Machine Man (1st series) #18

Issue Date: 
December 1980
Story Title: 
Alone Against Alpha Flight

Tom DeFalco (writer), Steve Ditko (artist), Diana Albers (letterer), Nelson Yomtov (colorist), Mark Grunewald (assistant editor), Denny O’Neil (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Machine Man tracks down Madame Menace, but only encounters her henchmen, although Madame Menace is constantly watching him. He returns home where his companions are waiting for him. Senator Miles Brickman is continuing his anti Machine Man crusade, and has a plan to give Machine Man a bad name. In Canada, within Department H, several officials are discussing how Machine Man forced the Hulk into Canada, and the damage that the Hulk cause. Sasquatch, Northstar and Aurora of Alpha Flight are assigned to go undercover in the United States to track Machine Man down, while Agent K is sent o find out why the Machine Man was sent to Canada. Madame Menace meets Senator Brickman, while Sasquatch begins tracking Machine Man, and Aurora and Northstar enjoy the sights and sounds of New York City. Machine Man once again seeks out Madame Menace, but Sasquatch soon finds him. They battle, but during the battle, Sasquatch realizes that Machine Man is sincere, and the robotic hero even rescues Sasquatch from drowning. Machine Man continues to track down Madame Menace, following the clue she left for him, and he engages her henchmen in battle. But he is overwhelmed when a sonic disruptor is used against him. Luckily, Sasquatch, Northstar and Aurora arrive, and are able to assist him. Eventually, Machine Man destroys the sonic cannon, although his face is half melted in the process. He unleashes his fury on Menace’s troops, until Alpha Flight calm him down. Machine Man then departs, leaving them to realize he did not cause trouble in Canada wittingly. Agent K soon finds out who really was responsible for sending Machine Man to Canada - Senator Brickman, who wanted to cause an international incident and up his own political aspirations. Alpha Flight return to Canada, while Madame Menace swears vengeance on the Machine Man, and Senator Brickman is abandoned by his aides, while a lonely Machine Man walks the night street.

Full Summary: 

Barely a week ago, Machine Man battled Madame Menace, the mysterious armorer of the underworld - and though he shattered her sinister schemes, he could not prevent her escape. As the robotic hero leaps over warehouses on a dock in the middle of the night, he is haunted by dreams of Madame Menace, and wonders whether she truly survived their encounter. Down below, he sees a building that was one of Madame Menace’s bases, and decides he may be able to find answers within.

But inside the warehouse, Madame Menace’s henchmen are busying destroying files in a fire that has been lit in a barrel. ‘Quickly now! Destroy everything that can’t be carted away!’ one of them orders. He reminds his colleagues that the boss-lady wants this place evacuated, as it has been a liability ever since Machine Man discovered its location. ‘Leave no thing behind - no traces - no clues!’ he orders, telling them too to hurry, when suddenly, Machine Man’s arm extends down from the ceiling, and lifts the henchman up into the air. Machine Man tells himself that by negating gravity he managed to silently sneak through the building’s skylight, while down below, another of the henchmen orders the others to scramble.

‘He’s got Santell!’ one of the henchmen exclaims, but Machine Man throws Santell down to the others, telling them that he did not mean to keep their associate. ‘He’s trying to bowl us over!’ another declares as Santell lands on top of them. When they gather themselves, one of the henchmen tells the others to surround Machine Man and they will take him by sheer numbers. Machine Man drops to the ground, while extending his leg around the legs of the men, causing them to fall over, as he asks if the lady of the house is at home, as he has come to end her ruthless criminal rampage.

Machine Man decides that he must press the attack before the henchmen can regroup, and extends his arms, swinging them about to knock the men over once more, while announcing that Madame Menace does not hire cheap help, as these men are good - skilled professionals, deadly and dedicated. ‘But you’re no match for capabilities!’ he exclaims as he extends a leg, knocking them over once more. However, Machine Man grows confident, careless, as one of the men holds a weapon up and fires it at Machine Man: ‘You were so busy reading your own press releases - you didn’t notice me!’ he shouts, while Machine Man is bombarded by the sonic rifle. He reacts with the speed of through, and extends an arm, and grabs the weapon, crushing it instantly. ‘Your weapon may have fused the circuitry in my left knee - but this technological trooper is never helpless!’ Machine Man boasts.

