Scientists working for a top-secret U.S military project worked on creating an army of 51 experimental robotic soldiers capable of acting like humans. Their goal was to create a sophisticated weapons system capable of independent thought. Dr. Abel Stack took X-51, one of the the projects robots, home to test his radical theory--that a robot could only function like a human if it was raised like one. The other 50 models began displaying psychotic tendencies due to insufficient programming. The project was determined a failure and the order came down to destroy them. Each of the robots was equipped with an auto-destruct device that could be triggered remotely. Stack managed to remove the self-destruct mechanism from X-51, but figured he couldn't dispose of the bomb before it exploded, and urged Aaron to leave him. X-51 vowed that Stack's dream of human and robot peace would come true.
As Machine Man, X-51 assumed the name Aaron Stack and became a fugitive in the eyes of the military. He found a world greatly afraid of machines, but managed to blend in without suspicion. Mr. Hotline dispatched a suicide bomber to hold Aaron's friends hostage in order to get him to return to the Hades Organization HQ where technicians dismember X-51 and present his head to the Monitor, a computer that projects a Satanic hologram. The Monitor searches Aaron's mind for the anti-life equation, but before he can prep a second assault Machine Man orders his limbs to reassemble and he re-programs the computer to neutralize the bomber and free his friends.
After being captured and later freed, Machine Man was found by psychiatrist Dr. Peter Spalding. He also battled Colonel Kragg's troops. Soon after that, he first encountered Power Broker. Alongside the Hulk, he battled the Power Broker. Soon after that, he was redesigned and rebuilt by Dr. Oliver Broadhurst. He then first encountered the Fantastic Four. He then met mechanic "Gears" Garvin, and then battled Baron Brimstone. He also battled Sunset Bain. He then first encountered Alpha Flight. Spaulding and Garvin set up Machine Man with a human identity as Aaron Stack, insurance investigator for the Delmar Insurance Company, but he continued having adventures as a superhero on the side.
While working with The Thing, Machine Man first met and fell in love with another sentient robot, Jocasta. Alongside the Thing and Jocasta, he battled Ultron. However, during the battle, Machine Man witnessed the seeming destruction of Jocasta by Ultron.
Machine Man once tried to meet with Iron Man, who he believed was a fellow robot. However Tony was very drunk, irate, and under considerable stress from the machinations of Obadiah Stane. He attacked Machine Man and almost killed two of his own employees, but Machine Man was able to rescue them.
After being held captive for months, the Super-Adaptoid was freed by the Fixer and set out to get his revenge on the Avengers. He first recruited the Awesome Android to his cause, and used the Fixer's brilliant technical mind to reprogram him. He then confronted Machine Man and offered to fix his long-lost love Jocasta if he would join his team. Machine Man accepted, and they went to the panhandle of Texas and reprogrammed Sentry and then the TESS-One robot, adding them to the team. Heavy Metal then went to Hydrobase and attacked the Avengers who resided there, battling the She-Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Captain Marvel, and Marrina. Unknown to the other members of the team, the Adaptoid was merely looking for information on the Cosmic Cube. He found the information he needed and summoned Kubik, a cosmic being that evolved from the cube. Meanwhile, the other members of the team began to lose one by one, except for Machine Man, who switched sides and joined the Avengers to fight the Adaptoid after he copied Kubik's powers and became almost omnipotent. The Adaptoid eventually lost the battle, and the androids and robots were sent to a secure location.
Machine Man again worked alongside the Avengers during a battle with Terminus. When the Avengers reorganized their roster shortly thereafter, X-51 was nominated in absentia as a reservist for the West Coast Avengers. He eventually accepted and was seen in action alongside his fellow reserve substitutes shortly after Operation: Galactic Storm.
During an encounter between Cable and the humanoid Sentinel Bastion, X-51 was infected with Sentinel nano-technology and forced to serve Bastion. He reasserted his independence, but the Sentinel programming remained buried deep in his software. X-51 was then captured by S.H.I.E.L.D., who wanted to use his technology to create another Deathlok, and was swept up into an X-Men adventure where the Red Skull took control of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. Machine Man helped ferry SHIELD agents to safety as the Helicarrier was being destroyed, but was seemingly destroyed himself in the process.
As a last ditch effort at survival, X-51 transferred his consciousness from his failing body into the Life Model Decoy of Agent Jack Kubrick which landed near him in the Helicarrier's wreckage. Aaron was so damaged in the crash, however, that his intelligence was subsumed beneath the LMD's programming, leading him to believe he actually was Jack Kubrick, searching for information on Machine Man.
The Brotherhood of Mutants, looking for weapons and devices, excavated the wreckage where X-51 had been lost. They confronted "Kubrick", also on scene, and blew his head off. The LMD's headless body collapsed near the inert original head of Machine Man. The two interfaced, bringing X-51 back online and letting him access the full power of his futuristic Sentinel tech, re-configuring the LMD body into a more powerful form. However, he was also now vulnerable to the Sentinel protocols, reverting to an aggressive mutant-hunting posture whenever in the presence of homo superior. Machine Man's new status fascinated the Celestials, who sent a Monolith to observe him. The Monolith offered him a chance to accompany the Celestials, and he agreed. Following X-51's departure, an impostor surfaced, who apparently believed himself to be original Machine Man.
