The Return of the Robots!

I've been ever so nostalgic since reading Doom Patrol this week, as the Metal Men are now all set to have a scrap with another group of robots - robots with their own sassy theme, yet! This is the classic Metal Men plot, along with anti-robot racism and forbidden robot/human love. In honour of the return of one of my very favourite things, I'm going to revisit the old days and offer up another review of the various crazy elemental robots that used to pop up from time to time in the old Metal Men series.


I am left with a lot of questions after viewing this panel. Questions like: Is this a robot made of bismuth or a fountain shaped like a robot made of bismuth? If it is a robot, is this his day job or some sort of terrible punishment? Where does the water pipe come in? Is bismuth really that water soluble?

Further, how do robots feel about drinking water that another robot has just vomited out? Why would a robot child eat apples in the first place? Do green apples really give you gut pain? Did someone build a robot child and thus doom him to an eternity of condescension, or does this panel imply some sort of robot/robot sexual reproduction? If robots can have babies on their own, is humanity doomed?

I fear that I will never know these things. NOT APPROVED.


Further muddying the waters vis-a-vis the mysteries of robot reproduction are robotic temptresses like Magnesium here. Are all of the good metal men robo-taken or robo-gay, or is this evidence that love knows no boundaries or barriers, even across species positions on the Rockwell Hardness Scale.

One thing is certain, however. Based on my observations of various military-type friends, family members, etc I will without hesitation state that flares in the shape of attractive, coquettish dames would raise the rate of maritime rescue an immeasurable amount. JOHN APPROVED.


Taking a break from the mysteries of robosexuality, here's poor Steel. One panel of fame was more than most elements get, and alloys seldom even get that much, but Steel managed to screw it up. Perhaps thinking that there were already plenty of grey robots running around, Steel showed up the entirely wrong dang colour. Even his freakishly long arms couldn't save him from being blacklisted after that. It's okay, though. I'm pretty sure that Steel was the result of Doc Magnus wanting some alone time one rainy weekend - just whip up a quick robot and have the Metal Men run a series of "experiments" on it with some of your spare tools and voila! time to watch Braveheart without getting interrupted during the good parts.

Steel, of course, was melted down soon after.



Is Zirconium the only robot that I've ever seen wear a t-shirt? yes he is.

More importantly: how lucky is he that this panel was printed back when zirconium was still actually used in flashes?Although my limited research indicates that zirconium is used in all kinds of cool places like nuclear reactors and spacecraft and so forth, I'm pretty sure that the poor guy would be having his face rubbed in the chintzy fake diamond aspect of his heritage if it were to come up today.

Sorry man: NOT APPROVED.


See, now that's more like it. A robot's love for a robot, and no risk of squashing a poor hu-mon in the throes of passion (or, say, bursting into white-hot flame).

I wonder if metals that don't alloy well are discouraged from dating by their peers. Is it kind of like a zodiac thing for them or do they approach it scientifically ("Oh, gross. Your children will be all crumbly and brittle.")? Either way, I hope someone is out there fighting the power.

As for Nickel herself, well, I could never say no to a robot in a miniskirt. JOHN APPROVED.

And that's pretty much it for my stock of images from "Metal Facts and Fancies". I'll leave you with a few left over pictures of various Metal Men finding love, metal or otherwise. Next time I do this: crazy Metal Men villains!

Lead has a Mer-fan

Mercury: Evidently needs to get out of the kitchen. What I'm saying is, he can't take the heat.

Mercury again: What a lech.

Review of the Forbidden Loves of Superman, By Johnathan

In reading tales concerning the life and times of the good ol' Man of Steel I've noticed something: Superman's love life is often pretty creepy. Now I'm not referring to the eternal distance that he maintains between himself and Lois Lane/ Lana Lang - that's just perplexing - and I'm not talking about the one time that he was willing to settle down being with a mermaid. I'm talking about how he keeps trying to make time with his relatives.

Now, I can kind of almost see the reasoning behind this tendency, from a writing standpoint. Pre-1985, Superman is ridiculously powerful - easily the strongest, most invulnerable dude in the DC Universe. For him to have anything approaching an equal relationship, power-wise, he'd pretty much have to date inside his family. This, however, does not make the concept any less creepy.

To show you precisely what i mean, here's some picture evidence.

Action Comics No. 289 is a real gem. It's given me material before and it will again. And why not? It's got a perfect Silver Age ridiculous plot:

Supergirl saw a movie about a sorrowful bachelor, which naturally gets her thinking about her cousin Kal-El - what if he never gets married? Basically, civilization as we know it would crumble. Supergirl decides to find a suitable dame for Superman, resulting in not a few hijinks - she tries Helen of Troy first, but Helen turns out to be something of a colossal wench, and so she's out. Then she tries to get him together with Saturn Woman of the grown-up Legion of Super-Heroes, but she turns out to have gotten married, so that plan is also out the window.

