Sunday, June 10, 2007

Review of Some Robots, Part 1, By Johnathan

Ah, the Metal Men. They, in all of their vaguely-educational glory, are my latest semi-obsession.

Assuming that someone who's not a comic book nerd is reading this, a quick description of the Metal Men and what they stood for:

The Metal Men were a group of robots created by Dr. Will Magnus. Thanks to a bit of technology called a "responsometer" they were astonishingly human-like, with genuine personalities and everything. As the name suggests, they're all made out of a different metal, and they're obsessed with that metal. Seriously, check it out:

That's their first appearance but really, they talk like that all the time. Every second sentence is about melting points or ductility or something like that. Luckily they're entertaining as hell, so it doesn't get old. Metal Men fans note: the third sentence out of Mercury's mouth is the "liquid at room temperature" bit.

The Metal Men are cool on a lot of levels: first, they've got real personalities - they're not just a bunch of clones of every other super-team of the 1960s. Tin's inferiority complex and Mercury's arrogance were especially unusual for heroes of the time. Plus, Tina the Platinum robot was in love with Doc Magnus, which led to sufficient dramatic tension to fuel a battleship.

But enough about the Metal Men! Entertaining as they are, they're not the focus of this series of reviews. Rather, I'm going to write about the other elemental robots who appear in the series, because there are a lot of them. They creep in around the edges, whether as antagonists or as bit characters in the little "Metal Facts" sections that appeared in every issue.

The very first of these characters came as a pair:

Aw, look at them. So generic. Not only did Copper and Silver have some lousy character design problems, they evidently had the wrong names - I'm pretty sure that that's what the Romans are so surprised about. Still, there's one thing that this panel did well: set precedent. It said "why show the kids boring lumps of metal when you can anthropomophise? And robotiform?"

For that reason, Copper and Sillver are JOHN APPROVED.

This one's interesting. It's from a page about gold and features three Metal Men-as-knights in the centre, flanked by a couple of Generic Metal Dudes (GMDs). I gotta say, when I started writing this review I thought it'd be easy to figure out who these guys were supposed to be, but after ransacking half of the Alchemy sites on the internet I don't have much. GMD on the left might be Antimony and GMD on the right might be Arsenic, but probably not. Darned artists forty years ago... didn't they realize that someone would obsess about that sort of thing someday? Plus, Gold is looking kind of fat.

NOT APPROVED

2 comments:

ben said...

And the crazy thing: Copper will be back in August! Following a little sex-change. I like Rouleau's soda pop makeover for her.

Johnathan said...

I just read one featuring a female Copper today - I hope they're related.