Monday, November 17, 2014

What WAS the Comic Battle of the 20th Century? Part 7 - Machine Man vs. Ten-For!

Continuing my 12-part series reviewing comic books that claim The Battle/Fight/Bout/Showdown of the Century on their covers. Today's battle---

Machine Man vs. Ten-For! First presented in Machine Man #4, 1978. Written and drawn by Jack Kirby. Inks by Mike Royer.


The villain’s name is “Ten-For”, good buddy. This was written around the time CB radios were popular, especially with truckers. "Ten Four" was the lingo for "affirmative". However, I see zero connections to the villain and truckin’. I can't decide if Kirby was somehow being topical.

WHY ARE THEY FIGHTING?
As the issue begins, it appears they’ve already been fighting! Machine Man has a cylinder attached to his forehead, which is keeping him immobile. The alien, Ten-For, is apparently to blame.


Dr. Peter Spalding (whoever that is) is attempting to remove the device using Machine Man’s very own laser finger.


The doctor doesn’t finish his sentence because the cylinder comes off! Machine Man is fine. He’s off to find Ten-For. But where is Ten-For? Crashing in to an alleyway for some reason.


As I read, “Scurry for cover, you putty-skinned carrion! Where an Autocron steps there he rules,” I wondered for the first time-- Did Stan Lee’s writing style influence Jack Kirby’s writing style? They worked together for years to see nothing but success. Has this question ever come up?

Moving on.

Unfortunately as Machine Man seeks Ten-For, the military has caught wind of “two machine men” on the loose. A solider tries to stop our hero,  but Machine Man escapes using his silver tongue and cool moves.


As Machine Man sits in a tree, he decides to use a “dimensional transfer,” which is essentially transportation. It gives us some cool Kirby visuals.


Machine Man leaves the restaurant with some cool Kirby humor…


…and finds himself in Central City.


Hey, Machine Man! You know what IS a common sight in Central City?

The Flash. (No, he's not in the book.)

Okay, we’ve made it to page 23. Let the fight begin!!!


Wow, the red color really makes that furniture sign important! It's not.

HOW EPIC IS THE BATTLE?
Ten-For’s face flips up and he fires the first shot!


Machine Man fires back!


Ten-For leaves.

What? That’s it?!

Ten-For shoots once and Machine shoots once? The cover promised me “The Fight of the Century” as created by Jack Kirby! Alas... if only I were a robot, so I wouldn’t feel this aching disappointment that swells within my human heart.

Slow to follow, Machine Man suddenly realizes that he could use his Dimensional Transfer ability and “shove Ten-For as far from Earth as possible.” However, when Machine Man catches up with our villain, Ten-For has captured some humans. They would (somehow) go with him if he’s transported. What will Machine man do?

Continued next issue! 

WHO WINS?
Hmmm, I’m going to check the info on www.comics.org. Give me a second.

Okay. It looks like Ten-For is in the next two issues. But, in the issue #6 info, under “Characters”, it states “Ten-For (death).” Well then--

Winner – Machine Man!

IS IT THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY?
Me trying to get the last of the toothpaste out of the tube this morning was a bigger battle. So, “No.”

The Battle of the Century title remains with the Superman/Spider-Man fight of ’76.

Come back Wednesday for Part 8! Spider-Man vs. The Hulk!