The henchman begins to run away from Machine Man, ‘Keep away from me, you stainless steel sucker!’ he shouts as he blasts a ray gun at Machine Man, who informs the henchman that he will not escape by running behind an electromagnetic generator - ‘In fact, you’ve merely saved me the effort of having to pull my punch!’ Machine Man declares as the generator falls on the henchman, trapping him against a wall, which shatters open partly. Machine Man looks around, the other henchmen remain on the floor. ’So much for my petulant playmates’ he tells himself, before adjusting his leg, and remarking that he can keep his leg functional by overriding the electrical relays in his knee. ’But I still haven’t found Madame Menace!’ he exclaims.

‘Perhaps a pigeon will sing for me’ Machine Man wonders as he pulls the mask back on one of the henchmen and tells him to wake up, ‘Tell me how to find your sexy superior!’ Machine Man orders, but the henchman replies that he won’t. Machine Man decides that he will have to bluff him, and grabs him by the collar and forces him into the air, warning him not to skate around with him. ‘My patience fuse - is easily blown!’ Machine Man claims. The henchman replies that Madame Menace has gone into hiding, but he doesn’t know where. Machine Man drops the henchman down to the others, while deciding that he was too terrified to lie, and his sensors monitored his pulse. Machine Man decides that he will not learn anything more here, and flies through the hole in the wall, deciding that he may as well head home before his left leg overloads.

At that precise moment, in the secret underground complex of the ever-merciless, ever-mysterious Madam Menace, the villainess herself monitors a computer, depicting Machine Man taking flight, while one of her henchmen declares that their carefully concealed sensors video-taped Machine Man’s every action. ‘Excellent, Rollins! I want a complete profile on that robot - with special emphasis on his vulnerability to sonics!’ Madame Menace replies, while declaring that she supplies sophisticated weaponry to an elite clientele of underworld entrepreneurs, and Machine Man is the most resourceful, most efficient multi-functional combat unit she has ever seen. ‘I must have him for my fall catalog of designer armaments!’ she exclaims.

Meanwhile, inside the apaprtment that Aaron Stack, the Machine Man’s human guise, shares with psychiatrist Peter Spaulding. The well-dressed Spaulding paces the living room, pipe in hand, he tells himself that Aaron should have returned by now. ‘I don’t know what’s worse: staying behind or playing host to his crude, ill-mannered mechanic friend’ Peter tells himself, looking at Gears Garvin, who is lounging back in a char, while putting his feet up on the coffee table. Peter asks Garvin to remove his feet, but Garvin belches in reply, and explains he is getting comfortable while waiting for their bolt-brained buddy. Peter warns Gears not to use such terms when referring to Aaron, as his feelings will get hurt. Gears gets up and tells Peter to “downshift”, assuring him that he likes Aaron as much has Peter, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is a sheet of metal and wires instead of flesh and blood.

‘To you, Aaron’s just a big toy to tinker with!’ Peter exclaims. ‘And what’s he to you - a case history that’ll guarantee ya a cover feature on Psychology Today?’ Gears asks as the men prepare to face off. ‘You insufferable, insensitive clod!’ Peter shouts, when suddenly, Machine Man enters the apartment: ‘Gentlemen!’ he exclaims, holding his two friends away from each other, while remarking that it looks like he arrived just in time, before asking what is going on. Peter claims that they were having a mild disagreement. ‘Yeah…he wanted ta watch Love Boat, but I preferred Masterpiece Theater!’ Gears replies, before noticing Machine Man limping. Machine Man explains that a sonic blast fused some circuits, and asks his friend if he can repair them. Machine Man sits on the sofa and Gears tends to the circuits, while Peter watches, and thinks to himself ‘Talk about misguided concern! Garvin and I were acting like children…fighting for the attentions of a prized friend!’

