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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

1st Issue Special 3 - Metamorpho

Metamorpho gets the spotlight in 1st Issue Special 3 (June 1975), with a story by Bob Haney and Ramona Fradon. This was the same creative team that originated the character, which makes it so strange that this just doesn't feel much like a Metamorpho story. There is nothing very special about the villain, and Metamorpho really doesn't make a lot of use out of his powers.  I mean, looking at it again, he does. But it still doesn't quite feel right.

Metamorpho and his supporting cast had last been seen a couple of months earlier teamed with Superman and Batman in World's Finest Comics. Now, made up to look normal, Rex Mason and Sapphire Stagg are touring the sites in Washington DC, while her father Simon, and his henchman Java, keep tabs on them. While the young lovers are at Lincoln Memorial a ghostly figure emerges and starts wreaking havoc, demanding to see the president.

Metamorpho does a fair amount of detective work in this story, learning that the ghost is Doc Destinee, an inventor who tried to sell a machine that would hold off the British to Madison during the War of 1812. His ghost has appeared repeatedly through the years, continuing to try to sell the machine to various presidents.

Metamorpho figures out where the machine is, but Java has been spying on him and Sapphire, and informs Simon Stagg, who steals it. Java drops the machine, activating it, as they examine a gold depository, and it turns all the gold into a liquid.

Metamorpho and the ghost wind up fighting in the gold, and the ghost disperses. And that's about all there is to the story. It really ought to be better than it is, and I just can't quite put my finger on why it doesn't work. It certainly did nothing for Metamorpho's career. He is next seen a few months down the road in Brave and the Bold. Sapphire returns in Metamorpho's next Brave and the Bold appearance after that one, in 1979, and Simon Stagg and Java have to wait for Metamorpho's team up with Superman in DC Comics Presents in 1981.

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