn’t want to get in a fight because he is afraid he will lose control again. Only his 850lb body falls through the ceiling. A fight ensues and MM manages to kick some butt but gets his face damaged again by Jack O’ Lantern. So he goes to the embassy party with his machine face as the costume. Meanwhile Jack O’ Lantern and his henchmen easily get into the party. He bought an invitation from a banana republic. His men proceed to take over the super-embassy but MM once again foils his plot. At the end he decides to take a leave of absence from his job.

Well the cover says it all. This is the last issue. It was a fun issue. DeFalco explores a lot of the issues that Kirby originally did. MM is afraid of going nuts like the other models. People are still afraid of him even though he saved their lives. Jack O’ Lantern is a kooky over the top villain that I loved. This was a solid issue that ended the series well. Now I don’t know about some future appearances in other titles but Machine Man did return in his own series as we will see later.


“Alone Against Alpha Flight!”
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Steve Ditko

Machine Man has defeated Madame Menace but is unsure it she is still alive. He goes to her old hideout and finds her goons cleaning out the place. He easily kicks their asses but does get his leg damaged by a sonic rifle. Unknown to him Madame Menace has watched by a hidden camera and knows of his vulnerability to sonic weapons. So she sets a trap for him by placing an ad in the Daily Bugle. Meanwhile Senator Brickman’s campaign for the Presidency is falling apart because of his obsession with destroying Machine Man. He decides to frame Machine Man by sending an anonymous message to the Canadian government that MM was responsible for sending the Hulk to Canada. So Department M code named Alpha Flight sends North Star, Aurora and Sasquatch to bring MM back.

MM meanwhile has to deal with his two best friends Gears Garvin and Peter Spaulding always fighting each other. He also has problems at work. Anyway he is off to the obvious trap set by Madame Menace when Sasquatch attacks him. After a fight he manages to evade him and go to the trap. It is sprung and the mercenaries hired are completely inept. So the sonic weapon manages to disable MM. At this time the three members of Alpha Flight come to the rescue. MM manages to destroy the sonic weapon by detaching his head. Only it is damaged and this causes MM to lose it. He beats senseless Sasquatch before coming to his senses. He takes off and Alpha Flight finds out that Senator Brickman was using them. The senator’s plot is exposed and his political career is finished.

I have to say that DeFalco knows how to pack in a story. There is a whole lot of things going on. We get another Marvel crossover in three members of Alpha Flight. They get involved because of Senator Brickman who gets exposed and completely sees his chances for the White House disappear. Then there is Madame Menace who is shaping up to be a regular villain for MM. Ad to this MM going all postal after having his face damaged. This was a really fun issue loaded with many different story points and I loved it.


“Arms and the Robot!”
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Steve Ditko

Machine Man has lost his arm while saving Pamela Quinn. He has little time to look for it as some of the Satan Squad are still causing trouble. Using this distraction a petty hood takes the arm to a secret organization. Sunset Baines a rich socialite is secretly Madame Menace an arms dealer to the criminal underworld. She buys the arm from the hood and uses it to lure Machine Man into a trap. Machine Man has an adventure looking around a seedy bar disguised in a trench coat and dark glasses. He starts a fight and than goes to his friend Gears Gavin. Gears fashions a temporary arm that can track his missing arm. He does and falls into Madame Menace’s trap. She goes off to sell his arm to the anarchist terrorist Zarkoff. Machine Man manages to escape and track her down. He finds her on Zarkoff’s ship and a fight ensues where Zarkoff detonates a hidden explosive. Machine Man manages to rescue his arm and wonders if Madame Menace survived.

DeFalco crafts another fun and fast paced story with plenty of interesting characters. Madame Menace is an excellent villain for MM. We also get a look into the complex life of MM. Pamela Quinn the potential love interest is scared of MM but very interested in his alter ego Aaron Stack. Aaron Stack has feelings but because of his commitments as MM has to refuse a date with Pamela. His two best friends Peter Spaulding and Gears Gavin hate each other. MM has also watched too much movies for his disguise stands out in the seedy bar. A fun issue filled with secret criminal organizations, terrorists and human drama.


“Baron Brimstone and the Sinister Satan Squad!”
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Steve Ditko

Machine Man is at the Chem-Solar Corporation as insurance investigator Aaron Stack. While there Baron Brimstone pops in using his magic to steal the Sol-Mac an advanced solar fueled microwave device that shoots a powerful beam. Machine Man tries to stop him but the Baron uses the Sol-Mac and severely damages him. So Machine Man goes to his new friend Gears Gavin the mechanical genius. Gears uses his old wedding rings from a time he was going to get married to coat Machine Man’s critical parts with gold and shield them from the Sol-Mac.

Baron Brimstone and his two henchmen Hammer Harrison and Snake Marston recruit some more criminal thugs. They form the Satan Squad and steal components so Brimstone can mass produce the Sol-Mac. A woman that Machine Man works with at the insurance company has managed to make contact with one of the thugs in the Satan Squad. Pamela Quinn unfortunately is discovered by Brimstone and taken captive. Machine Man eventually tracks down the squad and gives them a good ass kicking. Brimstone in his helicopter throws out the captive Pamela. MM detaches his arm which catches her and uses it’s gravity nullifying powers to safely lower her to the ground. Than Machine Man manages to capture the Baron but finds at the end his arm used to save Pamela is missing.

Well another goofy adventure of Machine Man. This time he gets a super goofy villain and his henchmen who are way over the top. Some interesting developments are Gears Gavin who is becoming MM’s friend and go to guy to get fixed up. I love his explanation for having wedding rings. He was going to get married but his fiancee left him when he spend too much money on his motorcycle. He thinks it was a good deal as the woman is now on her third marriage but he still has the bike. Also the other is an introduction to a possible love interest for Machine Man. I am enjoying the direction that DeFalco is taking this title.