Powers and Abilities
Z2P45-9-X-Robot: Machine Man is the fifty-first model of Z2P45-9-X range of robots designed by Dr. Abel Stack. His robotic form provides him with various abilities.
- Superhuman Strength: As the Machine Man, Aaron could lift 2 tons and an extended limb could lift a few hundred pounds.
- Superhuman Durability: As the Machine Man, Aaron's titanium alloy construction makes him very durable.
- Wave-Modifying Coating: A special 'wave modifying' coating provides some protection from energy attacks.
- Limb Extension: Machine Man can extend his limbs up to 100 feet.
- Flight: As the Machine Man, Aaron can fly using anti-gravity units and hover using a propeller attachment.
Machine Sentinel: In addition to his earlier capabilities, Aaron acquired the following powers from absorbing Sentinel nanotechnology:
- Flight: As the Machine Sentinel, Aaron has absorbed and adapted technology for flight using his nanites and can now form a jetpack for personal use. With his jetpack, Aaron is capable of flight speeds in an atmosphere up to Mach 25 (19,250 mph), he can achieve escape velocity from Earth's gravitational pull (25,000 mph), and can reach sub-light speed while traveling in space (176,700 mps/95% lightspeed).
- Superhuman Strength: As the Machine Sentinel, Aaron can now lift well beyond 100 tons.
- Nano-Technological Self-Augmentation: The Prime-Sentinel nanites in his body not only gave Stack an upgrade to his self-repair systems bolstering it to a mechanical Healing Factor. These nanites also allows him to adapt technology and weapons appropriate for the present situation or opponent. The nanites were responsible for the fusion of Machine Man's damaged body and the remains of the Jack Kubrick Life-Model-Decoy, this resulted in Aaron becoming the Machine Sentinel.
- X-Gene Disruptor-Field: Aaron possesses the standard weapons and technology of a Prime-Sentinel, including the X-Gene Disruptor-Field. The X-Gene Disruptor-Field is a device used to disable or weaken the powers of any mutants in his vicinity.
- Transformation: After absorbing the Jack Kubrick Life-Model-Decoy and his Prime-Sentinel nanites, Aaron has gain the ability to change his appearance at will using his acquired technology. Aaron's forms include: his "Aaron Stack" human form, his upgraded robotic Machine Man form, his stronger Machine Sentinel form, or the Life-Model Decoy of Jack Kubrick.
Cosmic Awarenes: The Celestials gave Machine Man a gift that he describes as awareness, which appears to be cosmic awareness.
- He communicates well with humans, due to his upbringing and observations. After merging with the Jack Kubrick Life-Model Decoy, which was uploaded with a copy of Kubrick's mind, this gives Aaron any and all skills, knowledge, memories, and abilities possessed by the real Jack Kubrick.
- As Machine Man, Aaron could lift 2 tons and an extended limb could lift a few hundred pounds. As the Machine Sentinel, Aaron can now lift well beyond 100 tons.
- Himself. As a synthetic entity, Machine Man has a variety of built-in gear. This has been shown to include a gas chromatograph, laser interferometer, micro-pulse radar, audiometer, seismometer, gravity wave detector, pulse-code modulator, standard computer input/output, radio beacon, all-wave transceiver, and laser cutting torch. Formerly Avengers Identicard.
- Normally, his index fingers are loaded with pistol rounds. He can also switch out various devices and other weapons with items contained on his belt. After merging with the Prime Sentinel, Stack can adapt his weapons systems as needed.
- Anti-gravity units, a propeller attachment to hover, formerly Avengers Quinjet.
- Machine Man originally underwent a drastic appearance and personality change in Nextwave, being presented as aggressive and antisocial, also seeing humans with contempt. This personality carried on to the character's further appearances like Marvel Zombies 3, Tony Stark: Iron Man and Iron Man 2020 (Vol. 2). The story "See What's Become of Me" in Marvel Comics #1001 retconned this by establishing that that Machine Man was an impersonator. It is not know if this retcon also accounts for the Machine Man that appeared in Hulk (Vol. 2) and Red She-Hulk who looked and behaved more similar to the original Machine Man rather than his Nextwave incarnation.
- The character and stories are based on the eponymous Stanley Kubrick film and Arthur C. Clarke novel.
- The band Powerman 5000 wrote and performed a song called "The Son of X-51", referencing the character.
- Although the Machine Man initially disregarded hobbies as a waste of a time that could best be used in self-improvement, he later became a fan of Billy Joel and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
- 80 appearance(s) of Aaron Stack (Earth-616)
- 11 minor appearance(s) of Aaron Stack (Earth-616)
- 5 mentions of Aaron Stack (Earth-616)
- 80 image(s) of Aaron Stack (Earth-616)
- 3 quotation(s) by or about Aaron Stack (Earth-616)
- 1 item(s) used/owned by Aaron Stack (Earth-616)