And Also Dr. Magnus I Guess
Welcome to this week’s article! Today, we’re taking a suggestion from u/feeling_the_aster from reddit, whose username is absolutely fantastic. Also, they did a great job of picking a character that is going to make most people go”wait, who”, so that’s cool. Seriously, I know the Metal Men are pretty beloved in certain circles, and they’ve been making more and more appearances in the New 52 lately (although I guess it’s time for me to stop using that term now that Rebirth happened, huh?), but if you asked most people on the street who they are, they would assume that you’re asking them about a band of some sort, or perhaps a performance art group. On a side note, you’ll notice that this article is titled “who the hell are” as opposed to “who the hell is”. Well, that’s because the Metal Men have always been a unit, with very few exceptions, and they never truly hit a high enough level of popularity to have solo adventures for any one of them. Beyond a few brief appearances from lone Metal Men and sometimes Dr. Magnus, they just… don’t really pop up that often outside of dedicated books.
Oh, and they were in the Brave and the Bold, so there’s that. But then again, most amazing silver age things were in that show.
Without further ado, let’s fake an education in comics.
If Only They were Actually Metal
SYNOPSIS: Yeah, I got nothing for this one. Chances are if you don’t read comics or consume comic book related media at all, then you have no idea who the Metal Men are, and probably don’t care. Now, this is fine I suppose, but if you want a really obscure asspull for when you want to prove that you’re absolutely a bigger nerd than someone else, then boy howdy are the Metal Men for you. Ugh, did I just say boy howdy? Is this what getting old feels like?
Anyways, here comes the part where I tell you all about the Metal Men, I suppose.
Step One: Try Really, Really Hard Not to Make an Awful Racist Joke About This Picture
Alright, I’m just gonna say it: Platinum looks like she’s catching a glimpse of black dong for the first time, which is weird considering Cyborg’s dong is probably just a fuel pump or something. Or is that perfect for her?
Anyways, the Metal Men don’t actually have a ton of history to them, which is really, really odd, because they’ve been around since 1962. The problem seems to be, near as I can tell, that no one really knew what to do with them. Unless I’m missing a ton of books in my research this time around (and please let me know if I am, I actually kind of love these characters), they only really pop up every now and then in crossovers or the odd solo series. Even in the New 52, which kinda pushed them a bit, it was mostly people telling Magnus that they weren’t ready, Platinum spazzing out, and then another year or so of nothing. They’re in the Legends of Tomorrow book now though, so that’s something.
Dr. Will Magnus was a charming and charismatic scientist under T.O. Morrow, future super villain and all-time holder of the prestigious “Holy Shit there is NO WAY that’s Your Real Name” award.While Morrow would go on to create the Red Tornado and get up to all sorts of other shenanigans, Magnus would build something called a Responsometer, which is basically just a computer crammed into a ball and wrapped in pseudo-science. Then, he dipped those balls into various vats of molten metal, creating the Metal Men, a team made up of Gold, Iron, Lead, Mercury, Platinum, and Tin. This also created a field of science that was a fusion of chemistry and robotics, which would be named Elementics, because everything that has to do with the Metal Men is stupid in that glorious Silver Age Retrofuturism kind of way.
After creating what was basically a death squad made up of six T-1000s, Magnus would put them to work as superheroes, as well as creating a supremely creepy family dynamic with them. The best way to explain the situation would be “like the Smurfs, but with even more incest and less warm flesh”. Literally all of them wanted to bang Platinum. It was nuts.
Of course, because this was the 60s, many adventures featured Platinum being infatuated with Magnus and with him blaming her jealousy and puppy love on a faulty Responsometer, claiming that hers was making her behave like a real woman. Which, by the way, is super fucked up.
Interestingly enough, Chemo got his start as a Metal Men villain. Odd that he almost has more appearances outside of comics then they do, considering he’s a monster made out of toxic waste with no personality and the Metal Men are, again, SIX T-1000s. But hey, pop culture is weird like that. Another neat little tidbit is that pretty much every Metal Men villain is a variation on “inanimate object but as people”, including such foes as the Missile Men, the Gas Gang, and the Plastic Perils. Chances are if you’ve seen Brave and the Bold, you know of the Gas Gang, but the other ones are, shall we say, less than relevant. Although the Missile Men showed up quite recently, if you’re into that.
Remarkably, the Metal Men are actually one of the few characters to have gone on as long as they have and retained their original personalities. In all likelihood because of their underuse, they are oftentimes used as a sort of Silver Age throwback, a glimpse back into the Good Ol Days. They’re fun, old school characters, and for all the crap I give them, I think they’ve held up really well. That being said, I think their New 52 designs are way, way too busy, and I don’t understand why Tin suddenly became a hideous nightmare gremlin.
Jesus, he looks like that version of Pinnochio that needed boy flesh to become human.
So far the Metal Men managed to remain just as fun as they used to be pre-reboot, despite their 90s-tastic redesign, and personally, I think that’s just fantastic. However, I sincerely doubt that they’re going to get too much exposure beyond the Legends of Tomorrow miniseries, despite all the rumors swirling about them turning up in the upcoming Cyborg movie. On the one hand, that kind of sucks, because I absolutely love these guys, but on the other hand, it’s kind of a good thing if you want to catch up on them. Not exactly a ton of relevant reading material on them these days.
Honestly, this is pretty much all I can get you guys. I wish I had more for you, but like I said, there’s not a ton of material on these characters. Uh… They all have pretty one note personalities, but in a charming way? Some more Metal Men got created later on, but never got used all that much? I got nothing.
Oh, except for that time Doc Magnus became a Metal Man
Basically, Magnus fused together with some crazy cosmic bullshit and some of Gold’s parts. It was weird.
Sorry this was such a short, late article guys. Everything should be more or less back on track by the end of this week, maybe even with a bonus article or two to make up for lost time. Until then, stick around! Please! I’m begging you!