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Review – Metal Men #1 (DC Comics)

Metal Men #1 (DC Comics) variant cover at (detail) by Philip Tan and Marc Deering
Overall
8.7/10
8.7/10
  • Writing - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Art - 9/10
    9/10
  • Overall - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
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Metal Men #1

Writers: Dan DiDio & Shane Davis
Penciler: Shane Davis
Colorist: Jason Wright
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover Art: Shane Davis & Michelle Delecki
Publisher: DC Comics
Maturity Rating: Teen
Release Date: October 16th, 2019

The Metal Men return! Super-scientist Will Magnus muses about his role as the creator of the super-androids, as secrets from the past are brought to light. At the same time, a new robot arrives on the scene and threatens to disturb the calm.

An Ingot Walks Into a Bar in Metal Men #1

Though they are a relatively obscure superhero team, the Metal Men offer an interesting glimpse into comic book history. They debuted in 1963, about two years after the Fantastic Four and around the same time as Iron Man. Although they had their series that ran for about 60 issues in the 1960s, they have never been as popular as similar characters at Marvel. After all, a genius inventor with robots does sound like a Marvel hero or two. Even in the 1970s when the Vision and Jocasta were popular at Marvel, DC still couldn’t figure out how to use their android heroes. They have languished in the background of DC since decades, with a new attempt to revive them every now and then. This series represents the most recent version of the team, but the question is, does it work? And is there anything to distinguish this from the previous versions? Let’s find out in Metal Men #1.

Writing

Metal Men #1 (DC Comics) Cover at by Shane Davis and Michelle Delecki
Metal Men #1 (DC Comics) Cover art by Shane Davis and Michelle Delecki

The setup to this series shows that a different approach is being attempted right from the start. As the creator of the Metal Men, Will Magnus, is not superpowered himself, he is usually not front and centre of the stories. In this case, the focus is on him. Seemingly borrowing a page from Marvel’s treatment of its scientists, he is shown to be much more human. He has made mistakes, and those mistakes continue to haunt him. This approach makes it evident that the writers, Dan DiDio and Shane Davis, have a good concept for this miniseries. About halfway through the issue there is an additional plot twist which works well. It incorporates in another fictional metal from DC in an interesting way. 

Art

One gets the impression that comic book artists probably enjoy their profession the most when the stories get more fantastical. It is, after all, probably more fun to draw an alternate dimension than real life. The same holds true in Metal Men #1 with android of various colors who can mold their bodies as they wish. It seems to be an excellent playground for talented artist and Shane Davis (pencils) and Jason Wright (colors) deliver a polished end product. The androids look both human and bizarre when need be, and the various colors of the heroes help them to jump off the page. 

Conclusion

Metal Men #1 starts out with a novel approach to the Metal Men. Yet, at the same time, it doesn’t really seem to be breaking new ground. It works well if a famous super-scientist gets introspective, but that is because so much time has been put into making them appear to be viable heroes. Will Magnus doesn’t necessarily fit that bill. However, the plot development at the end of the issue really does add a lot potential to this series. The creative team, who seemed to be walking a regular path, were instead, evidently, just taking their time to show that they were, indeed, thinking outside of the box. The end result is satisfying, and increases the appeal of a second issue. 

[Editor’s note: A correction has been made to credit the pencils to Shane Davis; many apologies to Mr. Davis!]

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