Axel-In-Charge: Facing the 'Divided' Marvel NOW! Future
Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!
Today we look at Ramona Fradon and Bob Haney’s short run on Metamorpho…
Haney and Fradon created Metamorpho in the pages of Brave and the Bold #57 (he returned the next issue, as well). The character was popular enough to warrant his own bi-monthly series that ended up lasting for 17 issues. Fradon, though, only drew the first four issues.
But boy, what great issues they were!!
Haney and Fradon’s Metamorpho was, in a lot of ways, a throwback to the classic Jack Cole Plastic Man stories of the 1940s – creative and quirky explorations of what a hero can do when he can do all sorts of wacky stuff with his body.
Here’s a snippet from the first issue…
See how Fradon just has an absolute blast with the creativity inherent in someone with powers like Metamorpho? No wonder such a minor character has managed to stick around on the fringes of the DC Universe for so many years!
The supporting cast in the comic is strong, as well. You have the rich guy, Simon Stagg, who is Rex’s benefactor, but also likely his exploiter. You have Sapphire Stagg, Simon’s daughter, who loves Rex, but isn’t the most faithful of girlfriends, and you have Java, a caveman that Simon Stagg de-frosted to become his right-hand man – Java naturally wants Sapphire for himself and hates Rex. With a cast like that, all SORTS of plots are available to you! Haney did such a good job coming up with an interesting cast for the book.
The book isn’t JUST whimsy – the whimsical stuff also mixes with action, like this sequence from issue #2…
In issue #3, Fradon shows the especially weird side of Metamorpho when he gets chopped into pieces!!!
You don’t get much stranger than that, superhero-style.
In the final issue, Sapphire falls for a fellow from Latin America, but he’s up to no good, so Stagg, Rex and Java need to rescue her – it’s quite a romp….
The book really did not get a LOT worse when Fradon left, as she was followed by another great artist, the late, great Joe Orlando (and Charles Paris inked both artists, to give a sense of continuity), but still, the Fradon issues stick out as the best of the bunch. Luckily, DC collected all of this run into their Showcase edition of Metamorpho. It’s in black and white, but it’s still awesome! Go get a copy!
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