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The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – Will Magnus is a Robot?

All throughout December, we will be examining comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked.

Today we look at the short-lived changes to the Metal Men status quo from their 1993 mini-series.

Enjoy!

The Metal Men mini-series from 1993 by Mike Carlin, Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding changed the Metal Men status quo dramatically.

First off, the Metal Men learn that they are all actually based on real life people (who promptly are killed right after this discovery)…

This leads to the revelation in the second issue of the Metal Men’s REAL origin. They were humans who had their minds/souls/whatever sucked into the robots….

Pretty crazy, huh?

It got even crazier. Now, with the human bodies dead, if a Metal Men is destroyed, their is no coming back for them. This, of course, happens in the mini-series as Gold is killed for good. Will Magnus, though, goes through the process, as well, to become the NEW leader of the Metal Men and one of the Metal Men himself!!

This was not exactly a popular change, and the Metal Men made very limited appearances in this new incarnation. 52 took the opportunity to write it all off as a drug-induced hallucination by Will Magnus. Here is the explanation from 52 Week 22…

And that has been the status quo ever since.

32 Comments

But they did make appearances in other comics. One character’s delusion canon does not make. It’s one or the other (i.e. Supergirl’s “Kryptonite-induced” delusion about Krypton being the version from Birthright. That version was canon in other comics).

Hey, how’s that for the next column. The multiple origins of Supergirl, and how every year or two they rebooted her origin, from making her Zor-El’s personal assassin sent to Earth to kill Kal-El, to making her a ghostbuster sent to destroy Phantom Zone wraiths, to making her a Lara Croft rip off that was going to go search for Argo City with Power Girl, to making her a rip off of the Silver Age version.

In a reversal of this, during Dan Jurgens’s run on BOOSTER GOLD, he removed “Gladys”–a wealthy, older woman Booster was said to have married during one of the Giffen-DeMatteis miniseries–from canon.

Did one of the Metal Men seriously call someone a “zipper-head” in that first panel? Does that mean something else in other places? Because where I come from, it’s a racial slur.

All I can think is that maybe the writer didn’t know how that term had actually been used, TJCoolguy. Some comic writers use phrases like “gypped” and “what a gyp” a lot (Mark Waid does it especially frequently–even in the 31st century!), and I can only hope it’s because they don’t realize it’s a pretty nasty ethnic slur against the Roma. Because if they do know and just don’t give a damn, that’s … not good. Well, either way it’s not good, but if it’s just ignorance at least they can learn to stop using the racist language.

Of course, Magnus turning up in human form is more than just him having a delusion.

Thank God this was done away with.
The whole charm of the Metal Men is they are robots that at times act human.
Want a great Metal Men read? Pick up the mini series from a few years back. Smart, fun and creative, and it added some neat flourishes to their history without rewriting it. In fact the book pretty much embraced what the Metal Men are all about.

There was a distinct inelegance in the role-reversing “Metal Men are people, but now Magnus is a robot!” idea that allowed it to play VERY nicely as a delusion, wasn’t there?

buttler:” Some comic writers use phrases like “gypped” and “what a gyp” a lot (Mark Waid does it especially frequently–even in the 31st century!), and I can only hope it’s because they don’t realize it’s a pretty nasty ethnic slur against the Roma. Because if they do know and just don’t give a damn, that’s … not good. Well, either way it’s not good, but if it’s just ignorance at least they can learn to stop using the racist language.”

I would be willing to bet that 99 out of a hundred people who use that phrase have no idea of its origin.For that matter, I’m equally certain that practically no one in the USA links “welsh on a bet” to Wales.

RE zipperhead: According to the Wikitionary, it also means a soldier in the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (in ref to the leather helmets that they used to wear). I’ve also heard people in California use it as a synonym for idiot, with no apparent sense of an ethnic /racial meaning.

By the way, when did Iron become a Black robot (I can’t believe that I just typed that sentence). What I mean is, when did DC start drawing him (it?) with Black facial features?

Heh, the zipperheads I’ve known who were in the Armored Corps told me the nickname came from them being somewhat prone to hitting their heads inside the tanks. Thus zipperhead due to the stitches. They always seemed rather attached to the name too.

The “everything you know about _________________ is wrong” syndrome affected just about every DC comic from the late eighties-early nineties, huh? For every “The Anatomy Lesson”, we get something like this revamp. I’m glad they fixed this.

Never heard that term before…had to look it up. Now I’m wondering if I’ve been sheltered or if I’m too young for it.

