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Take 10

Take 10: Mechanical Men & Women

The Secret Cabal lays out the blueprints on Marvel's coolest robots and androids

Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas.

Who says you need a heart to be a hero? Or a villain for that matter?

In the Marvel Universe, some of the most fascinating, endearing and terrifying characters can't be counted among humanity at all, but rather as robots, androids, synthezoids and the like. Some of these artificial folks have proven their mettle or deviousness to a point many humans could only hope for.

With the resurrection of Marvel's original man of metal, the Golden Age Human Torch, continuing in the pages of THE TORCH #2, on sale now, the Secret Cabal sifted through the archives to choose some truly awesome artificial life.

For each entry you get the quick rundown as well as a special spotlight comic courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!


Learn More About Him... here
First Appearance: TALES OF SUSPENSE #82 (1966)
Why He Makes the List: The idea of a robot who can emulate the abilities of Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and the rest of the Avengers is just kinda neat. That said robot is named the Super-Adaptoid and not only has powers that are a mish-mash of Earth's Mightiest Heroes but also looks like a crazy mix of all their costumes is even better. The Adaptoid has persistently and impressively bedeviled the likes of the Avengers, Captain America and even Marvel's cosmic heroes for years, even overthrowing his own creators, A.I.M., for a time along the way!
Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS #45 (1967)-It's the Avengers against the Super-Adaptoid in Central Park!

Learn More About Him... here
First Appearance: FANTASTIC FOUR #35 (1965)
Why He Makes the List: What's cooler than a killer robot that can fly and breath fire? If said robot looks like a dragon! You'd never guess at first glance that beneath Dragon Man's scales and beak lie circuits and microchips, but he is indeed the work of a particularly imaginative and enterprising scientist. Able to stand toe-to-toe with the Thing or Captain America but susceptible to the feminine wiles of the Invisible Woman or Medusa, Dragon Man mixes the best of King Kong with a technological edge.
Spotlight Comic: THING & SHE-HULK: LONG NIGHT #1-Two heavy hitters team against Dragon Man!

Learn More About Her... here
First Appearance: AVENGERS WEST COAST #90 (1993)
Why She Makes the List: With his first attempt at creating a "bride" not quite working out in Jocasta, Ultron gave it a second go, kidnapping Avengers member-and wife of Hawkeye-Mockingbird to employ her brain patterns in creating Alkhema, his mechanical dream date. Unfortunately for Ultron and the Avengers alike, Bobbi Barton's rebellious personality combined with Alkhema's unstable programming core made for a whimsically violent robot who took sadistic glee in targeting those who wished to help her. At last count, Alkhema was destroyed amidst a massive cave-in, but given how many times Ultron has pulled that trick, it's doubtful we've seen the last of her.
Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS: ULTRON IMPERATIVE #1-An all-star team of Avengers creators depict Alkhema and Ultron against Earth's Mightiest Heroes!

Learn More About Him... here
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #191 (1985)
Why He Makes the List: The deadliest, most adaptable Sentinel of them all, Nimrod terrorized an entire era of mutants, becoming their boogeyman, before journeying to the X-Men's present in hopes of doing even more damage. Every time the X-Men or their allies think they've put Nimrod down for good, it always finds a way to re-assemble and re-emerge, even if it takes years, most recently becoming the devil whispering in William Stryker's ear and ending dozens of young mutants' lives in tragedy. Nimrod is a grim, nightmarish reminder of what things could come if the X-Men don't remain ever-vigilant.
Spotlight Comic: NEW X-MEN #31-It's the final showdown between Nimrod and the newest generation of X-Men!

Learn More About Him... here
First Appearance: 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY #6 (1977)
Why He Makes the List: For a dude who started out with arms that became ladders as his claim to fame, Machine Man has proven one versatile robot over the years, whether going by that famous codename, his model number X-51, or most recently plain old Aaron Stack. He has been a mechanical wanderer seeking the meaning of humanity, an action hero of the highest order, an eccentric who indulged in getting drunk on motor oil, and most recently a zombie killer. No matter what madness he's engaged in, Machine Man has always retained an endearing quirkiness and unique appeal.
Spotlight Comic: NEXTWAVE: AGENTS OF H.A.T.E. #2-Aaron Stack takes on Fin Fang Foom in a clash of the titans!

