From Top to Bottom: Comic Book Robots

by Matt

Welcome to the 9th edition of the weekly "From Top to Bottom" column! Every week I will look at something within the comics industry and give you my opinion on what I think is the best and what I think ranks amongst the bottom-feeders.

Last week I took a look at the Top and Bottom of Comic Book Dads. This week, in my son's eager anticipation for WALL*E, I thought it would be fun to take a look at my Top 3 robots/androids in comics and those that are in words of Eric Cartman, "Lame."

Robots, androids (whatever you call them) have been in comics since the beginning and have changed considerably through the years. I didn't count robots that have already appeared in another form, like in a movie, so don't expect R2D2 and C3P0 in this list.

3) The Fury
The Fury is not a true robot, it is a cybiote, an amalgam of flesh and metal. This killing machine was created to kill superheroes and that is just what it did. It relentlessly stalked its prey and couldn't be stopped. The list of heroes it slaughtered included Captain Britain, Jackdaw, Miracle Man and a host of other British heroes. While it never spoke, Alan Moore made this true monster speak volumes by seeing the fear it gave to those it stalked.

2) Hourman
Hourman came from the 853rd century and was modeled on Rex Tyler's DNA, He served with both the JLA and was a member of the JSA for awhile. He currently is believed to have been destroyed by Extant during Zero Hour, he travelled back in time to replace the original Hourman. Even though he was only an android, he possessed many human traits. Hopefully we have not seen the last of him.

1) Machine Man
Machine Man has played a role (and ones that are completely different than each other) in 2 of my favorites series. He served as a new Watcher in the Earth X series and was integral in not only progressing the story but also helping provide the information needed to defeat the Celestial. He also appeared in NextWave and was a completely different character, drinking beer and calling humans "fleshy ones". I prefer the latter version.

There has been many more cool robots/cyborgs/androids, the following bottom choices are the bad side of robots. Not necessarily evil, just not really cool at all.

3) H.E.R.B.I.E.
Couldn't Mr. Fantastic create a better robot than this? Especially considering that Hank Pym created a killer robot (pun totally intended) in Ultron. Was he really a threat to the FF?

2) Nimrod
There are two big things that bug me about this robot. The first is its name, now I know why it was given that name, its name means 'might hunter' in the Bible, but c'mon, Nimrod? Are you really supposed to scared by something called Nimrod? Nimrod just doesn't intimidate or impress anyone. The other thing that bugged me is that he was pink. Now I will give Nimrod this, he did act scary and was very methodical and calculating in his early appearances in the X-Men but I cannot get past that he was pink. Think about it though, how scary is a big, pink robot named Nimrod? Not scary, just lame.

1) Danger
I admit that I liked her a smidgen more in the latter part of the Astonishing X-Men series than I did in her first appearances but I still think she is lame character. It was mostly because I felt like the X-Men have been in this situation before, only it was Cerebro that gained sentience and fought Professor X and the X-Men. I liked the idea behind it but the execution seemed forced and was resolved rather quickly.

So there you have it, I am sure some of you are screaming where is Ultron and the Vision? The Vision just was not a character that appealed to me and I will admit that I like the white-pasty version of him from years back. Ultron on the other hand only had one or two appearances that were cool, while the rest were lame. The Ultron in Daredevil and in Avengers West Coast (the Rose parade storyline, at least I think it was the Rose parade) essentially made the character weak. The Sentinels almost made the cool list merely on the fact that they just look spooky. But the Sentinel stories in X-Men: The Hidden Years and in the X-Men '96 annual just killed them and they almost made the Bottom list.


The General said...

I definitely agree with you about the Fury and the beer-swilling Machine Man. And will give you a pass on the Hourman thing because anyone who is a clone of someone named "Tyler" has to be at least moderately rad.

But, I disagree strongly with your Nimrod assessment. I tihnk your two arguments are sound, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the second X-men comic I ever bought had Nirmod in it, and I though he was scary/cool. Even if he was pink.

Dude, pinks scary.

Doug Smith said...

I know HERBIE is something of a joke with comic fans, but the version appearing in the FRANKLIN RICHARDS one-shots is awesome. You should check those out with your son, they're a ton of fun. (Why am I rhyming?)

Betsy said...

Tyler is such an x-whore. The fact that they named the character Nimrod is a pretty big clue that he's lame.