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Well looky what we have here...... I thought I told you Legends of Tomorrow never to come around here...... Okay, I'm really reaching to come up with something to talk about in this opening paragraph because what is there really to say? We've got ourselves an anthology book containing four stories and even though I'm a fan of two of the four, it just feels strange trying to review this book in the midst of all this Rebirth going on....... especially since the last issue came off kind of lackluster. I was initially really interested in this title because it featured heroes that we didn't really see kicking about anymore and because of that aspect it sounded like a little fun, which was really missed during the DCYou era of our favorite comic book company. The thing is though, that charm has kind of warn off because we've been swimming in fun the last two weeks with DC's new "Party over here" initiative called Rebirth. Hopefully we can get something decent out of the heroes in this book this month that can get me back on the trolley, but as of right now I just kind of look at this book and it makes me tired........ and that's a terrible way to look at superheroes. Let's jump into this issue and see what's what and maybe we'll at least get some decent robot fights out of Metal Men. Let's check it out.
Firestorm in "United We Fall Part 4"
Written By: Gerry Conway
Art By: Eduardo Pansica, Rob Hunter, Andrew Dalhouse, Corey Breen
Our issue begins and pretty much stays with Firestorm being captured by the military and tortured with some sort of magical mumbo jumbo that I've heard people refer to as "Science", but the gist of it is our Nuclear Man is stuck in place by a plasma field that is compressing Ronnie and Prof Stein's nuclear bond...... which eventually if it isn't shut off, our hero will go critical. I mean, they could separate into their two selves, but Ronnie has a decent point in trying to tough it out as long as he can because if they're willing to torture a man made out of nuclear energy, what would they do to a old man and a teenager? During this time, Jason and his dad, Tonya and Ronnie's mother are trying to find out what happened to our hero because they were just supposed to go back to Stein's lab, but once Jason taps into a special helmet that Stein would use to communicate with Firestorm before he took Jason's matrix, this becomes a race against the clock because Jason knows that Ronnie and Stein are on the verge of dying in their current torturous predicament...... and that's where all the time stamps we've seen in this book, that were even a part of a joke in the previous issue really come to piss me off because we're supposed to believe that Firestorm is on the verge of exploding, but it takes the rest of our cast over twelve hours to drive to where our hero is located....... and when they get there Firestorm is still on the verge of exploding. Besides for the timeline not making sense to me even if you factor in time zone changes, it's when Jason arrives with the rest of our gang to the military base that I realize that comedy isn't Gerry Conway's strongest area because we then spend time while our hero is supposedly dying to throw in a big yawn joke, where everyone yells at the other for yawning and then making them yawn....... it's nonsense and really comes out of nowhere........ but after thinking about it, I can see where they were coming from because this issue was making me yawn something fierce. In the end though, Jason drives into one of the generators allowing Firestorm to escape his torture and really, that's all she wrote.
While I really love the character of Firestorm, I swore that the over the top fight scene in the previous issue between our hero and Major Force felt like a shit ton of filler just to get to this issue, but now that I've read this issue I've realized that I had no idea what filler was. If you're all about scientific jargon that may or may not make sense and seeing Firestorm scream for an entire issue than this may be just what you're looking for, but as for me I can't believe what I've just read and the only solace I have is that the art was nice to look at and that Major Force actually had a morale quality to this character this issue....... That's about it though.
Metamorpho in "Two Worlds, One Destiny Part 4: Quest for Power"
Written By: Aaron Lopresti
Art By: Aaron Lopresti & Livesay, Chris Sotomayor
Letters By: Michael Nelson
Over in the primitive, alternate universe that Sapphire and Metamorpho stepped into a couple of issues ago, Rex is making friends. With Sapphire guiding him along the periodic table, Rex bashes, slashes and poisons some monstrous Wolvengot, which look sort of like gigantic red dragons. White-looking folks in this region regard Metamorpho as "The Chosen One," as in "chosen to kick some serious Wolvengot ass," but a prophetic dream that evening tells Rex that he's chosen for much more. Kanjar Ro and his posse track the energy signal of this dimension's magic orb to a tower that incinerates anyone that tries to enter. Later, Metamorpho follows his dream and steps into the tower, with some difficulty. Once inside, he goes on a magical mystery tour--of the mind! The orb explains that it was intended to help this land flourish but devious humans kept fighting over it for their own profit. Learning not to trust humans, he created Metamorpho, whose destiny is to restore the orb to some special place that will light the place up like Times Square or something--and the reason Metamorpho's powers don't work around the orb is due to its mistrust. It comes, however, with a handy-dandy carrying case that negates its ability to depower Rex. He emerges from the tower with the orb in its hat box, and then Kanjar Ro and his team reveal themselves and attack! In the fracas, Sapphire makes off with the orb and secures herself away from the chaos--to contact her father, Simon Stagg, with confirmation that she's retrieved the package!
