Robot superheroes are an interesting bunch. You can write the back-story any which way you want, but pretty much all of them have a Pinocchio complex. Today, I present for your approval or derision: my top five favorite robotic or android superheroes, malfunctioning emotion chips and all.
(5) Robot – From Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, Robot is actually the secondary consciousness of Rudy Connors, a guy with a busted body living in a tank a la post Wampa Luke in Empire. Rudy projected his consciousness into the Robot body until he’d gathered enough whatever to become a real boy. Then he split his awareness between his organic body and his robotic bod(ies). Best of both worlds, this jerk gets to be human and a robot AT THE SAME TIME. His girlfriend turns into a monster, in the good wrecking-shit way, not the psycho clingy way. Robot is kind of a know-it-all and a bit of a dick. He’s also a freaking genius, so he’s usually right, which makes him worse or better I’m not sure. He’s number 5, because while conceptually awesome, I consider him to be a total prick.
(4) Platinum – Poor Platinum, poor, poor Platinum. I mean Tina. Whatever we’re calling her now. Until recently, she was the only female member of the Metal Men. She doesn’t even want to be human, not really. She just wants her creator, Dr. Magnus, to love her. Or do her. Whichever. Magnus is kind of a dick, why the hell did he program her to want to jump his bones all the time if he wasn’t going to take her up on it? It’s a good thing the poor tortured dear doesn’t have an advanced emotion chip, she’d fucking flip her shit and kill him if she could truly understand the reality of the situation. That’s a book I’d like to read, actually.
(3) Robotman – This Doom Patrol member was originally human, until a horrible racecar accident nearly killed him. They stuck his consciousness in a robot body, so now he’s a robot who used to be human who wants to be human again. He’s fucking emo, because even though he’d be DEAD if not for his sweet, super power enhanced Robot Body, he complains that robot senses aren’t as good as human ones. He really can’t decide whether he wants to live or die, this one, and with good reason too. He’s the only wannabe human who has always truly known what he’s missing. Even though he’s unquestionably mentally unbalanced he’s pretty much the heart and soul of the parade of freaks that is the Doom Patrol.
(2) The Vision – Marvel’s resident android and member of The Avengers. He’s got a vibranium suit. He’s married to/dating/being emo with Scarlet Witch depending on what era Marvel you’re reading. The Vision gets loads of points for somehow putting up with Wanda, cos homegirl is batshit crazy (not that I blame her. You try finding out your beloved children are actually fragments of a demon, then tell me how YOU handle it.) The Vision gets emotions and a soul, as it were, by being imprinted with a human consciousness. This is a problem when he dies because he can pretty much never get the same human to donate their soul a second time. The Vision dies a lot, and I kind of lose track, just like our #1 Robot Superhero.
(1) Red Tornado – Red Tornado achieved what all loveable androids dream of. He actually became human. He got to have real sex with his real wife. He hugged his adopted kid. Then Solomon Grundy ripped his fucking arm off and it ruined my life. Then they stuck his consciousness BACK in his robot body and he has somehow managed NOT to go on a trauma-induced killing spree, though he definitely needed a good shrink or some Robot-Prozac for a while there. I got severely verklempt about 4 times when I read The Tornado’s Path. He wins because even in a nearly depowered human form, seconds after losing an arm, he was STILL fighting Solomon Grundy, making 350 MPH whirlwinds with his good – I mean ONLY – arm.
Think I left anyone out? Think these are out of order? Blast me in the comments, dear readers.