Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Senses-Shattering Saga of the Metal Men! Part 11

In this exciting issue, another group of villains recurs! I'd say that sort of thing should happen more often, but just think about the kinds of villains we've seen so far.

Now, the Missile Men were the bad guys of the first issue, which I didn't cover because I thought it was sort of boring. In any case, they're the identical clones of a robot named X-1, who was trying to build a mate but could only create duplicates of himself. He ended up trying to steal Platinum, duh.

There's a montage showing how beloved the Metal Men are -- they even trade autographs with the Beatles, who are starstruck upon meeting them. Everybody loves the Metal Men... so why is a US Army tank firing on them?

Not wanting to hurt anyone, the Metal Men escape in a Lead-and-Iron car, but have to fend off an air attack from a military plane first. Tin, I feel I should mention, tries to stop some missiles by forming a barrier, but they go right through him, forcing Iron to pick up the slack. I sort of wish Tin weren't so pseudo-suicidal; besides, showing off how relatively weak he is comes at the expense of showcasing his good points.

Gold thinks the only thing to do right now is to split up, giving their new enemies too many targets. Sounds a little callous to me, and like it would leave everyone vulnerable to ambush, but he's the leader so whatever. Everyone agrees to this and heads their separate ways, but Mercury soon runs into Iron again, and it's not a happy reunion.

It's revealed that the Metal Men had previously captured a lone Missile Man and brought it back to the lab. This Missile Man was a scout sent by Missile Man scientists; what connection they have to X-1 isn't clear, but these guys have their own society and have never been to Earth before. Based on the camera feed from their scout, they think Earth's inhabitants are all like the Metal Men. They also make the scout explode so its secrets can't be discovered, injuring Doc in the process.

The scout's camera was intentionally left undamaged, and upon seeing that only Doc was hurt, the Missile Men decide to take care of the tough Earthlings by making them look bad, turning Earth's other inhabitants against them. To this end, they create evil, mute duplicates of the Metal Men and send them to Earth to wreak havoc, all while the real Metal Men are mostly concerned with helping Doc's recovery. I'm sort of ashamed to say that this immediately reminded me of the "Cryptonite" infected mean Superman from Superman III. Or the mirror Ultiman from Big Bang Comics #3. Except the evil Metal Men are actually hurting people, I guess. Oh, and the story loops back to the Metal Men being attacked by that tank.

And then we're back at Mercury being splattered by Iron. Mercury warns the other Metal Men, who evidently didn't get very far after they agreed to split up, just as their evil doppelgangers show their faces. In fighting games, if the computer is the same character as you, they'll use the Player 2 color scheme, but these guys are totally identical to the originals. Now, you might think a fight between these two groups would get confusing, but not the way it's shown here.

I wanted to say something about this on the cover but look at the busted evil Metal Men; cogs, springs? These guys have solid moving parts, they aren't just solid hunks of smart metal like the T-1000? Well, I guess it looks like Mercury is. Man, whatever. The real Metal Men make fairly quick work of their bad guy counterparts, but the Missile Men decide to make their play at that very moment. Note: The Missile Men are more like Bullet Bills than actual missiles. Platinum is knocked out by one as the others form a barrier to protect Doc. It's not going so well, possibly because their first line of defense is a Mercury-Tin volleyball net.

With Platinum and Lead incapacitated, Gold has the bright idea to magnetize Iron, which will draw the Missile Men to him for easy disposal. Mercury, Tin, and Gold wrap themselves around him (but pretend they're alloying with him) to make it so.

Wait, did I say "easy disposal"? It turns out this actually won't be so easy. Tin thinks they'd have to shake the stars to get rid of the Missile Men. Iron ends up running into a huge gas tank instead, causing a huge explosion that destroys the Missile Men and leaves only a few salvageable traces of Iron, Tin, Gold, and Mercury. 

Jeez, this one ends on a somber note: with Doc sitting morosely in the Metal Recovery Room as his prized creations are reformed. The whole third act of this issue was emotional for Doc; he refused to leave the Metal Men (esp. Platinum) behind earlier, valuing their lives when they themselves didn't.

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