|The Metal Men|
The Metal Men: (left to right) Gold, Lead, Iron (back), Platinum, Dr. William "Will" Magnus, Mercury,Tin.
|First appearance||Showcase #37
|Created by||Robert Kanigher
The Metal Men are fictional characters that appear in comic books published by DC Comics. The characters first appeared in Showcase #37 and were created by writer Robert Kanigher and penciller Ross Andru. Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the characters have appeared in comic books and other DC Comics-related products such as animated television series, clothing, figurines and trading cards.
1960s and 1970s
Established as advanced artificially intelligent robots, the Metal Men were introduced in the comic book Showcase #37 as "last minute" filler. Created by scientist Dr. William "Will" Magnus, the six robots were field leader Gold, strong man Iron, slow-witted and loyal Lead, hot-headed Mercury, self-doubting and insecure Tin, and Platinum (also called "Tina"), who believed she was a real woman and was in love with her creator. The group's personalities mirrored their namesake metals, being dictated by devices called "responsometers". Each Metal Man also possessed abilities that reflected the traits of their namesake metal: Gold could stretch his form almost infinitely, Iron was super strong. Lead could block harmful radiation by morphing into thick shields, Mercury could melt and pass through small spaces before reforming, while Platinum and Tin could stretch, flatten or spin into fine filaments
The characters reappeared in the following three issues of Showcase (#38 - 40, June. Aug. & Oct. 1962) and proved popular enough to warrant a reappearance in their own eponymous title. First published in May 1963, the title ran on a bi-monthly schedule with original stories until Metal Men #41 (Dec. 1969). A second female robot (created by Tin) was introduced in issue #13 (April–May 1965), and was later (issue #15, August–September 1965) christened as "Nameless", last appearing in issue #32. The tone changed with issue #33 (Sept. 1968) and shortly after the team adopted human identities in issue #37 (May 1969) the title was cancelled in mid-story, the last issue being #41 (Dec. 1969).
Issues #42, 43 and 44 (March, May and July 1973) reprinted earlier Showcase appearances and the first issue, with the title then on hiatus until returning with original numbering in issue #45 (May 1976). The bi-monthly publishing schedule continued until issue #56 (March 1978), when the title and many others were cancelled due to the DC Implosion.
Until #21, the Metal Men appeared to be the only super-heroes,none of the DC heroes showing up to help fight the menaces or even referred to. Then the Metal Men became part of the shared universe of the DC heroes, even though they continued to fight their own foes (such as Chemo)
The Metal Men co-starred with other DC heroes such as Atom, Metamorpho and Batman in The Brave and the Bold #55 (Sept. 1964), #66 (July 1966), #74 (Nov. 1967), #103 (Nov. 1972), #113 (July 1974), #121 (Sept. 1975), #135-136 (July-Sept. 1977) and #187 (June 1982). This trend was repeated with Superman in DC Comics Presents #4 (Dec. 1978) and #70 (June 1984), and an appearance in Showcase #100 (May 1978).
The group returned in an eponymous four issue limited series (Metal Men, vol. 2, #1 - 4, Oct. 1993 - Jan. 1994) that featured a retcon of the characters' origin story. A laboratory accident transfers the intellects and personalities of Doctor Magnus' brother Mike, his fiancee Sharon, laboratory workers Redmond Wilde and Randy Pressman, Thomas Tinkham and a pizza-delivery man named Jack to blank robots (Gold, Platinum, Mercury and Iron, Tin and Lead respectively). During a battle, Gold is killed and Doctor Magnus mortally wounded, being forced to transfer his personality into a robot known as Veridium. Magnus then becomes the leader of the Metal Men. Lead later makes a brief appearance as a worker at a superhero bar, and is temporarily damaged while protecting civilians.
The Metal Men then reappeared during the Infinite Crisis storyline (Infinite Crisis #1 - 7, Dec. 2005 - June 2006, Villains United #1 - 6, July - Dec. 2005), battling the O.M.A.C.S cyborgs and acting as part of a superhero strike force assembled to protect the city of Metropolis from the Secret Society of Supervillains. Several of the Metal Men appeared in Justice League of America #1 (vol. 2, Aug. 2006), with the events of the limited series eventually revised and presented as a delusion suffered by Doctor Magnus in 52, #22 (Oct. 2006).
The entire group reappeared in Superman/Batman #34-36 (May, July-Aug. 2007), having been rebuilt and upgraded and including a new female member, the sarcastic Copper. Employed by Lucius Fox as security for WayneTech, the Metal Men temporarily fall under the influence of Brainiac. The group starred in another eponymous limited series, running for eight issues (Metal Men vol. 3, #1 - 8 Oct. 2007 - June 2008). David Magnus, another brother of Will and Mike Magnus attempts to avert a catastrophic future and prevent the creation of the group, and uses a device stolen from the villain T. O. Morrow to change the Metal Men into evil, radioactive versions based on other metals, called the Death Metal Men (Uranium (Iron), Strontium (Mercury), Thorium (Platinum), Radium (Gold), Lithium (Copper), Polonium (Lead), and Fermium (Tin)). Doctor Magnus, however, is able to reverse the process and with the Metal Men and the assistance of the alien robot L-Ron, defeat his brother.
The Metal Men also featured in a stand-alone story in the weekly publication Wednesday Comics (#1 - 12, Sept. - Nov. 2009), and co-starred in the first seven issues of Doom Patrol (vol. 5, Oct. 2009 - April 2010). This series was later reprinted in DC Comics Presents: Metal Men 100 Page Spectacular (2011).
