Machine Man 2020 #1
There's a war brewing between Marvel's Machines and Arno Stark, Iron Man of 2020. After the events of Iron Man 2020 #2 sees Mk. I, Tony Stark, failing to infiltrate Baintronics Unlimited, Aaron Stack abandons his post after seeing his lover Jocasta turned into a servant for Sunset Bain and Arno.
As a side story to the Iron Man 2020 event, this book focuses on Aaron Stack as he tries to get the love of his life, Jocasta, back. As was revealed in Iron Man 2020 #2, Jocasta had been reprogrammed to act as a servant to Sunset Bain, owner of Baintronics. At the same time, he must fight against Arno’s re-purposed X-Series robots, the same series that Aaron himself was a part of before they were all discontinued.
For the most part, I enjoyed this as writer, Christos Gage, made numerous references to past Machine Man/Jocasta stories such as their first meeting in Iron Man #168 (1983) and their team-up in Marvel Zombies 3 (2008). Gage does best in selling readers on why Aaron would abandon his post to save Jocasta because he loves her and hates to see that she’s had her free will taken away from her. It’s disgusting and really paints Arno as more of a villain then he thinks he is.
The subplot of Aaron also learning that the rest of his X-Line weren’t destroyed, but reprogrammed to serve Arno, is interesting as he’s fighting for the rights of all robots in the pages of Iron Man 2020. He wants to save all of them, but they fight against him so heavily because they’re being controlled, so he’s left with no other choice but to fight them.
The art for this issue was good, but not exceptional. Andy MacDonald does their best to homage Steve Ditko’s art from the 1970’s – 1980’s Machine Man series with high action set pieces, like Machine Man hanging on to Jocasta’s sky cycle with his extendo-arm and fighting through an army of X-Series bots. However, his style is kinda just okay in that a lot of the action doesn’t have a lot of impact to it.
Some artists will usually put a bubble or lines to indicate when someone’s been hit and that gives the effect that it connected, but MacDonald just shows the act itself. For the most part, it still looks great, but it’s still just a little jarring, especially when Travis Lanham provides such excellent lettering to sell the sounds of attacks.
Dono Sanchez-Almara provides rich and fantastic colors throughout this issue and helps to make this easy to love and look at. Aaron’s beautiful purples make him stand out among the also shiny silvers of the other X-Robots. Everything comes together, especially in how he colors the various backgrounds with proper sky blues, sterile grays for an underground lab and coloring fires with HOT and intense oranges.
I will always support anything Machine Man-related because he’s another one of my favorites in terms of more obscure heroes. Christos Gage obviously has respect for the character by giving him an interesting story thread in trying to win back Jocasta. Andy MacDonald and Dono Sanchez-Almara bring it with the art, even if I don’t find it especially appealing aside from the coloring. Machine Man 2020 #1 does end up being a fun experience, even if it’s going to be a fairly short one.
Machine Man 2020 #1: Aaron Stack in Love
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 7/107/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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