Elsewhere, a political fund-raiser in a posh mid-Manhattan hotel is taking place, and Senator Miles Brickman is up to his old tricks, as he stands on a podium, a large image of Machine Man is displayed behind him, and the Senator declares that Machine Man is a freak and a public menace. ‘Elect me to the White House and I’ll eradicate this threat forever!’ Brickman boasts. His aides watch his speech from the sidelines of the stage, and one of them remarks that the Senator is in trouble, that he has not scored well in the primaries. The other points out that the Senator is obsessed with the robot, that his entire campaign strategy is based on the public’s paranoia of automation, but now the Senator is floundering.

Brickman concludes his harrowing harangue, to considerably less than thunderous approval, and he storms off the stage, where one of his aides suggests that perhaps he should forget Machine Man. The other tells the Senator to concentrate on the real issues of the campaign - inflation, unemployment and foreign policy. ‘Stop worrying!’ Brickman exclaims, revealing that he has personally taken steps to insure the utter and irrevocable obliteration of the rascally robot, and within days, the public will hail him as the savior of society!

Meanwhile, in Canada, specifically the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Ontario. Where, located five hundred meters beneath these stately structures is a top-secret section of the Ministry of Defense - codenamed Department H! ‘Another earth-shaking calamity must be a’brewing! The top echelon’s in conference now’ a Department H worker remarks to another. And, in a nearby room, several men are observing a monitor which depicts Alpha Flight’s Sasquatch engaged in battle with the Hulk, and more images of the Hulk battling Machine Man. Someone stands at the front of the room and tells the various officials that, some months ago, the Incredible Hulk entered Canadian territory. He points out that these photographs were taken when the Department assigned Sasquatch with the task of neutralizing him.

The official continues, explaining that Sasquatch possess almost limitless strength, and he tried to contain the man-monster, but in the ensuing battle, vast tracks of prime Canadian timberland were destroyed. ‘A tragic, staggering loss!’ someone calls out. The official continues, revealing that recently, Parliament received a dossier of slides and documents from an anonymous party. He reveals that the records allege that prior to his arrival here, the Hulk clashed with a computerized constructed called Machine Man. He explains that according to their mysterious source, Machine Man defeated the Hulk, hypnotized him, and sent him hurtling into space - deliberately aimed at Canada.

The slideshow ends, and the official informs the others that hints link this rash robot to the US government. He remarks that if these allegations are true, someone owes them a great deal of explanation - and compensation. Another man addresses the official as “Minister” and remarks that he assumes Department H is to determine the veracity of their unknown informant. ‘Precisely Agent K!’ comes the reply. ‘As our top covert operative, you are to discover the who and why of this highly disturbing dossier!’ the Minister explains. ‘And what of Machine Man?’ Agent K asks. The Minister replies that a team of experienced specialists shall attend to him, and hands Agent K a sonic transmitter, which will enable him to establish field communications with them. Agent K asks when he gets to meet with them to discuss strategy, to which the Minister replies ‘Right now’ and asks Agent K to follow him, as they enter the Alpha Flight wing of Department H.

The grim Agent K is led along a vast underground corridor, to the very heart and soul of Department H. Standing in a training room as Dr Walter “Sasquatch” Langkowski, and mutants twins Jean-Paul and Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, also known as Northstar and Aurora, respectively. ‘Alpha Flight - Canada’s answer to the Avengers! I’ve heard whispers of this mighty super-team…but I never expected to meet it!’ Agent K gasps. The Minister replies that this is only half the team, as the others are on assignment in Northern Quebec. Northstar informs the Minister that he has come at a bad time, as he and his sister have just set the simulators for combat maneuvers, and Sasquatch, who is currently holding up a heavy four ton hydraulic press with his shoulders explains that this commands all his attention at the moment.

