Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mechanophobia - a fear of machines!

The earliest known use of the term "robot" comes from the Karel ńĆapek stage play, R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots).
It's reference to hard labor would be lost through time, but the sinister origins of robotics would be forever stamped on the morality of science-fiction. Vital to this continued definition was influences like Fritz Lang's legendary 1927 film, Metropolis, which envisions the menacing manipulations of Maria!

Humanity's relationship with machinery in real-life could be described as amicable. The value of robotic allegories as morality plates remains relevant through echoes of human struggles, speaking more to our mutual self-destruction through the use of technology, and the exploitation of labor.

Robots might not yet have gained malevolent sentience, but that hasn't stopped the imagination conceiving just that. Here is but a brief catalogue of previous entries in the Infinite Wars that have showcased the evil that lurks within the microchips of machines!

Marvel Two-In-One #92 (October 1982)
"This Evil Returning--!" DeFalco/Wilson

The android called Jocasta was originally the result of an evil plot for Ultron to take a wife. Though the transferred consciousness of the Wasp would be expelled from the robotic shell, the remnants of her memory would serve as the template for a new, whole Jocasta!

Now in the service of good; Jocasta finds herself suffering an identity crisis with no real sense of belonging or purpose. Alas, as she pines from within her temorary residence at the Baxter Building, a twist worthy of Shakespeare sets a dastardly series of deeds in motion!

Calling upon a long forgotten piece of sub-programming, Jocasta is compelled to travel across the country to a secret industrial headquarters once belonging to her creator. There, the distorted monolith stands with a buddha-esque smirk - a testament to Ultron's defeat. Even so, with the tools surrounding him, Ultron compels Jocasta to revive him, and so, the mechanical menace is born anew!

Amazing Spider-man #329 (February 1990)
"Power Prey!" Michelinie/Larsen

Displeased with the failure of his plan to shuffle villains in the Acts of Vengeance storyline, the Norse god of mischief, Loki, leaves the Earth a little something to remember him by.

For believing him dead; Loki magically alters a trio of newly designed Sentinels to merge them into one masterpiece of magic and machine - the Tri-Sentinel!

Lucky for Manhattan, Spider-man has been imbued with the mysterious uni-power thanks to the aptly named Enigma Force. Gaining the cosmic awareness that had been denied to him, Spider-man instantly learns of his foe, and leaps into action to avert nuclear disaster!

Fantastic Four: Unplugged #1 (September 1995)
"Adapt This!" Lackey/Oliviera

A rainy night in New York City goes from bad to worse for the ever loving blue eyed thing. When he's too late to get a lottery ticket, a good deed goes punished when, having prevented a line-cutter from stealing a woman's cab, the Thing spots the FF emergency flare in the night sky.

Convincing the bedgrudging woman to share the cab, Thing makes for the Williamsburg Bridge where traffic is backed up for blocks. A cop informs him of a dangerous monster on the bridge, and when Thing asks about the Human Torch's progress he gets a nasty shock!

What super-baddy could fool the thing with a flaming signal? None other than the Mad Thinker's Super Adaptoid! Running amok, the Adaptoid has programming for one thing: The destruction of the Fantastic Four! So, watch out! It's a bridge-bound Brooklyn brawl, true believers!

Batman #637 (April 2005)
"Overnight Deliveries" Winick/Mahnke

In the wake of a gang war, Black Mask seizes control of the criminal underbelly of Gotham City. With various villainous elements shifting within the DC Universe, Black Mask's own strategies intersect with various others.

Amongst his schemes, the import of various super paraphernalia and weaponry. Much of which leaves his possession via the intervention of the Batman, or the vigilante rogue, Jason Todd - The Red Hood.

One such import is Amazo; an android designed originally by Professor Ivo to combat the Justice League using their own powers and unique abilities.
Though stripped down, the machine poses a substantial threat, and Batman and Nightwing are there to intervene.

Batman Confidential #2 (March 2007)
"Rules of Engagement" Diggle/Portacio

The dichotomy of vision between Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne is extrapolated when the businesses vie for a contract to develop technology to benefit Gotham City.

WayneTech's designs are ones of peace, utilizing state of the art technology to create search and rescue robots with the use of neural-link transmission pilotting.
Conversely, LexCorp concerns itself with the potential threat of an ever changing world full of the fantastic and bizarre. Luthor's proposal is built on advanced weaponry and proactive peace creating agents, as opposed to Wayne's more passive tools.

With a verdict to be decided, things take a nasty turn for WayneTech when their rescue OGRE droid attacks Lex Luthor outside the very building the proposal was made in. Will the Batman be able to solve the mystery of the rogue robot?

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