Wednesday, November 29, 2006

(Not actually an installment of) Actually Essential Storylines: The Metal Men

This week’s issue of 52 featured the origin of The Metal Men, written (as each origin is) by Mark Waid and drawn by artist Duncan Rouleau. Given what a major role Dr. Will Magnus has played thus far in the series, it’s high time they got around to explaining just who the hell he and his robotic creations actually are.

Unfortunately, I’m not well versed enough in Metal Man history to present the regular “Actually Essential Storylines” feature on the team. Turning my longboxes upside down and shaking yielded few results and, aside from a few random guest-appearances here and there, the closest thing in my personal library to a Metal Men story is their guest appearance in a few chapters of Showcase Presents: Metamorpho Vo. 1.

Apparently, their past isn’t terribly important anyway, as the only things DC lists under “Essential Storylines” is Metal Men Archives Vol. 1 and 52, the series you’re already holding an issue of in your hand.

Looking at the origin itself, it’s clear that Magnus is the star of the Metal Men in the post-Infinite Crisis DCU, as the Metal Men’s names and powers aren’t even all mentioned in the story. As always, it may also be worth noting what Waid leaves out—no mention of the mid-90’s revamp, in which the robots’ personalities were based on those of real people, nor of Magnus’ time as “Veridium” or as part of “Enginehead” in the short-lived series by the same name.

Waid does manage to give the team their very own, distinct mission statement here, which makes this origin a bit of a manifesto for the team—“The Metal Men specialize in defending earth from the unique menace of cutting-edge science gone wrong.”

Rouleau, for his part, does such a fine job in designing the characters and visually imbuing each of them with visible personalities (and making that “responsometer” look so cool) that putting him on a full-length Metal Men story seems like a foregone conclusion.

I’ll be back next week with a full installment of “Actually Essential Storylines.” In the meantime, feel free to peruse the archives:


Black Canary


Booster Gold


Green Lantern Hal Jordan


Elongated Man

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