Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Senses-Shattering Saga of the Metal Men! Part 14!

Right off the bat I have to say this is an amazing cover by any standard you could possibly imagine. And after reading ahead, this might be my favorite issue so far.

The issue opens with the Metal Men checking out their fan mail, specifically all the responses they got for a name for Tin's tin girlfriend. Mercury doesn't see the point in this and suggests the name 'Nameless', which would eventually stick, but my favorite proposed name comes from Frances Vorberg of Grant's Pass, Or. -- "Tinkle". Lead likes that one, too. Tin just calls her 'Beautiful', but she says she's not uncomfortable with 'Nameless'. Anyway, Doc gets a letter specifically addressed to him, and it turns out  to be a death threat.

A weird acronym and a smoking letter? Yeah, and you know what that means? Because, not to spoil it or anything, but writer Bob Kanigher really used the self-destructing message as an means of murder -- or attempted murder, in this case, as Platinum shoves Doc behind Lead and smothers the blast with her body. Doc, as usual when this happens to her, is super regretful of the way he treated her, and for once he's pretty nice to her for the  rest of the issue.

Doc and the Metal Men vow to bring B.O.L.T.S. to justice, and name themselves the Metal Men from N.U.T.S. for this purpose. Yeah, do you see what this is about? It's a Man from U.N.C.L.E. thing, although in the loosest sense possible -- acronyms and evil plans are about as far as this gets. Later, Doc attends a robotics expo, when a demonstration goes wrong and the robots go haywire.

The crazed robots crab Doc and take him somewhere. As tends to be the case for fictional robots, no matter how primitive or what task they were designed for, these guys are super strong and bulletproof, so police can't stop them. Soon Doc is face to face with the source of all his troubles -- B.O.L.T.S.!

Doc thinks this guy is the head of B.O.L.T.S., but nobody else from his organization ever really shows up and he's mostly referred to as 'B.O.L.T.S." for the rest of the issue. He alludes to his creation 'behind the Iron Curtain' and his goal of destroying democracy, though. Not to nitpick, comrades, but it seems to me that, despite all the extra space for computing power, this is just about the most conspicuous spy in the history of ever.

Oh, and he's also kind of an anti-human, uh, racist or whatever, touting himself and all robots as superior to any human. Thus, he also plans to take over the rest of the world once he's finished with the West. In any case, the Metal Men show up in the flying saucer just as things start to look really hairy for Doc. Iron knocks the big guy down with a Metal Men bola and tries to fight off the robot minions.

They keep coming at him until he flattens them to the ground with huge press arms. This rescue attempt is cut short when B.O.L.T.S. emits a smokescreen from what I guess is his mouth in order to cover his escape.

Obviously, this isn't the last they've seen of him. In fact, Doc meets up with him again in about three pages -- he was on a date but got ditched, and was ambushed by B.O.L.T.S. on the way home. I say 'ambushed', but obviously I mean "B.O.L.T.S. was standing in the middle of the road; Doc could see him a mile away but just kept driving right towards him anyway." Still, this is a perfect opportunity for intense spy action, in which the Metal Men have no place!

You know, I wasn't having a great time today, but now I totally am. Thanks so much, Bob Kanigher, you crazy man. Sadly, rocket fire proves ineffective, and Doc is taken captive. He calls the Metal Men via another spy-type guy gadget built into his car, and they rush ineffectually to his aid. Everybody lies helpless on a car crusher when 'Nameless' shows up, having lagged behind, and B.O.L.T.S. is immediately, uh, smitten with her. What-ever.

Gotta go with 'Beautiful' over there, anybody who's into her is off his rocker. Or stabilizer, whatever. And yes, that includes Tin, he's a real weirdo when it comes to his ladyfriend. Of course, this is just an excuse for her to be significant to the issue even though she isn't even on the cover. He chases he endlessly until he does something uncharacteristically stupid. Well, maybe he was always stupid, his plans never seemed that clever. Still, I wouldn't have pegged him the type to die like Frank Grimes.

And so Nameless/Beautiful/Seventh Wheel saves the day by accident, and everyone congratulates her as if she meant to do it. Jeez, Kanigher, stop trying to get this new character over with the audience, huh? What's wrong with just making a robot girl out of a new metal, for starters? Anyway, after everyone's all better and back at the lab, Tin starts calling his galpal 'Beautiful', but she accepts the name 'Nameless' from everybody else. Goddamn I hate this stupid character and her horrifying relationship with Tin.

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