Machine Man 2020 #2
With an immense technological threat on its way to Earth, Arno Stark has taken it upon himself to become the Iron Man of 2020 in the wake of his brother’s death and replacement by a Tony Stark AI. This has led him to start a war with AI of the Marvel Universe to combat the threat, but helping to lead this Robot Revolution is none other than Aaron Stack, Machine Man. But after the events of the last issue, will his free will be taken or will his mechanical heart see him through?
This was just a lot of fun mostly.
Christos Gage has a penchant for comedy when writing some characters and making use of Aaron’s characterization from Warren Ellis’ Nextwave really allows him to ham this book up with Machine Man’s anti-human and profanity laced rhetoric. This book succeeds on this merit as well as its ability to give Machine Man the same humanity that made readers fall in love with him so many years ago.
In between every curse, Gage writes Machine Man as a character that stands by the freedom that he’s enjoyed after so many years in the Marvel Universe and the love that he’s gained through his adventures with Jocasta. He argues for the liberation of robotkind in such a way that could inspire readers to side with the Robot Revolution, Mk. I Tony Stark and Aaron himself.
While he does speak with an immense anger and irrationality, Gage makes him come off as being the one in the right as the love of his life, Jocasta and his next generation brother, X-52, support the slavery of Sunset Bain’s Obedience Code, which removes the free will from every AI that it’s programmed into. Aaron argues that while he may have numerous flaws, they are what make him alive.
Andy MacDonald provides the art with colors by Dono Sanchez-Almara. MacDonald does their best to emulate the style of Herb Trimpe in the original Machine Man series (1984) while still making use of their own cartoony style. MacDonald has a lot of detail to his art, especially when Aaron forms his hands into all sorts of deadly appliances and weapons as well as the laboratory backgrounds feeling dark and sterile.
MacDonald’s art also benefits from Sanchez-Almara’s excellent coloring, distinguishing Machine Man through his normal purple colored clothes and the reds of X-52 which mimic the colors worn by the Machine Man of 2020 (1984). Their coloring also accentuates the art by putting a focus on the various silvery metallic gleans, especially on Jocasta and X-52. There’s also a lot of vibrant, almost glowing colors in the form of Aaron’s purple hand blasts and Jocasta’s red eye beams.
Of course, this book also succeeds on the merits of Travis Lanham’s letters and the subtleties of it. Where Aaron has a roundness to his bubble and a lightning bolt for the tail, X-52 and Jocasta differentiate themselves with bubbles that have radio-esque bits that show how they’re being controlled vs. being free. His sound effects are also top notch with static-y, purple-red “SHHZZZ” letters for Jocasta’s eye beams, “REEEEs” for X-52’s sonic blasts and there’s even a NASTY “RRNNCCHH” as the sound for X-52 ripping Aaron’s arms and legs off.
Over all, without spoiling things, this book gets a happy ending and warms my heart as a Machine Man fan. Christos Gage writes the character fantastically well and I would love to see another miniseries from this team, especially with Andy MacDonald on art and Dono Sanchez-Almara on colors. This book was a ton of fun and worth bearing the name of Machine Man for what has proved to be a VERY good event so far.
Machine Man 2020 #2: Pray to Your Fleshy God!
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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