‘Don’t let us disturb you, Northstar’ the Minister announces, so the twins being their simulation. With blistering speed, Northstar easily avoids the stunning sonic blasts, while the vivacious Aurora effortlessly negotiates her way through a lethal laser maze. Together, in physical contact, the mutant twins can generate bursts of blinding light. ‘Ho! This life is so thrilling, so intoxicating’ Aurora exclaims, while Northstar thinks to himself that these silly super hero games disturb him, and if not for his sister, he would quickly retire from them. Then, after the training session has reached its climax, the Minister has informed Alpha Flight of the predicament. ‘We cannot jeopardize American relations! You must operate…’ he begins. ‘…without official sanction’ Agent K concludes. And the next morning, a sleek limousine crosses the border into the United States.

At that exact second, in her hidden mid-Manhattan headquarters, a gloating Madame Menace studies her latest insidious invention. ‘A sonic disruptor! It’s beam will attack Machine Man’s neuro-circuits - reducing him to a mass of quivering convulsive metal meringue!’ Madame Menace boasts. Madame Menace calls out to Rollins and tells him to place a classified in tomorrow’s Daily Bugle, informing her antagonistic automation that she wishes to renew their acquaintance. The Henchman asks Madame Menace if that is wise, as Machine Man will likely suspect a trap. Madame Menace walks away, replying ‘Of course! For that reason alone, he’ll come!’

Later, after exchanging her grim garb for a Mackenzie original, Madame Menace resumes her identity as the glamorous Sunset Bain, queen of the international jet-setters. ‘Sunset, you’ve made my party a success!’ the party organizer tells the glamorous Sunset Bain, before asking her to meet the guest of honor - Senator Brickman. The party organizer reveals that Senator Brickman is hoping to win his party’s nomination for the presidency. Sunset Bain tells the Senator that she believes they have a mutual friend. ‘Really? How nice’ the Senator replies.

And, as Miles Brickman makes his play for the well-to-do vote, inside the Delmar Insurance Company, Eddie Harris tells Aaron Stack that he will never get rich as an investigator for the Delmar Insurance Company, as he needs a secure investment to fall back on. Aaron, dressed in a suit the same purple color as the Machine Man design, asks Eddie what he suggests. ‘High school girl’s badminton matches’ Eddie exclaims. ‘I’ll book the bets, you cover the cash! We’ll make fortunes! The action is practically virgin territory!’ he declares. But Aaron tells Eddie to count him out of his wild schemes. ‘Gambling is not a risk venture for me - it’s a carefully investigated science!’ Eddie claims. Aaron smiles and asks Eddie why his funds are always depleted.

Eddie exclaims that science doesn’t come cheap, and asks Aaron if he hasn’t heard of research grants. ‘Forget it, Stack! You’ll never be a big-time operator like me!’ Eddie calls out as Aaron walks away from him. Eddie then calls out to a colleague called Maggie and asks her if she can lend him five bucks for lunch. But Eddie isn’t the only one with problems, as Aaron sees Pamela Quinn, and reminds himself that he has been trying to avoid her. Pamela approaches Aaron and asks him if there is something wrong, as he seems troubled. Aaron smiles and thinks to himself that Pam makes him feel very strange and unrobotlike, with emotions that frighten him.

Meanwhile, at a luxurious suite in one of New York’s finest hotels, Walter, Jean-Paul and Jeanne-Marie stand around inside, while Jean-Paul asks what they are to do while Agent K investigates his own leads. Jeanne-Marie tells her brother not to pressure Dr Langkowski, as he may turn into Sasquatch and make nasties on him. ‘Bah!’ Jean-Paul exclaims, while Walter pulls three wrist-monitors from a briefcase, telling Aurora that Northstar is just anxious to complete their mission. He explains that the wrist monitors will help them do so, as they will track Machine Man’s unique bio-radiations within a limited radius. Northstar declares that the toys may look stylish, but that they are useless unless he and his sister are to race about this magnificent metropolis at super speed until they pick up a reading.

