Monday, September 14, 2009
1984 – Machine Man miniseries
Machine Man 4 issue miniseries
Writer: Tom DeFalco (issue # co-plotted by Barry Windsor-Smith)
Artist(s): HerbTrimpe (breakdowns) and Barry Windsor-Smith (finished art)
Jack Kirby’s creation, Machine Man, first appeared in the movie tie-in 2001: A Space Odyssey #8. Machine Man earned his own series in early 1978, but it would be canceled after 19 issues. All you really need to know is that Machine Man is the only survivor of a secret US military robot project. Machine Man eluded the US military and did he best to become human, which were his creator’s final words who had died saving him.
This limited series takes place in a distopian, corporate future, where a group of technology raiders, known as the "Midnight Wreckers" recover the disassembled remains of Machine Man from a Baintronics dump. They reassemble him and reactivate Machine Man. He makes an immediate impact helping defeat the Baintronics agents sent to capture the Wreckers. Machine Man finds his older partner Gears Gavin alive and leading the raiders against Baintronics. Machine Man joins their cause and confronts Sunset Bain, who pits Arno Stark, the Iron Man of 2020 after him. Machine Man defeats Stark and forces Bain to capitulate. He discovers that Jocasta is still alive, but serving Bain.
The future in which this story takes place has not been set as the “true” Marvel Universe future and should be considered an alternate future. The plot is awkward and had little character development. It seemed like all Machine Man did was react to what was going on around him, rather than take on any kind of role where he would search out for a place in this new world. Machine Man’s quest to become human, or at least accepted as human, was completely ignored.
DeFalco didn’t really handle either of the relationship very well, such as the conflict between Bain and Machine Man or Machine Man and Jocasta. DeFalco also ignores the rest of the Marvel Universe in this future which might have served to liven up the story and add some depths to it. Unfortunately, the new supporting characters are stereotypes and quickly forgotten. This story seemed to have all the proper ingredients, but they just were mixed together and used to their potential.
The finished art by Barry Windsor-Smith is breathtaking and lavish and rises above Trimpe’s stiff breakdowns.