Metal Men: Elements Of Change by Dan Dido, Shane Davis and Jason Wright (graphic novel review).

With a potential ‘Metal Men’ TV series in the works, I thought I’d look at their latest 2020 12-part mini-series collected in this volume, ‘Metal Men: Elements Of Change’ by Dan Dido, Shane Davis and Jason Wright. Other creative talent was involved but I suspect there wouldn’t be much space left on the cover. It does appear that this is in the transition into the New 52 version of the DC Universe.

‘Metal Men’ is one of DC Comics’ quirky teams, originally created in the 1962. Oddly, their appearances after their comicbook cancellation was sporadic with only a run by Walt Simonson in the late 1970s drawing (sic) attention and that I’ve reviewed as a collected volume. It’s also a tough team to write. Not so much because the characters are badly defined, far from it, but they need a quirky writing and a load of humour. These robot AIs have personalities carried in responsometers and robot bodies made of malleable metals created by Will Magnus.

Gold is the team leader, Iron the strong one, Lead the protector, the abrasive hot-headed Mercury, the timid or less so this time around Tin and the glamorous Platinum, the only one to have a shortened name of Tina and a crush on Magnus. This version belongs to the New 52 so some changes are likely, although here it looks like some of it was before the events of this series. However, from a different dimension a sentient version of the Nth metal arrives on Earth and a fearful Magnus tries to keep them from his Metal Men until a menace forces his hand, although Gold’s responsometer is destroyed, effectively killing him or does it as the Nth Man resurrects him.

For those who don’t know, Nth metal reacts to the thought of the people who touch it. Thangarians use it principally to manipulate the wings of their Hawk police. In the 30th century, the Legion Of Super-Heroes use it in their flight rings. None of this is applicable to the Nth Man as he slowly enforces changes in the Metal Men.

There are some nefarious plots and resurrections of old villains like Chemo and Plutonium along the way. Magnus also creates a new team based on gases although you do have to wonder how they can maintain their physical form. There is also an apparent lack of chemical knowledge of the series creators. A robot made of sodium would immediately explode in the presence of water.

Without going too spoiler, there are a few pages showing the Metal Men’s earlier bodies and these aren’t even them. In some respects, it does mean whichever your favourite Metal Men team was they are no longer around and confined to museum status. Alas the current team aren’t really a patch on them which will raise interesting questions regarding a TV series as to which team will be the prototypes (sic).

Although there are a lot of reveals in the 12-part series, you do have to wonder what will survive in the next DC Universe. It does raise a puzzling question as to who or what are the real Metal Men now, but the same could be said for any of DC Comics characters.

GF Willmetts

February 2022

(pub: DC Comics, 2021. 296 page graphic novel. Price: varies when I bought it. ISBN: 978-1-77950-808-9)

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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