The Metal Men appeared in Justice League: Generation Lost #10-11 (Nov.- Dec. 2010). Captured by villain Maxwell Lord, the Metal Men are reprogrammed and believe themselves to be humans living in a magical fantasy world. At Lord's behest, the brainwashed Metal Men attack the members of the new Justice League International (thinking them monsters), and merge into their alternate universe persona Alloy (from the limited series Kingdom Come (#1 - 4, May - Aug. 1996)), but are eventually defeated.
In The New 52, a 2011 reboot of the DC Comics universe, the Metal Men were created by Doctor Magnus but subsequently disappeared. Cyborg locates Magnus and learns the scientist was tasked by the military with the creation of a rescue team that could enter toxic environments. Although successful, Magnus learns the military intends to use the Metal Men as assassins and the group flee and take refuge in his apartment. When the entity Chemo is created (on account of a prototype responsometer created by Magnus being thrown into a vat of chemicals by a thief), the Metal Men fought Chemo to protect Will Magnus and the local population, and while successful are thought destroyed before eventually reappearing in an issue of Swamp Thing..
- The Metal Men feature in a combined form called Alloy appears in the 1996 limited series Kingdom Come, and in a possible future in Superman: Man of Steel #1,000,000 (Nov. 1998).
- Tangent Comics: Metal Men #1 (Dec. 1997) features a covert ops group called the "Metal Men" composed of six human operatives.
- The Metal Men of "Earth-44" (robotic versions of the Justice League and led by "Doc Tornado" a human version of the android Red Tornado) feature in the limited series Final Crisis (#1-7, July 2008 - March 2009).
- In the "Batman Beyond" comics that share the DCAU continuity, The Metal Men are revealed to have been deactivated around the time the Justice League was fighting CADMUS. It is revealed by an elderly Bruce Wayne that Doc Magnus was "recruited" by Project: CADMUS, who tried to force him to build an army of Metal Men to destroy the Justice League. Magnus had seen it coming and preemptively deactivated his creations, breaking their bodies down into simple objects he scattered around and their responsometers hidden with people the doctor trusted. Revived by the anarchist Rebel-1 and her Undercloud organization in their combined Alloy form, the Metal Men were forced to rampage against their will until the new Batman, Terry McGinnis and his friend Max were able to disrupt the control frequency and allow the Metal Men to restore themselves. When Bruce revealed their creator's fate, the Metal Men wondered what to do with themselves until Bruce told them they could continue Magnus' plans for them to protect the people of Earth, even providing them with the Injustice Gang's old satellite base to use as a home.
- The Metal Men Archives Vol. 1: Showcase #37-40, Metal Men #1-5, 244 pages, ISBN 1-4012-0774-X
- Showcase Presents: Metal Men Vol. 1: Showcase #37-40, Brave and the Bold #55, Metal Men 1-16, 528 pages, ISBN 1-4012-1559-9
- Showcase Presents: Metal Men Vol. 2: Showcase #37-40, Brave and the Bold #66, Metal Men #16-36, 528 pages, ISBN 1-4012-1976-4
- Metal Men: Metal Men #1-8, 200 pages, ISBN 1-4012-2212-9
In other media
- The Metal Men appeared in three episodes of the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold: "Clash of the Metal Men", "The Super-Batman of Planet X!" and Part 2 of the double episode "The Siege of Starro!". Gold is voiced by Lex Lang, Lead by Bill Fagerbakke, Platinum by Hynden Walch, Mercury by Corey Burton, Iron by Brian Bloom, and Tin by Dee Bradley Baker
- The Metal Men appear in their self-titled shorts of DC Nation Shorts, with Gold and Lead voiced by Tom Kenny, Platinum and Tin voiced by Hynden Walch, and Mercury and Iron voiced by Corey Burton.
- The Metal Men make a cameo appearance in the animated film Justice League: The New Frontier.
- Barry Sonnenfeld is in talks with Warner Bros. to make a live action film version of the Metal Men.
- The Metal Men are the secondary antagonists of the alternate universe film Justice League: Gods and Monsters, where Will Magnus intends to erase independent human thought after he beats his wife to death in a fit of rage, creating Platinum as a 'twin' to conceal his crime; Tin is a basic servant robot, and he creates three other unnamed robots to impersonate and frame the Justice League of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.
- Platinum appears in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
- Merchandise has included a collector's plate by Alex Ross, a PVC figure set, 2008 HeroClix "Crisis" set and DC Universe Classics line (Iron, Gold and Mercury), with the rest of the team (Lead, and a two-pack of Platinum and Tin) released as part of the DC Universe Signature Series.
- McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1960s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9.
Writer/editor Robert Kanigher and artist Ross Andru put a then-modern-day spin on robots with the exploits of comics' first "heavy metal" group, the Metal Men.
- The DC Comics Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley Limited. 2004. p. 201. ISBN 0-7566-0592-X.
- "De Re Metallica: The Metal Men". Rutgers University. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
- Voger, Mark (2006). The Dark Age: Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 134. ISBN 978-1-893905-53-5.
- "Guy Gardner Warrior" #38 (Jan. 1996)
- Justice League vol. 2 #28 (April 2014). DC Comics
- Swamp Thing vol. 5 #36 (Nov. 2014). DC Comics
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