MACHINE MAN #18
(Cover by Rich Buckler and Dave Simons)
Published and © by Marvel, Dec. 1980
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“Alone Against Alpha Flight!”
Synopsis: A corrupt senator’s plot brings Alpha Flight after Machine Man, who already has his hands full with Madam Menace!
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Penciler: Steve Ditko
Review: There are hints of a good comic here: Madam Menace has some potential, as does the story’s political intrigue. Machine Man’s facial injury and subsequent emotional meltdown offer pathos. And there’s the odd enjoyment of seeing Steve Ditko draw a John Byrne creation instead of the usual vice versa. But Ditko’s work is past its prime here, and writer Tom DeFalco’s effort to match the art’s Silver Age flavor gives the book an infantile feel. In particular, DeFalco’s overuse of adjectives and alliteration, along with Kirbyesque wooden dialogue, distract from whatever kernels of a good story might actually be present.
Cool factor: Steve Ditko drawing Alpha Flight (though even that’s not as cool as it sounds).
Not-so-cool factor: Awful alliteration and awkward adjectives doom DeFalco’s dumbed-down dialogue.
Notable: Early Alpha Flight appearance (the other half of the team was off guest-starring in X-Men #139-140.)
Character quotable: “Is the lady of the house home? I’ve come to end her ruthless criminal rampage!” — Machine Man, chatting it up Spidey-style.