Metal Men #1 – Dan Didio, Writer; Shane Davis, Penciller; Michelle Delecki, Inker; Jason Wright, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Dan Didio has been shepherding DC’s line for a long time, but his history as a writer for the company has been mixed. He recently had the teen multiverse adventure Sideways which mixed compelling ideas with iffy characterization, but his OMAC series for the New 52 was a short-lived gem that explored the weirder sides of the DCU.
Thankfully, Metal Man #1, the beginning of a new twelve-issue Metal Men series, is much more in the vein of that early project. Taking an obscure concept and breaking it down to its darker elements, it actually has some common DNA with the stand-alone maxiseries of Tom King. The main difference is the art, as Shane Davis is an artist more associated with blockbuster comics and this moody, psychologically-driven first issue often feels a bit flashy for the subject matter. His characters are in the title, but this is really Will Magnus’ story, as the genius scientist is forced to confront his mistakes and reveal that he may be a fraud.
The concept of the Metal Men – a scientist creates artificial life that becomes his family – has always trended towards the lighthearted, but this issue raises the idea that it may all be built on a lie. Flashbacks show the Metal Men confronting Magnus on the truth of their creation – that there have been dozens of previous incarnations that they had erased from their minds – and Magnus even raises the idea that they may never have been alive at all, but manifestations of his own will.
It’s a dark, moody issue with a complex and morally ambiguous figure, so the introduction of classic comic book plotting that ties it in with the post-Dark Nights: Metal status quo takes you a bit by surprise. The addition of a new Metal Man based on Nth Metal was revealed at New York Comic Con, and the visuals are great. This is easily my favorite Didio-penned comic in recent years.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.