There was also a scene where Stagg gives Java a gun to temporarily nullify Metamorpho and orders to get the orb, and I assume it will be important next issue. The issue at hand, though, was pretty entertaining and expertly-rendered, if a little wordy. I liked the growing relationship between Sapphire and Metamorpho, as she helps him learn to control and exploit his powers, and that made the ending switcheroo all the more surprising! The inclusion of Kanjar Ro and his band of miscreants seems somewhat superfluous here, but it's not breaking my heart. I think I'd probably read this comic, even if it weren't jammed into an anthology.
Sugar and Spike in "Itty Bitty"
Written By: Keith Giffen
Art By: Bilquis Evely, Ivan Plascencia
Lettered By: Tom Napolitano
Okay boys and girls, here's your primer for the upcoming statewide Silver Age Comics test, so read closely! Green Lantern has hired Sugar and Spike to investigate a display containing his old shoulder pal Itty at a museum of superhero and villain memorabilia owned by the former Lamplighter. And oh, the things you'll see! The Red Tomato! Brother Power, the Geek! The original Green Team! What's that? Only ten of you know what the fuck I'm talking about? Imagine that! I mean there's "fan wank" and there's a smug reminiscence on forgotten comic book silliness. Adding to that, the characters Sugar and Spike are so unlikable and their patter is absolutely unbearable. There is a story here, one that is so convoluted that the last page of this comic requires a very wordy recap--that's right, this is a comic book that needs a recap at the back of the issue. I find this comic to be utterly depressing, aside from the art which I do like a lot.
The Metal Men in "Everything Old Is New Again"
Written By: Len Wein
Art By: Yildiray Cinar, Trevor Scott, Dean White, Ulises Arreola, Steve Wands
Right from the get go I realized that I was going to enjoy myself more with this issue of the Metal Men than I was with Firestorm and man were my instincts correct. It's weird, in the previous Metal Men issue I found myself rolling my eyes a bit because even though we had a big ass fight going on between Red Tornado and our metal heroes....... it was still just a Metal Men fight and even though I love the characters, they are silly as hell. Here though, it's that quality that really got me happy as hell because when last we left this series, Dr. Magnus and the Metal Men were surrounded by the military, who were looking to bring them into custody, but all that was immediately put to a stop here when Robot Man comes out of nowhere and is rocking a law degree. Now, maybe I'm not completely up on Cliff Steele and his educational background, but I was certainly surprised to find out that he was Robot Man attorney at law and that he's been spending his time off panel to get an injunction to stop the military from decommissioning our heroes due to the fact that they are alive even though they were created. It's really fun, but as fun as this bit is, it's nowhere near as good as when our heroes seek refuge at the Justice League Watchtower because the interactions with Cyborg are priceless. I swear, this issue the more I read the more my smile grew because while Cyborg is hacking Nameless' signal from Red Tornado, we see that the military is working on their PLAN B since they weren't able to acquire the Metal Men and that plan consists of making new ones that they can control and I don't know how it's possible....... especially since we only get a little taste of them here, but I think I love them just as much as our original Metal Men. We've got Lithium, Magnesium, Silicon, Zirconium, Aluminum and Copper comprising this new team and I can't wait until the next issue where we'll get some Metal on Metal violence going on......... since that's how this issue ends, but the one thing in this story that didn't work for me because it just kind of came out of nowhere and was just a little too silly was the big reveal that Nameless is actually the Calculator and with this reveal, the villain pulls out his old bag of tricks by making the screens in Times Square become hard light constructs for our heroes to face off with. It was quick, but really seemed unneeded.
Even with the strangeness with Calculator at the end, I have to say that I loved this issue so damn much and I'm happy as hell that even with the Metal Men's silly ass fights....... you know with them just transforming into stuff like we got in the previous issue, that these characters just continue to be fun and I love the fact that Len Wein has created his whole story around introducing a new robotic type character in each issue because it gets me excited as hell for a full blown robot war in the final issue. The story is enjoyable with all the naive silliness that it brings and the great cameos and working alongside with all those things is the excellent art and colors. If I had to call it right now, I'd say that Metal Men is the best part of this anthology comic because there never seems to be a dip in quality. Just the Metal Men being the Metal Men and really, that's all I need.
Bits and Pieces:
As we say every issue, it doesn't seem fair to rate an anthology of four separate books as a whole, which is why Eric and Reggie decided to score them individually. For those keeping track at home who wish to have a single number for their spreadsheet, here's the average: