Monday, November 22, 2010

Xanadu: from the classic Machine Man adventures

MACHINE MAN #13 Writer/ Editor Marv Wolfman Artist Steve Ditko Letters Irv Watanabe
Colors George Roussos Consulting Editor Jim Shooter

(Our cover has another building; any of my budding artists willing to try that building under construction?--Uncle Lue)

Machine Man’s gotten the shaft: an elevator plunges towards him as his telescoping limbs hold in place before the crushing blow. He works a little classical physics and struggles while being observed on a screen in the chambers of Khan, who's now referred to as Kublai Khan. He and manservant Tong observe Machine Man's stubbornness. He's resourceful, too; he reaches down to the generator engine, taps into it, and creates a repellent magnetic charge.

Khan's pleased; he has superior intelligence, he says, but a useless, obese body. Machine Man might become his answer! He checks in on Gregarian, "finest sculptor in Vienna"; Khan honors his warrior pose "best work to date!" with a trap door trip out of the dirigible, his pay sent from Khan's Flying Xanadu Palace to his family. He continues his murders after a squad of his hired hands test Machine Man; he activates explosive collars to leave no witnesses.

At Delmar, Ed White continues his possibly imaginary account of a tryst that ends with the perfect evening interrupted by a call from “her mother.” “Arrie” could care, until Maggie shows up with snark about the account. Aaron tells them both get lost, annoying both these lovelies. Mr. Benjamin picks now to pull him into the office and suggest that he hasn’t done enough to reach out to the co-workers; in fact, while “none of them know who you are, ...they sense something strange about you.” So when he’s invited to a party while leaving, Aaron accepts.

Eddie’s there with a special drink for Machine Man, and just like that, the beginning of the long standing association between Machine Man and Mead arrives in an unfocused “cranial disturbance,” leading him to collapse on Maggie, to Eddie’s pleasure.
Nineteen hours of sleep later, Peter Spalding’s there to explain Machine Man has a hangover. Aaron’s considering permanent disassembly.

Xanadu: Tong prepares, as did his ancestors, to serve this Kublai Khan. Aaron arises to a sonic blast headache, and messages to follow radio-given instructions out into the dark over crowded Manhattan—straight into Khan’s prepared test areas, starting with a junkyard. Twisting like a thing alive, the wrecking ball’s swung into the drifting robot, who soon returns it into the crane with interest.

Khan’s voice is telling him how he’s examined Abel Stack’s files, telling of “reflexes nine times swifter than man’s---that your strength is fifty times greater.” Of course, he knows about the sonic blast weakness, but plans to test him further. The wrecking ball cable becomes Machine Man’s lithe weapon, and with much swearing tracks the sonic trail from the Jersey palisades up to the Catskill Mountain Range, where he enters a retractable maze, hydraulically lifting as it did “for the three dozen dead men before you.”

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