Iron Man 2020 is getting his own mini-event right now and with it comes a plethora of two-issue tie-in stories. This week, Machine Man gets his own book with a backup the Midnight Wreckers. Can Machine Man save his love Jocasta, and can The Midnight Wreckers survive the corporate takeover of Bain as it attempts to kill all humans? Considering this is the first half of each story…an emphatic no to both!
Let’s start with the second story, written by Tom DeFalco, the creator of the Midnight Wreckers who first appeared in Machine Man Vol. 2 #1. Drawn by Mike Hawthorne with inks by Andriano Di Benedetto and colors by Erick Arciniega this tale takes place in a future where the robot revolution has taken over. We’re quickly introduced to a Braintronics underling named Rahman who may be on the wrong side. DeFalco introduces each of the Midnight Wreckers well enough as well as sets in motion a team-up of sorts. Or at least that’s my guess when all the characters come together in the end. It was a good idea to pair this story with the main one since it helps add stakes to the story. If the future ends up like this we know everything is on the line.
The main story is by Christos Gage and Andy MacDonald with colors by Dono Sanchez-Almara. The layouts are quite simple with two to four panels per page, which may not sound like much, but space is explored well with captions. There is a natural order to how the image should be read and each panel is dynamic enough to keep your attention. The work isn’t hyperrealistic, but it does not skimp on details. You can see that in the tech behind characters and the environments.
I had no problem following this story although I did read Tony Stark: Iron Man, which featured Machine Man’s distrust of humans and highly emotional nature. This issue sets up the fact that Machine Man is the 50th model and up until this point he assumed all his previous models were destroyed. Gage does well to force Machine Man to fight his other selves, exploring the nature of his development, and also his more impressive abilities in this final form. It’s also made quite clear why this mission is taking place at all which connects it well to the main event book.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this tie-in, but based on its quality I’m excited to read more tie-in series in this event. Machine Man has always been an entertaining and highly emotional character and the mission at hand is going to take further evolution of his control over these emotions or else he may not win at all.