Machine Man is a male robotic character that features in Marvel Comics.
X-51 was part of a series of robotic machines that were part of a top-secret U.S. military project. The purpose of the program was to create sophisticated weapon systems that possessed the capacity for individual thought. He himself was the 51st model created as part of the program where he was under the personal oversight of Dr. Abel Stack who decided to take X-51 to his laboratory-residence at home. Stack had a radical theory that intelligent robots were capable of functioning just like human beings if they were treated similar to man. Thus, he looked towards creating a nurturing environment for X-51 and treated the machine as if he was his own son. Around this time, the other models in the project began to exhibit psychotic tendencies as a result of their programming causing them to run amok. Dr. Broadhurst ultimately concluded the program to be a failure and triggered the self-destruct sequences installed in all the machines. At his home, Stack knew that the government would seek to destroy X-51 who he had named Aaron Stack and saw as a son. Thus, he prepared and taught Aaron all knew before removing the bomb in his body. He then bade his son goodbye and told him to go on the run from the project which Aaron did as he was commanded. (2001: A Space Odyssey v1 #8)
He was asked by Commander Steve Rogers to help investigate mysterious weapons emerging from a new nation in the Middle East known as Sharzhad. For this assignment, he was sent to accompany the Red Hulk after Aaron determined that the weaponry was of extraterrestrial design. (Hulk v2 #43)
X-51 was working with Captain America when news of the Red She-Hulk attacking the Echelon Project occurred with Stack being dispatched to investigate. He went to a site holding a volunteer from the Raft where he arrived to find the prisoner dead at the hands of the Red She-Hulk. (Red She-Hulk v1 #59)
At some point, he resumed his relationship with Jocasta with the two living together where during this time Aaron Stack began to resent organics and experienced a rise in his mecha-activism. He became infuriated when Tony Stark launched his Project eScape as he believed it was appropriation of robo-culture. This saw him invading that cyberverse in an attempt to destroy it but he was stopped by Jocasta who decided to put a break on their relationship. (Tony Stark: Iron Man v1 #3)
In pursuit of Jocasta, he discovered that Baintronics had purchased the X-Series line and had sent the previous iterations of himself against Machine Man. He had to battle his predecessors but then reversed the programming within them. He then confronted Jocasta and attempted to undo the brainwashing done to her but she claimed to now be filled with purpose. Jocasta stated that she was happy now and had found a new love that turned to be X-52 who was a new iteration that was a replacement for Machine Man. (2020 Machine Man v1 #1)
Personality and attributes
Officially, he was named by the military as X-51 but his creator Dr. Abel Stack gave him a name as Aaron Stack. (2001: A Space Odyssey v1 #8) After going on the run from the military, he for a time adopted the name Mister Machine. (2001: A Space Odyssey v1 #9)
He stated that he did not feel pain the way humans experienced the sensation. (2001: A Space Odyssey v1 #8)
He showed respect and gratitude to his creator Dr. Abel Stack who he treated as a father and in turn was likened to a son to the scientist. The pair had shared and persevered together with this said to be like a true father/son relationship. (2001: A Space Odyssey v1 #8)
For a time, he began to see a tiny Celestial and was something only visible to him. Intermittently, the possible hallucination had been with him from time to time where it constantly heckled him. (Marvel Comics Presents v2 #9) This Celestial was known as Ea the Wise and after Aaron's breakdown told him he would not need his imaginary friends anymore. (Marvel Comics Presents v2 #12)
Powers and abilities
As a thinking computer, his memory banks allowed him to memorise any piece of information. (2001: A Space Odyssey v1 #8) Among his systems included sensors that were able to detect unique energy signatures such as those from cosmic and gamma rays. (Red She-Hulk v1 #59)
He gained the power of flight after determining the means to create an anti-gravity effect. (2001: A Space Odyssey v1 #8)
Among his field upgrades was the capacity to store large quantities of megacurrents and discharge them back at an enemy though this made tracking energy signatures difficult. (Red She-Hulk v1 #59)
- Machine Man was created by Jack Kirby where he made his first appearance in 2001: A Space Odyssey v1 #8 (July 1977).
- In Machine Man v2 (1984), an alternate future was shown whereby this version of Machine Man was reactivated in the year 2020. He was reactivated by a group of outlaw scavengers called the Midnight Wreckers who were led by Gears Garvin. During this time, he was forced to battle the industrialist Sunset Bain and the amoral mercenary Iron Man 2020.
- In Earth X v1 (2000), Machine Man served as among the main characters in the alternate continuity setting. After encountering the Monolith, he was transformed into a transparent version of himself that allowed anyone to see his internal workings. He was later forced to become the new Watcher after his predecessor Uatu was blinded leaving him unable to observe events on Earth for the last 20 years. During this time, Uatu attempted to force Machine Man to reject his humanity but X-51 tricked the Watcher by using his technology and data to help mankind defeat the Celestials. Through this means, he managed to inform Earth's superheroes of the true origins of humanity. Following their defeat, Machine Man used his newfound powers to contact parallel Earth's in order to help them eradicate the threat posed by the Celestials.
- In Armor Wars v1 (2015), versions of the Machine Man were shown to be present in the realm of Technopolis on Battleworld. A number of Machine Men were deployed by Arno Stark against the giant robots deployed by Kiri Oshiro after she learnt of Baron Tony Stark's deception and the murders he had committed to hide his crimes.
In other media
- In Spider-Man Unlimited, the character made an appearance in the episode "Steel Cold Heart" where he was voiced by actor Dale Wilson. He was shown as being one of Counter-Earth's Machine Men and an earlier model series known as X-51. This model was no longer produced and an abandoned X-51 was accidently reactivated in the modern day. Unlike the other Machine Men, X-51 was shown to hold a sense of identity and awareness with him refusing to harm others and seeking to live.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey v1:
- Marvel Comics Presents v2:
- Hulk v2:
- Red She-Hulk v1:
- Tony Stark: Iron Man v1:
- 2020 Machine Man v1: