Marvel Zombies: Machine Man's Redemption

Writer Fred Van Lente takes us into Machine Man's machine mind in anticipation of the gruesomely shocking conclusion to MARVEL ZOMBIES 3!

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Preview art by
Kev Walker

By Marc Strom Aaron Stack, a.k.a. Machine Man, must fend off an army of flesh-eating super heroes in MARVEL ZOMBIES 3 #4 if he hopes to save the Marvel Universe on January 7, and in the process he might just reconnect with his own humanity. Lately, Aaron has come off as a little brash and insensitive towards his more flesh-and-blood brethren. But according to MZ3 writer Fred Van Lente, Machine Man's attitude hasn't really changed since the legendary Jack Kirby first created him. "I think he's been a hero who's always struggled with his conflicted relationship to humanity," he explains. "Kirby originally conceived him[that way, and] I think his character in NEXTWAVE can be interpreted [in that light]. "My fundamental conception of Aaron is that he would really, really, really, really like to be a jerk, but he just doesn't have it in him."

Preview art by
Kev Walker

Recently, however, the way Machine Man's perception of himself has begun to shift, leading to his more overtly hostile exterior. "The tragedy of Aaron is that he started to see himself the way the humans see him: as something other," Van Lente psychoanalyzes. "When really he has way more in common with another person—because that's what he truly is, a person—than a toaster. "Of course, his self-loathing is one of the biggest giveaways that he is, in fact, truly human, synthetic or not," Van Lente adds with a note of irony. Within the pages of MARVEL ZOMBIES 3, Aaron has also reunited with Jocasta, another robot with whom he once had a very real connection until her apparent death; this has led to him reevaluating his worldview. "She definitely interferes with his binary way of looking at the world—human vs. robot," Van Lente notes. "She is a robot who genuinely likes humans and wants to help them. There's something about her innate goodness that interfaces with his own, and I think that's what draws him to her, and vice-

Preview art by
Kev Walker

versa. If Jocasta, whom Aaron loves, can like humans, maybe they're not all that bad after all." While MARVEL ZOMBIES 3 comes to its conclusion next month, Van Lente reveals that he already has an idea of what his protagonist's next story should be: "I do, and it also involves Jocasta," the writer teases. "I hope Marvel gives me the opportunity to tell it—of course, it would help if I asked them first." Before that, though, he'll still have to make it out of the current limited series in one piece. And as it draws to its climax, Van Lente left us with one promise: "I can pretty much guarantee no one will see the last page coming." Explore Machine Man's NEXTWAVE adventures on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. Check out the official Marvel Shop for your favorite Marvel Heroes!
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