Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Face off of the machine men: "Battle on a Very Busy Street!"

1978 “Battle on a Busy Street!” Kirby!
Royer, inks, letters
Holocaust! Ten-For lurks outside the sanitarium where he manipulated Machine Man and Peter Spalding into building a dimensional interface. A very surprised U.S. Army regiment,, prepared to destroy x-51 once and for all, find themselves at the merciless graces of the rover from the stars. Time is running out!

Now Machine Man must guide Dr. Spalding through a simple, yet delicate operation, to free his body from the vertigo-inducing cylinder affixed to his forehead (by Ten-For last issue---Lyron). First, the human must draw back the casing of Machine Man’s head, to remove vital circuitry...from his work space! Then, Machine Man’s fantastic hand weapons system requires Spalding’s maneuvering, to bring the powerful torch from his finger to bear against the cylinder. Together, they cut the inducer from his brow, and Machine Man acrobatically proves his balance restored. He feels contempt for the soldiers whose sonic rifles, aimed for him within the walls, riled the machine man from outer space, but he rushes to their location.

There he finds Ten-For has moved on speedily, creating mayhem for which, he notes, he “would never forgive” himself. He ponders the twist that has led to this clash of his enemies, neither of which did he choose.

Ten-For chills the marrow of people as he walks down the streets of Central City. He prepares for the arrival of his Autocron brethren, whose invasion fleet follows his signal as he marauds worlds across the universe. Meanwhile, our hero, aware painfully of the orders to end his life evil while he tries to stop Ten-For, suffers a unique identity crisis. Notice Kirby poses both machine men without their "faces": Machine Man as he attacks himself, emotionally, and Ten-For, when he decides to destroy his earth-born brother.

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