‘That’s not necessary’ Walter replies, and explains that according to the dossier that Department H received, Machine Man uses “Aaron Stack” as his name. Walter holds up a phone book and suggests they use it to get his address. Jean-Paul smiles and tells Walter that only he can make these grim games of costumes and death seem almost enjoyable, while Aurora kisses Walter on the cheek, and tells him that he takes himself so seriously, that no one never knows when he is joking. ‘I wasn’t - er - joking’ Walter replies. The twins walk away from Walter, as Jean-Paul suggests they celebrate their youth in this greatest of cities. ‘We shall eat and drink till dawn!’ he declares.

And, early the next morning, Peter Spaulding receives a startling shock while perusing his morning Bugle. He rushes into another room, where Machine Man is standing, and tells his friend that he hates to disturb him while he is monitoring his internal circuitry, but before Peter can explain why, Machine Man tells him that will talk after he has reattached his face and donned his helmet. ‘You’re upset about that classified on page fifty-four!’ Machine Man exclaims. Without pausing, Machine Man continues testing his limbs, as he extends his legs, and tells Peter that he believes the advert says “Put a little menace in your life, robot! Meet me at the usual place!” Peter replies that he thinks it is a trap. ‘So do I’ Machine Man confirms, but points out that Madam Menace threatens his very survival, and he cannot rest while she is free. Peter asks his friend if he has a battle plan, a brilliant strategy to defeat her. As he flies out the window, Machine Man replies that he doesn’t, but he will think of something. ‘I always do!’

Just then, on the street below, Walter Langkowski steps out of a cab, thinking that while the Beaubier twins sleep off their party, he will check out the only “Stack” in the book. Suddenly, his wrist monitor goes off, meaning Machine Man is in the area, and is on the move. Walter gets back into the cab and tells the driver that he has changed his mind. ‘I’d like a scenic tour of your fine city - and I’ll give directions’ Walter tells him. ‘It’s pineapple time again!’ the cab driver thinks to himself.

Totally oblivious to the pursuing Dr Langkowski, Machine Man glides to the waterfront warehouse of Madame Menace. He sees that the outside wall has been repaired and that the skylights are secure. He decides that since he is expected, he dare not use a conventional entrance, and extends his arm so that his finger sensors can scout the area. As his hand reaches inside the warehouse, he detects that the place appears to be deserted, except for a few empty crates and the oddly glowing ball in the warehouse.

Securing the amazing ball, the computerized crusader quickly deduces its function - ‘This is a maser-controlled homing device! Menace wants me to analyze its frequency so I can follow her!’ Machine Man exclaims. But, meantime, Walter Langkowski gets out of the cab, parked down on the dock. ‘That robot led us a merry chase - but he seems to have settled down at last’ Walter decides, before dismissing the cabby. Within moments, the Canadian super hero locates the Machine Man on top of the warehouse. ‘How disappointing. I’d imagined him to be far more impressive!’ Walter thinks to himself.

Walter runs down an alley, telling himself that he has outgrown the need to test himself against other super-persons, but Alpha Flight’s mission is to seize the robot before the authorities notice their presence in the States. The handsome former pro line-backer removes his clothing. He is, one of the very small percentage of the population who discovered he would not have a fatal reaction to gamma radiation, and through controlled irradiation he could achieve awesome power. Intense mental concentration triggers his gamma altered thyroid, and his body hair takes on a golden hue, and thickens, while his muscles bulge with incredible strength - Sasquatch walks the earth! Fully transformed, Walter tells himself the strain of transformations is getting less painful.

Up on the roof, Machine Man has identified and classified the homing signal, which his internal receivers can now trace to the murderous Madam Menace. But, suddenly, Machine Man is tossed about as the building begins to shudder and quake. ‘Not the entire building - just the section you’re standing upon!’ Sasquatch calls out as he breaks part of the roof away, while thinking that he should have informed Northstar and Aurora of his plans, as he may need back up against the rascally robot.

