|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 and Platinum could stretch, flatten or spin into long 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 (AprilâMay 1965), and was later (issue #15, AugustâSeptember 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, 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.
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). The brother of Doctor 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.
- The Metal Men feature in a combined form called Alloy appears in the limited series Kingdom Come (#1â4 May-Aug. 1996) and in a possible future in Superman: Man of Steel 1000000 (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 other media
- The Metal Men appeared in two episodes of the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008â2011): "Clash of the Metal Men" (Gold voiced by Lex Lang, Lead voiced by Bill Fagerbakke, Platinum voiced by Hynden Walch, Mercury voiced by Corey Burton, Iron voiced by Brian Bloom, and Tin voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) 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.
- The Metal Men have a brief cameo appearance in the animated film Justice League: The New Frontier (2008).
- 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).
- Barry Sonnenfeld is in talks with Warner Bros. to make a live action version of the film.
- 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
- 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.
- 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)
- Exclusive: Barry Sonnenfeldâs Secret Comic-Book Movie Is ...
- DC Entertainment Chief Reveals What's Next for Superman, Wonder Woman and 5 Superheroes Who Deserve Movies (Q&A)
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