|The Metal Men|
The Metal Men: (left to right) Gold, Lead, Iron (back), Platinum, Dr. William "Will" Magnus, Mercury,Tin.
|First appearance||Showcase #37 (March–April 1962)|
|Created by||Robert Kanigher|
The Metal Men are a group of superheroes that appear in 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; strongman Iron; slow-witted and loyal Lead; hot-headed Mercury; self-doubting and insecure Tin; and Platinum (also called "Tina"), who believed that 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–October 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 (December 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 (September 1968) and shortly after the team adopted human identities in issue #37 (May 1969) the title was cancelled in mid-story with issue #41 (December 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 during the DC Implosion.
Until #21, the Metal Men appeared to be the sole super-heroes in a separate fictional universe, with no other DC characters appearing or mentioned. 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 (September 1964), #66 (July 1966), #74 (November 1967), #103 (November 1972), #113 (July 1974), #121 (September 1975), #135–136 (July–September 1977) and #187 (June 1982). This trend was repeated with Superman in DC Comics Presents #4 (December 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 (October 1993 – January 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, December 2005 – June 2006, Villains United #1–6, July–December 2005), battling the O.M.A.C. cyborgs and acting as part of a superhero strike force assembled to protect the city of Metropolis from the Secret Society of Super Villains. Several of the Metal Men appeared in Justice League of America (vol. 2) #1 (August 2006), with the events of the limited series eventually revised and presented as a delusion suffered by Doctor Magnus in 52, #22 (October 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 October 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, September–November 2009), and co-starred in the first seven issues of Doom Patrol (vol. 5, October 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 (November–December 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–August 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.
Metal Men #24 (February, 1967)
Nothing is known about the origins of the Balloon Man; he simply appeared one day and began a series of daring robberies. He managed to thwart the Metal Men on several occasions, until they used intense heat to reduce him to steam, apparently killing him.
In other media
- In Gotham episode "The Balloonman" appears Davis Lamond (portrayed by Dan Bakkedahl), was a social worker for Gotham City Juvenile Services and the vigilante dubbed "The Balloonman" by the press. Davis Lamond spent 15 years as a social worker. After witnessing the corrupt inner workings of Gotham, he decided to take it upon himself to cleanse the city. As the Balloonman, Davis killed corrupt politicians, police officers, and anyone else he deemed deserved the punishment of death. His victims were Ronald Danzer, a businessman who had scammed countless people into a Ponzi scheme; Lt. Bill Cranston, corrupt GCPD detective prone to violence; and Cardinal Quinn, a priest accused of several counts of child molestation. After discovering Davis's whereabouts, Detectives James Gordon and Harvey Bullock apprehended Lamond, though not before he was almost killed the same way he had murdered his earlier victims. Upon being caught, Gordon asked Davis who his next victim was, but Davis stated that it didn't matter, meaning that anyone in Gotham could be a victim, implying that everyone in Gotham is corrupt.
- The Balloonman appears in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.
The Metal Men feature in a combined form called Alloy in the 1996 limited series Kingdom Come.
In the possible future depicted in Superman: The Man of Steel #1,000,000 (November 1998), Superman tracks down Platinum, one of the few individuals to have survived all the way into the future, to question her about the true history of current foe Solaris, reasoning that Platinum will have recorded all the data on Solaris but be able to relay it from a perspective that Superman can more easily comprehend.
In the alternate timeline of JLA: The Nail, in which Superman was never discovered by the Kents, the Metal Men appear to attack Wonder Woman after she is framed for the destruction of the White House. Their actions and her words suggest that they have been reprogrammed to act as more conventional robots despite existing as heroes in this world, with Wonder Woman pleading with them to recognize that she is not responsible for the attack and the Metal Men making such comments as 'Unit Tin requires assistance' and 'Unit Lead converting to Gun Mode'. In the end, Wonder Woman is forced to destroy the Metal Men with their own bullets as the ricochet off her bracelets damages her attackers. They reappear in the sequel, JLA: Another Nail, now showing their more characteristic demeanor, alongside Magnus as he analyzes the Amazo android before it is stolen by Star Sapphire, Black Orchid and Powergirl.
In the Tangent Comics book Metal Men #1 (Dec. 1997) features a covert ops group called the "Metal Men" composed of six human operatives: leader Marcus Moore, Samuel Schwartz, Carl Walters, Rey Quinones, Francis Powell, and John Holliday.
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
- The Metal Men Archives Vol. 2: Metal Men #6–20, 400 pages, ISBN 1-4012-3867-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: 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 appear in the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold, with Gold 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. They appear in the episodes "Clash of the Metal Men", "The Super-Batman of Planet X!" and Part 2 of the double episode "The Siege of Starro!".
- 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.
- They appear in DC Super Hero Girls, in the movie Intergalactic Games, with Lead voiced by Khary Payton, Iron voiced by Greg Cipes, and Platinum reprised by Grey DeLisle.
- 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.
- An alternate universe version of the Metal Men are the secondary antagonists of Justice League: Gods and Monsters with Platinum (Tina Magnus) voiced by Grey DeLisle and Tin voiced again by Dee Bradley Baker.
- Platinum is the only member of the Metal Men that appears in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
- Will Magnus appears in DC Universe Online.
- 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 (January 1996)
- Justice League vol. 2 #28 (April 2014). DC Comics
- Swamp Thing vol. 5 #36 (November 2014). DC Comics
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