‘An orange-matted monstrosity is attacking me!’ Machine Man cries out. Seeking to stun his armoured opponent, Sasquatch strikes, by slamming the slap of building onto the ground, deciding that he cannot take chances with someone who actually beat the Hulk, reminding himself that he still has bruises from his own battle with the green and gruesome. But, Machine Man frees himself from the debris, and extends a fist, which slams into Sasquatch’s face. ‘I’d hate to be known as an overly-curious computer, but what’s your hassle, hairy?’ Machine Man asks. ‘I am Sasquatch! I’m here to arrest you!’ Walter announces as he knocks Machine Man backwards. ‘For what? Super heroing without a license?’ Machine Man asks, before extending both his feet and hands back towards Sasquatch, hitting him with the force of all four. ‘Don’t you realize the enormity of your predicament?’ Sasquatch asks. ‘No - but I do realize that you’re as a musing as a busted bolt!’ Machine Man replies, while deciding that Sasquatch is too straight-laced, too sincere, which means he could not work for Madame Menace.

Meanwhile, the mysterious Agent K walks through the city, deciding that his constant leg work is paying off, as the dossier was mailed from this post office, and it was typed on stationary earmarked for federal use. He decides that, obviously, some high American official is trying to manuever Canada into taking an antagonistic position towards Machine Man. ‘But who - and why?’ he wonders.

Back on the dock, Machine Man tells himself that Sasquatch’s sensational strength is almost beyond comprehension. ‘I’ll have to out-manuever him’ Machine Man decides, hoping he can position his opponent properly to do so, and as he extends both his arms outwards, he manages to trap Sasquatch in the field he has generated between his hands. Machine Man decides that he must end this before Madame Menace assumes he is not coming and ends the homing beacon. But, moving with surprising speed for one so bulky, Sasquatch lashes out, and rips up the very pacing from beneath Machine Man’s feet. Then, as Machine Man falls onto the dock, Sasquatch asks him why he deliberately sent the Hulk to Canada.

Machine Man realizes that Sasquatch is referring to his first meeting with the greenskin, and announces that he was heavily damaged and dazed, and that he thought he was removing the man-monster from civilization. ‘If your motives were noble, you have nothing to fear from our authorities’ Sasquatch declares. But Machine Man extends an arm around Sasquatch’s neck and reveals that he has little faith in the authorities of any country. ‘I’ll shatter your grasp!’ Sasquatch boasts, but Machine Man does not give him the opportunity, as he lifts Sasquatch up and throws him into the water.

While Sasquatch is still spluttering and gasping for air, Machine Man taps into a local power source - a nearby street light - and jolts Sasquatch back into consciousness. Seconds later, Machine Man extends his arms and drags the soaking wet Sasquatch from the water, telling him that he carefully gauged his weight and mass, as he wanted to stun him, not fry him. ‘He’s making sure I don’t drown’ Walter realizes. Having satisfied himself to his furry friend’s eventual recovery, Machine Man activates his foot-stakes, and takes off, resuming his search for Madame Menace. He traces her homing signal to its point of origin, as she must be stopped. ‘Must contact the others’ Sasquatch tells himself.

And, shortly, down a street, Machine Man has traced the signal, which is coming from an open sewer, currently guarded by two of Madame Menace’s goons. Machine Man telescopes his arms out - and smacks their heads together, knocking them out. This is all being watched by Madame Menace, miles away in her secret headquarters. ‘At last! He arrived! We’ll capture him as the prototype for a full line of living robots!’ she announces.

As Machine Man makes his way through the tunnels in the sewer, Madame Menace’s thugs arrive at a pre-arranged signal. ‘So! I was right! This was a trap. Lucky me’ Machine Man tells himself. Tired after his battle with Sasquatch, Machine Man decides to rest while the henchmen waste themselves by pounding his metallic body - after all, they will suffer more from the punches than he will.

