Wednesday, September 21, 2016

When Stalks The Cyborg Sinister!

The career of the Adaptoid, a creation of Advanced Idea Mechanics that could copy the likeness and abilities of a super-being and imprint them onto itself, instead turned out to be just a brief string of appearances in major titles like The Avengers, X-Men, and Iron Man before the plug was pulled on the character--or, rather, the first attempt at an upgrade for him. It was a surprising turnaround in fortune for him, considering that all the stops were being pulled out for this character.

Premiering in the pages of Tales of Suspense and tasked with the mission of eliminating Captain America, the Adaptoid was successful in tracing and adapting Cap's pattern to itself--only to then unexpectedly clash with the villain known as the Tumbler and end up being soundly beaten, though afterward his foe would be met and defeated by the real Cap. Taken to Avengers H.Q. for further investigation, the presumably inert Adaptoid was able to imprint the abilities of the four Avengers who were present (including Cap), with the combination transforming him into an amalgam of all four--thereafter dubbing himself the Super-Adaptoid, and once again attacking Cap after the other Avengers had departed.

Cap barely survived the Super-Adaptoid's assault, though it would take some time before the villain would discover that his intended victim was still alive; and eventually, it returned to Avengers Mansion to lie in wait for Cap, only to be met by Iron Man, who was able to deal him a defeat. Unknown to either of these combatants, it would be the final battle of the Super-Adaptoid in his present form.

But when he re-emerged--good grief, talk about starting from scratch! What the heck is this thing?

To answer that, we would have to go back to the point where the Super-Adaptoid was dragging himself from the rubble following his defeat by Iron Man, only to find that the strange sluggishness that he'd experienced during the battle was only the beginning of a deeper problem.

It turns out that the Super-Adaptoid had come under attack from the sub-atomic world of Bast, a planet devastated by war machines and nuclear fallout that had left its population dwindling. Among the survivors are two cousins, Jarr and Tyrr, who labor in their laboratory to salvage what's left of their world; but Jarr sees their survival as an opportunity to become rulers, making new machines and weapons that will not only help to rebuild their structures but to also assure their supremacy. To that end, Jarr has set his sights on the Super-Adaptoid, which will be *ahem* adapted to a form which can secure the energy that they require to go forward with their plans.

Ghastly appearance aside, already the so-called Cyborg Sinister (who bears something of a resemblance to the mid-'90s character Century and his weapon, Parallax) seems more interesting and powerful than the Super-Adaptoid, and at this point we know next to nothing about him. Presumably he's heading toward Stark's factory because it contains the power that Jarr has equipped the Cyborg to transfer to Bast. (I've mentioned before how the Stark Industries logo, intentionally or nor, appears to resemble a giant dollar sign--which in this instance unfortunately may not have the reader feeling any sympathies for an attack on its premises.)

What's curious about the Cyborg is that, even though he's obviously been directed to perform a single task and only that task, he's now become downright malevolent. We know that Jarr has crafted its appearance to "pluck the chords of horror in Earth-human hearts," though we're left to assume it's to facilitate a clear path to its goal--otherwise, why bother with its features to such a degree?

To make matters worse for Iron Man, he's lately been plagued by equipment failures, which have his systems conking out and his readers crumpling their copies of Iron Man every month. He was barely able to put the Super-Adaptoid down--and given his current state and the Cyborg's resilience and the clear power of its weapon, he has his armored hands full just keeping the Cyborg at bay.

Fortunately, Iron Man has the tools at hand that are made to order for a mechanical-based being like the Cyborg. A repulsor blast sends it to the ground floor--and a vat of deadly chemicals, and a pounding follow-up by Iron Man, spell the end to Jarr's plan, as well as his sinister (re)creation.

While we may have seen the end of the Cyborg Sinister, the Super-Adaptoid would return in a much cooler form and as a much greater threat--and we'll have Iron Man partially to thank for it.


david_b said...

I know this dates me, but I always had a soft spot for Tuska's Iron Man.., it's when I started collecting (circa 1973) and he always made IM actually **look** like the usual touting of '2nd Strongest Avenger', nice and bulky.

Colan and Tuska's will always be my fav IM artists, bar none.

Anonymous said...

I also kinda like Tuska's work on this title, maybe for sentimental reasons, too. It's classic I.M.
I haven't seen this issue before. Not too shabby.