Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Senses-Shattering Saga of the Metal Men! Part 10!

This post coincides with the premiere of a series of Metal Men shorts for Cartoon Network's DC Nation programming block. You know, the minute-if-that shorts that they play between the shows. Oh, and they're written by Evan Dorkin and Sara Dyer, whom I mostly know from the handful of Space Ghost Coast to Coast episodes they wrote. They mentioned on twitter that their 8-year-old daughter reads all kinds of comics, including classic Metal Men, making her obviously the coolest kid ever.

Platinum isn't going to be hot for Doc in the shorts, and Doc is instead disdainful of all the Metal Men for their emotions. Jeez, as if his relationship with Platinum wasn't sad enough. I do kind of wonder how Platinum will fare without her defining personality trait, but that's for another time. Or is it?

Again, brilliant in its simplicity. A lot of Silver Age comics exaggerated plot points on their covers, or made stuff up wholesale, but you don't need to embellish a single detail to make an exciting Metal Men cover -- probably because Bob Kanigher is absolutely bonkers.

Now, "monstrous bad guy wants the hot girl" is a pretty cliche story, sure. But think about it, if you could throw the Metal Men around like dolls, you don't need any of them as your servants for their powers, and while Platinum isn't about to win a Miss Personality contest, she's, you know, a girl, which is clearly important to this guy.

So the story begins with Doc hard at work in his lab, with the Metal Men wondering what he's working on. It turns out to be a new responsometer, to replace the 'defective' one Platinum has. Doc insists on this replacement, even though everybody, even Mercury, would rather Platinum stay just as she is. Nobody but Platinum says this to his face, of course, but knowing Doc I imagine he'd have put the new responsometer in just the same.

But either something went wrong with the procedure or Doc messed up the unit itself, because when it's installed, Platinum has no feelings for Doc, but fawns over Gold.

I've probably said it before, but Doc really does have some affection for Platinum. He certainly seems upset when she beams about how amazing Gold is. As if Doc weren't having enough trouble, his latest nameless hot girlfriend leaves him when he won't stop fretting over his robots, because obviously they're much more important to him than her.

But enough of that, it's time to hit the beach! Is it me or does Doc mostly treat the Metal Men like his kids? Hell, I don't even get what he ever intended them for in the first place now that I think about it, if not to keep him company. Not that I'm complaining, of course. Anyway: Metal Men sailboat time. Yeah, sailboat, with Iron as the keel no less. 

Naturally, this provides the perfect context for their encounter with that living seamine. It's about the size of the sailboat, which makes me wonder how they got so close without anybody seeing it. On the cover it talks like it's lusting after Platinum, but it actually wants Gold. Oh, snap, and now Gold has emotional significance to Platinum -- conflict! The mine uses its chain-arms to pull the boat under. 

And this seems as good a time as any to mention that Lead got left on the beach after launching the boat with that ramp form, as evidently nobody thought they could use a rudder. 

This seems like a good time for that submarine form Gold took the last time Doc was in danger of drowning, but instead Tin turns into a diving bell and Mercury hauls them to the surface as a torpedo. Platinum and Iron stay behind to see to Gold, who is the only one the Floating Fury wants. It turns out the mine is female, which is why it wants Gold in the first place. Iron refuses to hurt a lady, so Platinum winds herself around the thing while Iron helps Gold escape to the surface.

The Floating Fury calls for backup, and another of her kind arrives, calling her its Queen. It's love at first sight when the new guy sees Platinum, meaning he's the one from the cover. Platinum gets away, and the Queen blames her for stealing Gold away. She vows to give Platinum to her lackey as punishment, while keeping Gold for herself. Also, she goes to meet Neptune, god of the sea, seeking his approval and aid. No, for real.

Yikes, he's oddly sympathetic to her plight. He also promises his personal aid, via his manipulation of the waves themselves. Basically, the Metal Men are now up against "what if Aquaman was a bomb"? And what the queen does with these new 'powers' is amazing; she commands a bunch of sharks to line up and bite each other's tails so she can use them as a giant harpoon.

Holy crap this comic is amazing. Tin quickly forms a shield to protect Doc. However, the shark-poon is not only "phantastic", but functional, as it easily pierces through Tin, who acts like he did a classic Metal Man heroic sacrifice but seems to be okay in a minute.  Iron forms another shield that the sharks bounce right off of, causing the Floating Fury to summon up a tidal wave to crush the Metal Men instead. 

Gold thinks quickly and comes up with a creative plan to save, uh, most of them; he turns into saucers for Mercury, Platinum, Tin, and Doc to sit in. Iron then tosses the saucers towards the shore, skipping them across the water like a stone. Naturally, this is another heroic sacrifice, as he's left stranded on Tin's floating corpse, rusting and sinking when the wave collapses onto him.

Everyone escapes to the flying saucer, but obviously thoughts turn to Iron and how to save him. But as they consider what they can do, a horrible storm kicks up, knocking them out of the flying saucer and into a huge whirlpool. Naturally, this is the work of the Floating Furies.

When Doc thinks he's about to drown, all he can think of is Platinum and how he wished he hadn't changed her. Aaawwwww. Also, Platinum's new responsometer is so busted that unlike the other Metal Men, she attracts lightning. This works to their advantage, as when grabbed by the Floating Furies, she deliberately allows herself to be struck by lightning, blowing the mine robots to pieces. With that done, Doc heads a successful salvage expedition to recover the remains of Platinum and Iron. After they get their repairs in the Metal Recovery Room, Doc replaces Platinum's responsometer again, returning her to normal.

All in all: oh god yes. From any kind of rational standpoint this was ridiculous, but from any other standpoint this comic rules, a lot.

1 comment:

  1. I recall in a later issue, the Metal Men all get new responsiometers (wouldn't that make them new Metal Men?),can't control their powers, Doc is shocked into a coma, and the MM become hunted.hounded,hated. Tin's pretty girlfriend is now missing and this is the situation for the rest of the series. Doc and everything else has returned to normal with #46 ,but Doc's sanity is never sure anymore. DC has decided that he is bipolar, Green Lantern gay, etc.