Meanwhile, Agent X continues his quest. ‘Government employees are the same in every country! They leave precisely at five!’ he tells himself as he enters an office. ‘I’m searching the office of every bureaucrat, every elected official within that post office’s radius!’ he reminds himself, checking the typewriters, for each has its own quirks. ‘I won’t rest until I have found the one which typed the dossier’.

At that moment, the battle continues to rage, as the “heavy artillery” enters a room where Machine Man has entered. The henchman boasts that the solar powered nunchakus will slice through Machine Man’s metal hide like blazing blades through butter. ‘Really? I’m partial to margarine myself’ Machine Man responds as he extends his fists upwards, smashing the ceiling, causing rocks to fall down on the goon. ‘Even a robot has to watch his weight! I check-in at 8501 lbs!’ he announces. Dodging the nunchakus, Machine Man tell the goons that their boss must be filming this, and asks them to cue him when it is time for him to smile on camera.

Indeed, Madame Menace is still monitoring Machine Man’s actions. ‘That raging robot is defeating everyone of my marauding mercenaries!’ she exclaims, before ordering ‘Delay no longer! Employ the sonic disruptor!’ At the command of Madame Menace, a hidden panel slides upwards - revealing the wrathful weapon, and a mercenary fires, dowsing Machine Man in the sonic energies, causing the robotic hero to fall to the ground, his limbs extended and tangled. ‘The disruptor is a success!’ one of the henchmen exclaims. ‘He’s helpless!’ another shouts. But Machine Man is still conscious: ‘It’s playing havoc with my neuro-circuits! I’ve lost all control over my body…my limbs!’

However, in that instant, a blurred streak suddenly appears - Aurora! We have arrived in time!’ Northstar shouts as he knocks several henchmen over, while Aurora takes out the others. ‘Yes, Northstar. We scoured the city at super-speed to find Sasquatch! Then our wrist monsters traced the robot!’ Aurora declares. Sasquatch bursts through a wall, announcing that he had a little trouble smashing his way through that manhole opening, but Sasquatch is now here in all his fabulous, furry finery!

‘Wonderful! Big orange and his colourful cronies are fighting Menace’s men for me…and I am totally defeseless while trapped in this fatal field’ Machine Man thinks to himself. Sasquatch thinks that Machine Man could have left him for dead, but didn’t, so cannot believe he is an enemy. Suddenly, Madame Menace informs her cronies that the “interlopers” have no commercial value. ‘Destroy them!’ she orders. But, taking advantage of Alpha Flight’s diversion, Machine Man decides upon a daring and desperate plan. ‘I have one weapon at my disposal’ he tells himself, as he strains with concentration, the valiant robot releases the magnetic couplings which join his head and body, then negating gravity, he leaves his flailing, convulsing shell, and like a molten, magnificent meteor, he surges against his sonic savagery - smashing, beating and battering at the canon.

‘The robot’s freed himself!’ Sasquatch exclaims, and, like some harrowing, haunting phoenix, Machine Man rises from the flames of his greatest defeat- his head has literally smashed the canon into a pile of flaming rubble. But, like all true victories, this did not come cheap - as half of his face has been melted. A chill and sullen silence falls of the chamber, Finally, the robot moves, and with hesitant, jerking movements, he fastens his battle-scarred face to his rapidly recuperating body.

Suddenly, ‘Are you all quite satisfied?’ Machine Man asks, ‘Are you satisfied? Are you? ARE YOU?’ he booms as he extends his fists and begins punching Madame Menace’s henchmen over and over. Madame Menace watches this on her monitors, and wide-eyed, tells herself that the robot has blown every one of his cerebral circuits. ‘He’s totally, irrevocably…mad!’

