For the final three issues of 2001, Kirby introduced X-51, starting with “The Capture of X-51”. Seems the government has been experimenting with machines in the form of men, but found that the X-Series of robots tended to become unstable and violent. Doctor Broadhurst activates the built-in self-destruct for the robots, and they all explode. All except X-51, the robot that Doctor Abel Stack took home and raised as his son, Aaron.
Stack has given X-51 a human face, and removed the self-destruct mechanism and sends him off before the bomb can explode, staying to face it himself. The army pursues Aaron, finally capturing him, and he’s held by Colonel Kragg, who’s bitter because a previous rebel X-series robot caused him to lose and eye. Kragg removes X-51’s human face, leaving him in his cell. Having an identity conflict, X-51 is suddenly confronted by the mysterious monolith and approaches it.
Fun start to what would be a rich concept for Kirby to explore for a dozen issues. It’s also a nicely dense story compared to many of the era, with only a single splash page, which led to a story with a lot of twists and details despite the short 17-pages he was given.
Mike Royer inks the cover and story.