As much as I prefer the first origin of the Metal Men over this one, I have to admit that it made little sense (the robots were supposed to be unemotional, but developed personalities because… there was sunspot activity at the time…?) Of course, if we go with the Magnus-is-Crazy line of thought, then maybe he made them that way intentionally and just lied to them (and himself) about it! Certainly, why make a robot look like a Supermodel if you just want her for combat? ;)

Also, I dislike the kind of “it was all a dream” type of reboot. It’s lazy. And unnecessary, given how 52 retconned the DC Multiverse anyway.

The goofy “Veridium” name and green color also made this an extremely dumb move. Why would you want to remove the most colorful figure from a team and replace it with something duller? Imagine if you made the Human Torch or the Flash green.

syon, I don’t know what Metal Men series you’re talking about, but I don’t recall Iron “looking black.”

I guess in these comics, Iron is supposed to be a black guy, no? He’s the black guy on the table, right?

Those are all good points, guys. I never knew about the connection to soldiers or anything else. I’d only ever heard the derogative term.

Also, I know I’ve been guilty of saying both “gyp’ed” and “welsh on a bet” without even thinking about it. “Gyp” is one of those strange words that when I hear it, it doesn’t seem like anything, but when I see it written I’m like, “Wow, that seems kind of insensitive.”

Best thing ever done with Will Magnus and The Metal Men.

Best thing ever, PERIOD.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AR3D5Si1KIg

Too bad it’s not the whole thing.

VichusSmith;”syon, I don’t know what Metal Men series you’re talking about, but I don’t recall Iron “looking black.”

If you look at Iron’s facial features, you’ll notice that he, unlike the other Metal Men, has Black facial features. I was just wondering if this was the first time that it was done.

If you look at Iron’s facial features, you’ll notice that he, unlike the other Metal Men, has Black facial features.

I don’t know what the artist intended, but I don’t see Iron’s facial features as any more African-American-looking in the pages posted above than, say, Gold’s or Lead’s faces.

buttler:”I don’t know what the artist intended, but I don’t see Iron’s facial features as any more African-American-looking in the pages posted above than, say, Gold’s or Lead’s faces.”

The artist certainly is not consistent with it, but if you look at the panel that is right above the one labelled “Next:Separating the men from the alloys,” you’ll notice that his facial features are much less Caucasoid than those of the other Metal Men. Also, if memory serves, George Perez also drew Iron with Black features when they appeared in BRAVE AND THE BOLD.Again, just wondering if was the first time this was done.

Zipperhead to a Canadian has been talked about, but to Americans it is a racist term against Asians thanks to the Korean War and later Vietnam where it described dead enemy soldiers

There is a panel in the Infinite Crisis story that suggests this storyline was “Superboy-punched” out of existence.

I think the 1993 Metal Men revamp is one of the worst ever, even given some pretty stiff competition in the category.

In the original stories, it’s kind of funny/charming that Platinum so obviously has the feelings of a “human woman” for Doc, who can’t see it or can’t accept it. Now, as a result, he *does* come off as a callous sexist and/or anti-robotist jerk sometimes, but for the most part, it’s just light comedy.

The 1993 series, though… if Platinum really *is* a human woman, and Doc knows it, that takes Doc’s behavior from amusingly callous to downright *monstrous* cruelty!

seeing those pannels just prove even dc can screw up with out meaning too a concept like the metal men for will becoming one of them has got to be a wtf moment

Now the art in that mini series,was decent, but man,By the end of it, my fellings were,that by eleminating bringing any of them back, after destruction, and doing gold in first, then turning magnus into a robot, that they had greatly lost much of the original charm of the group.I think that this story, has went down next to the one back in 1967, passed off as the true origin of the flash,like a lead balloon.

The MM were never supposed to be emotionless: Doc kept complaining that Tina was supposed to be emotionless, but that obviously reflected his own feelings about her. It was quite obvious in the old series (reread them in the Showcase TPB recently) he reciprocated more than he wanted to admit.

Slight clarification: It’s true sunspot effects on the responsometers gave them emotions, but it’s quite clear Magnus intended them to have them–he just assumed it was his superior programming skills without any outside influence/

@ suedenim – “I think the 1993 Metal Men revamp is one of the worst ever, even given some pretty stiff competition in the category.”

The Metamorpho revamp in which Java gets killed is right up there. The stalagtites on his shoulders and gassy head was the fugliest!

Another racial slur it took me years to figure out was the phrase “jewing down”, as in “I managed to jew the price down from $15 to $10″.

I have some neighbors who are actual Gypsys. They are very nice. I had no idea that such a common phrase had an racist origin. Wow. New thing for today : Learned.

While the 1993 origin was dreadful, I do like the idea that Lead started off with an alchemical symbol like all the rest (except Platinum, the only one who isn’t a planetary metal) and changed it to an L because he didn’t understand it.

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