Finally, Supergirl confesses her worries to the big guy, which triggers possibly the most uncomfortable moment in comics history:

Sheesh! Aw, Superman... that's just, um... incredibly wrong. Look at how he's got her chin, and how close he's standing... he completely *wants* his fifteen-year old cousin. Not only that, but Supergirl can tell - check out the expression on her face - she's freaking out, probably because she remembers this incident.

So the justifiably-freaked-out Supergirl rushes off and finds somebody to take the bullet for her - her super-powered doppelganger on the planet Staryl.

Superman takes the bait, thereby making Luma Lynai Creepy Object of Desire No. 2: Someone who you're only after because they look just like an adult version of your teenaged cousin (who is Creepy Object of Desire No. 1). Despite this, they seem to get on well:

But it all ends in tears, in the good ole DC manner - Supes doesn't even think about staying on her planet (or visiting occasionally for some super-nookie, or trying to solve her problem, or anything else) , he goes home to hug Supergirl some more, and everything goes back to normal, except that the Man of Steel now creeps everyone out.

Not that he gives up, as seen in the very brief appearance of Creepy Object of Desire No. 3: Your cousin, just from another dimension.

See? He's totally folding under the mild flirtations handed out by his extra-dimensional cousin. Don't do it, man! Check the DNA!

No resistance to kryptonite, magic, or gettin' some. "Trophy room" my eye.

The No. 4 Creepy Object of Desire isn't really his fault, but it's still telling when a scene plays out like this:

A young man who has come to the future meets an attractive young lady who is wearing next to nothing...

He tries to impress her with a show of strength, they talk for a while. He's starting to feel pretty confident...

Wait for it...

And she's his descendant. Which probably messed up his libido for a while - maybe that's why he grew up to be the kind of guy who hits on fifteen-year olds that he's related to.

All in all: Bad form, Superman. Bad form.


Review of Superman as husband, by Johnathan.

Granted, this is a dream sequence - Supes' cousin Supergirl is hell-bent on finding der Man of Steel a wife (and incidentally causing untold damage to the space-time continuum and my suspension of disbelief in the process) and so visions of marital servitude are naturally enough dancing in her head.

All that aside, though: Superman is a terrible better half, just terrible. Here are some reasons:

a) Superman is a master roboticist/ virtual demigod, yet poor Mrs. Kent still apparently spends her days puttering around their horribly-decorated split-level bungalow, while her so-called better half has exciting adventures in exotic lands. She apparently has so little to do that she has become the greatest cook in all of creation, when really she should be spending her days in a Martian pleasure-palace, waited on hand and foot by automatons and subjugated supervillians.

b) This alien guy. I've read plenty of Sixties Superman comics, and I gotta say: 75-90% of the time, anyone that the Big Blue befriends turns out to have a heart full of betrayal and a secret stash of kryptonite. If he keeps bringing home every 'friend' that he makes once he's outside the ionosphere, sooner or later ol' wifey's going to get fragged. And her with nary a robot in sight to protect her...
Even assuming that Superman never accidentally brings home his new pal the Predator or something, this is a troubling little scene. Why? Three words: explosive allergic reaction. I get the impression that the Two Space Amigos have just dropped in unannounced, and Super-housefrau has pulled the latest in the endless series of meals that she cooks just to ease the bitter loneliness of her existence off of the stove and served it up. Further, I'm betting that even the Universe's Greatest Cook doesn't constantly have a series of different meals on the go, each tailored to a different alien biochemistry, and that one day an unexpected extraterrestrial dinner guest is going to end up as a thin film spattered liberally throughout the dining room. Come to think of it... maybe it's already happened, and that's why the walls are such a terrible shade of yellow.


As a final aside: at the end of the story, Superman described his ideal bride, and it turned out to be someone just like Supergirl, but not his cousin. Uk.


Review of kid sidekicks, by Johnathan

I'm not totally opposed to the notion of youthful sidekicks for superheros - the Robin series has turned out okay (except for the *ahem* unpleasantness with Jason Todd), and I'm sure that I could think up another if I spent a few seconds... Speedy. He's okay. Except for the smack.
Anyway, if you do happen to begin adventuring with a coyly elfen boy-child, and your collective weakness just happens to be a phisiological need for regular moistening, and you are required to avail youself of the milky bounty of a mountain goat or die... try not to make it lok like you're grimly shooting hircine ejaculate into the gleeful face of your hot pants-clad boy toy. Because that's gross.