Aurora tells Northstar that they must stop Machine Man before he commits murder. And as they connect their hands, they envelop Machine Man in a blinding blast of dazzling light. ‘Your ploy may be effective against humans, but my finger sensors are impervious to intense glare!’ Machine Man reveals as he extends a fist, which punches Northstar in the face. Sasquatch goes over to Machine Man and tells him that he may feel sorry for him, but that he cannot go offing his friends. But Machine Man retaliates: ‘Humanity has hunted, hounded and haunted me since the day of my creation! I’ve had enough!’ he declares as he punches Sasquatch. Stunned by the purely elemental savagery of the attack, Sasquatch stumbles backwards, with chilling machinelike efficiency, blow after high-impact blow is reigned upon the helpless hero.

‘Stop, you inhuman monster! You are killing him!’ Aurora cries out. With the suddenness of a blown fuse, the robot ceases all motion - he hovers over Sasquatch and asks ‘What… have I…done?’, while Aurora orders him to get away from Sasquatch, to give him some air. Machine Man looks at his fists and decides that Sasquatch will recover. ‘But I had no right to cut loose like that’ he tells himself, while wondering if Brickman was right all along. ‘Am I only a step away from being a menace?’ Horrified by his handiwork, Machine Man loosens his coupling joins and converts his body into a living drill - ‘I’m leaving! Please don’t follow me!’ he warns Alpha Flight as he drills down into the floor beneath them. ‘That metal plated pig…’ Northstar exclaims while rubbing his sore head. Sasquatch also rubs his own head and suggests to Northstar that they call it a day. ‘I’ll have this headache for months!’ he exclaims, while Aurora, hands on hips, announces that she hopes Agent K fared better with his mission.

Indeed, Agent K did have better luck with his mission. ‘This machine typed the dossier!’ he exclaims as he stands over a typewriter, he sees that it belongs to Senator Miles Brickman. Examining a file, Agent K learns that Brickman wanted Canada to take a vigorous stand against Machine Man, and the attendant publicity would have aided Brickman’s political aspirations. Agent K decides that Alpha Flight must abandon mission Machine Man, and, as for Brickman, he will learn the price for embroiling Canada in his personal play for power.

Later, burning with anger at the way their government was used, Sasquatch, Aurora and Northstar turn homeward, each carrying a new and better understanding of this silly game of super heroes.

Miles away, Madame Menace stalks her closely guarded base. ‘I’ll get that Machiavellian metal man! Someday! Somehow!’ she boasts.

And, thanks to some fancy footwork by Agent K, the news media has a new toy, as an announcer declares ‘A plot to have foreign governments rig American elections!’

And at that moment, Brickman’s aides are packing up and leaving. ‘Stop! You can’t desert me!’ he tells them. ‘You’re through, Senator! After this fiasco, you couldn’t get elected as Nixon’s butler!’ one of them exclaims. Angrily, the Senator warns them that they have not heard the last of him, and boasts that he shall return.

And, as morning slowly mutates into evening, ‘Any word from the kid?’ Gears Garvin asks Peter Spaulding, who replies ‘No! He wants to be alone!’

On a lonely, wind-chilled street, a brooding robot ponders his flickering future…he has seen the darkest side of his soul. And the sight has sickened him. Machine Man walks through the darkened street, face distorted. Burdened as he is, how shall he face the morrow?

Characters Involved: 

Aurora, Northstar, Sasquatch (all Alpha Flight)

Machine Man

Peter Spaulding

Gears Garvin

Eddie Harris, Pamela Quinn, Maggie (all employees of Delmar)

Senator Miles Brickman

Brickman’s aides

Madame Menace / Sunset Bain


Agent K

Minister of Defense

Department H staff

Cab driver

Story Notes: 

This issue takes place simultaneously to Uncanny X-Men #139-140, which is where Vindicator I, Snowbird and Shaman are appearing.

The Hulk entered Canadian territory and encountered Sasquatch in Incredible Hulk Annual #8.

Machine Man’s encounter with the Hulk took place in Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #235-237.

Aurora and Northstar’s hair is miscolored white throughout the issue, and blonde on the cover of this issue. Additionally, their star symbols appear on the same sides of their bodies, instead of opposite sides.

Issue Information: 
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