5. THE HUMAN TORCH (Jim Hammond)
Learn More About Him... here
First Appearance: MARVEL COMICS #1 (1939)
Why He Makes the List: The very first "artificial man" to make a mark on Marvel, Jim Hammond, aka the original Human Torch, remains one of the very best. A "failed" experiment unable to step into the world without combusting spontaneously, the Torch was nonetheless given a chance to live by his creator, Phineas Horton. And Hammond threw himself into living vigorously, as a police officer, as a member of the Invaders and as a mentor to his young sidekick Toro; in everything he did, the Human Torch was a hero. More than once over the years it has appeared that Jim Hammond's flame was extinguished, but he always seems to re-ignite when we need him most.
Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS/INVADERS #1-The original Human Torch and his Invaders teammates journey forward in time to meet the Avengers!

Learn More About Her... here
First Appearance: AVENGERS #162 (1977)
Why She Makes the List: Jocasta's existence has been a tragic and confusing one, unfortunate for an ostensible innocent who has only ever wished to do the right thing. Brought into this world by Ultron using the Wasp's brain patterns and used as a pawn against the Avengers, Jocasta rebelled against her "husband" and helped Earth's Mightiest Heroes to thwart him. Seeking to join the Avengers' ranks, Jocasta found herself ignored and ultimately abandoned. Recently, she has returned to prominence as part of the Avengers' support staff and in a bizarre relationship with Ultron's creator-hr "grandfather"-Hank Pym.
Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS #194-Jocasta and the Vision debate the validity of life as androids!

Learn More About Them... here
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #14 (1965)
Why They Make the List: On their bad days, the Sentinels are just cannon fodder for the X-Men to slash and blast through en route to finding whatever mutant-hating magnate bankrolled the latest batch of these purple-hued predators. On their best days, the Sentinels take over the planet, killing every super hero on Earth and subjugating the human race in "Days of Future Past." Probably the two most chilling things about the Sentinels are that you can't possibly reason with them and that no matter how many get wiped out, there always seems to be a dozen more waiting to take their place. The X-Men's world is one consisting largely of shades of grey, but the Sentinels represent unflinching destruction and a consistent nightmare for all mutants.
Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #98-The Sentinels siege Manhattan and only the X-Men can overcome them!

Learn More About Him... here
First Appearance: AVENGERS #54 (1968)
Why He Makes the List: Usually killer robots of the more terrifying variety tend to strike with cold, detached efficiency, but Ultron ups the horror ante by backing up his plans for world domination or revenge with shocking rage and appalling aggression. The genesis of Ultron came about when a well-meaning but misguided Hank Pym downloaded his own brain patterns into an incomplete robotic template, inadvertently giving "birth" to one of the Avengers' greatest villains. For his creepy and enduring visual, his compelling personal grudge against his "father" and the Avengers, and his sheer, unrelenting drive, Ultron earns a high spot on this list.
Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS #201-Ultron returns and strikes at Earth's Mightiest Heroes through their weakest links!

Learn More About Him... here
First Appearance: AVENGERS #57 (1968)
Why He Makes the List: The story of the Vision is that of an artificial being struggling and learning to be human, and failing as often as he succeeds. Vision's romance with the mutant Scarlet Witch is one of the most unique and touching in Marvel history, as it shows love can find a way to bring people together regardless of the hurdle. However, tragedy struck when the Vision was captured and stripped of his emotions, losing his ties to his wife and becoming cold and unfeeling. However, whether a soulful android able to shed a tear or just a mechanical badass plunging his intangible hand into the heart of evil, the Vision remains an Avengers staple and one of our favorite characters.
Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS ICONS: VISION #1-Working apart from the other Avengers, Vision attempts to unravel the mystery of the Gremlin!
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[color=seagreen] Other than that, it's a good list (I'd leave Ultron's second bride out in favor of Víctor).But there's also no Robo-Fury! After his great debut in MUA 2, he surely deserves a place on the top ten, LOL.[/color]


The Lack of Victor Mancha is disturbing.