Machine Man #18
Issue(s): Machine Man #18
They are especially interested in learning if Machine Man was in fact created by, or operating under direction from, the US government. They send Sasquatch, Northstar, and Aurora to capture the robot.
Meanwhile, Machine Man's current antagonist, the jet setter and industrialist Sunset Bain (aka Madam Menace!) sets a trap for him.
In the three way fight that follows, Alpha Flight fails to capture Machine Man.
And while he does avoid getting trapped by Bain, Machine Man's face is horribly disfigured in a fire.
Meanwhile, a Canadian agent working with Alpha Flight discovers that the information that Canada received about Machine Man was part of a propaganda campaign by US Senator Miles Brickman. Based on this, Canada drops its vendetta against Machine Man.
Horrible art by Steve Ditko. I'm sorry. I know it's not polite to say that. But it's true.
Due to the fact that they had silver streaks in their hair in their first appearance, Northstar and Aurora are incorrectly given blond hair in this issue, most prominently on the cover, but also in the interior, where i guess it's more of a weird white.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: More or less concurrent with Uncanny X-Men #139-140.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAurora, Eddie Harris, Gears Garvin, Machine Man, Madame Menace (Sunset Bain), Miles Brickman, Northstar, Pamela Quinn, Peter Spaulding, Sasquatch
A Fred Hembeck page from Comics Buyer's Guide at the time featured Spider-Man moaning "My creator won't TOUCH me! He'd rather work on turkeys like Machine Man...".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 11, 2011 12:59 PM
"Horrible art by Steve Ditko. I'm sorry. I know it's not polite to say that. But it's true."
It's totally true. To go from the Byrne art on the other half of the team to the art here is just shocking, like going backwards in time 20 years. That panel just under your comment looks like a 12 year old drawing these characters.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 22, 2015 7:50 PM
I've wondered if this trip to New York was when Sasquatch and Aurora hooked up, as referenced in Alpha Flight #4.
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | October 31, 2015 11:39 PM
I'm pretty sure it is. If Ditko only knew!!
Posted by: George Lochinski | September 2, 2016 3:41 PM
Ditko has said, in one of his essays, that he has always given his best effort, to deliver his best work, or words to that effect. He probably believes that, and means it when he says it, but more likely he's just fooling himself. IMO
Posted by: James Holt | September 2, 2016 4:52 PM
There's also a generation gap going on- to people that started reading comics in the 1980s, like fnord and myself, Ditko's art really isn't that impressive, even when he's giving it his all.
Posted by: Michael | September 3, 2016 12:24 PM
If you say so. I started in the early 90s and when the art turned to complete dreck circa 1993 I gravitated to the Classics reprints of old Ditko and Kirby material.
Posted by: Red Comet | September 3, 2016 12:47 PM
Who would have been a better co-creator of Spider-Man in a Ditko-less World? What would the Marvel Universe be like without Doctor Strange? Without Ditko's visual effects? Without Ditko's artistic imagination?
On the other hand, his inking looked rushed a lot of the time. His art supplies and reference materials were primitive by today's standards. This stuff was intended for newsprint and wobbly web process reproduction. Nobody anticipated Baxter paper or high quality reproduction back then. They were pushing deadlines for one-time by-the-page paychecks.
Posted by: James Holt | September 3, 2016 2:18 PM
@Red Comet: Well, compared to Rob Liefeld and his imitators, even this Ditko looks like Alex Ross!
Posted by: Morgan Wick | September 3, 2016 2:30 PM
Having just read this issue via the recent Machine Man Trade Paperback, I didn't find the art that bad (then again, I grew up on Ditko's Spider-Man). However, the dialogue is absolutely painful. It feels like Tom DeFalco is trying to parody Stan Lee ("Inform my antagonistic automation…!" "You're as amusing as a busted bolt!" etc.).
Posted by: mikrolik | September 3, 2016 3:03 PM
This issue, Machine Man is hardly the only one whose face is horribly disfigured.
Posted by: Cecil | April 2, 2017 8:11 AM
You missed a 'something so big, move so fast' reference when Machine Man is fighting Sasquatch.
Posted by: Tork | October 9, 2017 2:57 PM
DeFalco missed a golden opportunity then to have Ditko draw Wolverine!
Posted by: VtCG | January 8, 2018 11:07 AM
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