I had heard some praise from people I hold in high regard for the four issue miniseries from 1984. I could not resist picking it up last week when I spotted for $1 an issue. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but the talent involved (Tom DeFalco, Herb Trimpe and Barry Windsor-Smith) was strong - so it was definitely worth a look. Wow, was I ever pleasantly surprised. This was a very engaging read - set a well constructed dystopian near future of 2020. This was the era of Blade Runner, Mad Max and a million cheap Italian post-Apocalyptic movies so everyone had a 'vision' of what the future would hold, and it was usually quite bleak. DeFalco's vision of the future is not revolutionary, but it is well formed and his future feels 'lived in', which is the key to authenticity.
Right off the bat, the concept of Machine Man as relic rather than as a piece of cutting edge technology is very clever. The characters are very colorful without being annoying, and the corporate conspiracy storyline holds up quite well today. That's what struck me the most, actually. The entire thing seems quite fresh. So many books from the Big Two published during the 80s, especially Marvel 'event' books, have aged terribly. This one seems like it could have been published last year. I don't know where this fits into actual Machine Man continuity and I don't really care, as it works great as a standalone piece. The artwork is gorgeous through, and I really love the fact that Trimpe and Winsor-Smith seemed to be paying tribute to Kirby with those flying motorbikes. I see that this was published as a trade a couple of times, but my guess is that it would be easier to track down the actual floppies. Thanks to all who recommended this series to me, I enjoyed it immensely.