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Quote1 I grieve for the Machine Man I was... and even the one I would have been, mindlessly happy under the submission code. But this is the Machine Man I am. And he says... Pray to your fleshy God! Pray! Quote2
-- Machine Man (Aaron Stack)

Appearing in "Computer Love: Part 2"

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Synopsis for "Computer Love: Part 2"

Inside a Baintronics facility where he had been lured, Machine Man is confronted by X-52. X-52 introduces himself to Aaron as his replacement, and offers him to accept Arno Stark and Sunset Bain's help to rid of his free will and find peace of mind. Aaron attacks X-52, but he and Jocasta fend him off and try to convince him that he needs human guidance, with Abel Stack's upbringing having been what delayed Aaron's eventual insanity that resulted from him being a X-Model Robot, and pointing out that Aaron used to constantly seek out human companionship, such as Peter Spalding or Gears Garvin. When Aaron recalls that Sunset Bain used to be a villainous arms dealer, X-52 and Jocasta argue that he has bettered since then. They also tell him about the incoming Extinction Entity and that they intend to help Arno Stark stop it, and try to convince Aaron to be heroic again.

After rejecting their propositions, Aaron becomes distressed. When X-52 extends his hand to Aaron, Stack blasts him and Jocasta away. Aaron calls out their use of subsonic signals and visual cues to sway him to their side. He denotes that X-52 touted Sunset's changing as a virtue, and defends that the changes he's being condemned for are proof that he is alive. A fight breaks out, and Aaron decapitates Jocasta. X-52 over powers Aaron and tears part his body, but when he holds Stack in front of him, Aaron extends his bionic eyes into X-52's mouth. Aaron points out that whereas X-52's exterior is stronger than his own, his interior is his weak point. Aaron's eyes squirrel through the inner workings of X-52's body and disable it. Aaron reattaches his limbs and his eyes to his body and takes off with Jocasta's still-responsive head, planning to deliver it to the A.I. Army to find a way to counter the submission code. Jocasta continues arguing with Aaron, and he acknowledges that he could be happy with the submission code, but it would be meaningless and hollow. Aaron embraces his unpredictable nature, and makes his way through the Baintronics guards outside the base.

Appearing in "The Leap--!"

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Synopsis for "The Leap--!"

Gears Garvin's hideout is being attacked concurrently by A.I. Army and Baintronics killer bots, who also turn against each other. Hassle prepares to shoot Rahman Bashara, believing him to have lured the Bain bots on purpose, but Swift stops her. Gears' robot friend Ralphie tries to convince an A.I. Army soldier that they are not working with Sunset Bain and Arno Stark.

At Baintronics, Dr. Cyclobe oversees the attack on the hideout, and states his plan to kill the humans at the scene, including Dr. Bashara, and not just the insurgent robots. Lorna Hopgood shows reluctance against this. Back at the hideout, Swift convinces Hassle to give Bashara a chance to prove himself. Gears orders an evacuation, telling Ralphie to leave while the humans cover them. The A.I. Army soldier notices this, and tells his comrade to concentrate their attacks on the Baintronics forces.

Rahman jury-rigs an electrostatic amplifier he then uses to disable two Bain bots, and tells Hassle he could knock them all offline by tapping into a control module within one of their heads. She provides him a decapitated robot head to work with. Cyclobe notices the breach into the system through his cybernetic implants and asks Lorna for help. With Rahman on the cross hairs, she instead causes Cyclobe's implant to meltdown, allowing Rahman to disable the robots. The A.I. Army resumes their accusation that Gears is reprogramming A.I.s against their will, but Ralphie convinced them to spare him. Gears prepares to leave to a back-up base up North with Ralphie while the Midnight Wreckers decided to part ways. They're joined by Rahman, now going by the alias of Brain.

Solicit Synopsis

• Machine Man is fighting to save his true love, but will he be able to defeat – himself?! Outdated and overpowered, Machine Man goes head-to-head with the updated X-52 model!

• Will Machine Man be able to overcome or will he find himself paved over in the name of progress?

• Plus, part 2 of a backup story by legendary Machine Man writer, Tom DeFalco and artist Mike Hawthorne!!

Notes

  • Despite the official Iron Man 2020 checklist placing this issue after 2020 Iron Age #1, the events in this issue's second story precede the events of that comic's first story.

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