As a former member of the Avengers and Nextwave, Machine Man has never been lauded by his team mates. He's certainly respected, and valued in a fight, but he's constantly found himself on the C-list of super heroes. Perhaps because of that, he now finds himself at a therapist's office in search of some guidance.
It turns out that Machine Man is actually on the floating city of State 51, completely populated by androids acting taking the place of the populace. Madame Menace has shattered the illusion and now plans on piloting the city into Bombay.
Machine Man suddenly realizes that the various heroes in the city completely contradict history. Machine Man recounts how each robot represents part of his history in what was to be a well organized therapy session. Although apparently the Wolverine currently running around the city is the actual Wolverine. That guy really gets around.
Madame Menace tries to taunt Machine Man as the city gets closer and closer to Bombay. Before it crashes, Madame Menace gives Aaron control of the city and she shapes it into a new body for him. To calm the frightened citizens, he takes the shape of the Indian deity Vishnu. After the act of heroism, Machine Man realizes that he doesn't need any introspection to do what he does, and that the robot friends he had built are no longer necessary. S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives to arrest Madame Menace and Machine Man can be satisfied that he's made some personal growth. Oh, and saved a few million people. That part was probably nice too.
This was one of those weird stories where clearly something is being attempted with the narrative, and I can certainly appreciate that, but do to various factors, I can't quite pierce precisely what the point is. I should also add that my complaints about continuity for that first part have been tossed out the window.
One problem I have is that I'm not really sure what's happening in this story. Obviously I just wrote a synopsis for the thing, and I can more or less give a broad stroke impression of the plot, but there's likely some subtext here that I've completely missed and some details have faded to a great degree. Part of this has to do with the format of this series. While I usually enjoy anthologies, I tend to enjoy them more when each chapter being presented is an adequate enough length to satisfy me. These eight page snippets of a story barely give you enough time to remember what was happening a month ago, and the recaps offer very little in the way of help.
I think this is a good story, but honestly, I can't say why outside of the fact that I was mildly entertained and was able to enjoy some nice looking artwork. It needs more pages and a better format to really say what it's trying to say and perhaps the flow could be a little smoother. I'd gladly sacrifice the rest of the comic it appears in for one focused on Machine Man, but it may just be that being next to some truly awful stories (check out my Weapon Omega review for details) that really makes this one shine. Much like being crowned the mayor of Loserville. But this story is still part of an anthology, and to pretend it isn't would change the very nature of how I've been reviewing the stories in its parent title up until now.
If I had to review this review, I'd give myself 1 web for decent grammar. This whole story probably deserves a better review, but that would require a specific look at it rather than reviewing it as the strongest title in terrible monthly anthology.