Metamorpho Pt. 18: Metamorpho #16 & 17
Issue #: 16
Cover Date: Jan.-Feb. 1968
On Sale Date: Nov. 28, 1967
Writer: Bob Haney
Artist: Sal Tripani
Editor: George Kashdan
Jezeba, Queen of Fury
Meta-maniacs! In place of Metamorpho’s usual breezy, clever introduction to his fabulous adventures, we allow the scene below to speak for itself – as we must – since the Element Man’s heart is like a clinched cobalt fist in his chest, and his eyes scaled as if filled with bromine tears!
The press surround Simon Stagg and his daughter, Sapphire, to ask questions about her impending marriage to… Wally Bannister, the world’s richest playboy. What about Rex Mason, the Element Man?!?
That freak – a bitter thorn in my side… a fool my daughter rejected – and rightly so! No, he was not fit to marry a Stagg… he’s only fit to use his chemical powers in the service of my genius!
As the Element Man turns away, Element Girl appears saying that, with that “rich witch” gone, they can have a life together. Metamorpho replies that he’d ruin her like he’s ruined everything else… it won’t work!
Then, he’s approached by “Mr. Shadow,” a mysterious man who wants Rex Mason to lead an expedition to the lost city of Ma-phoor. There, he meets Jezeba, the spitting image of Sapphire, just like he is the spitting image of Algon, Man of Elements.
As they announce their marriage, Dracon, the giant sentry who guards the way from which the demons come, emerges to protest. Metamorpho defeats him, but is shocked to learn that Jezeba wants her new spouse to lead the way in an attack to destroy the outside world…
Issue #: 17
Cover Date: March-April. 1968
On Sale Date: Jan. 23, 1968
Writer: Bob Haney
Artist: Jack Sparling
Editor: George Kashdan
In a prison cell, a condemned man waits! The clock ticks away toward execution hour – like final heartbeats! Now, footsteps approach down the corridor…
It seems true… Metamorpho has been sentenced to death. In a flashback, we learn that after the events of the last issue…
During his trial, although he was physically nowhere near Sapphire and her new husband, witnesses testify that they saw Metamorpho push Wally Bannister overboard. He’s found guilty.
When his body is dumped in the ocean, Element Girl swims down to release him from his cryonic chamber. However, she’s stopped by “the Prosecutor,” the villain responsible for framing Rex.
Somehow, Metamorpho escapes and he joins Element Girl in pursuit of the Prosecutor. High atop a volcano, the villain summons…
Algon has been betrayed by the Prosecutor and surrenders, telling Metamorpho that he’s...
...the world’s only man of elements! Do not abuse your sacred powers… use them for good!
Meanwhile, the Prosecutor returns to his leaders, whomever they may be, and they are not happy...
In Metamorpho #16, Java is upset about Sapphire marrying someone other than him; however, he’s glad that at least it's not Rex. It's apparently going to be a short-lived marriage, considering that in Metamorpho #17, Rex is convicted of murdering the groom.
I like the pledge that the Element Man and Element Girl make in Metamorpho #17.
It seems like they're setting the stage for the future of the series. However, even with a cliffhanger and tease for the next adventure, the series inexplicably ends with this issue. What's worse is that even though Metamorpho and company will return in other titles, this specific storyline is never resolved.
Also unresolved, for me at least, is what this house ad in Metamorpho #16 is teasing:
Metamorpho #16 give us the first (and last) centerfold pin-up, as well as another fun contest winner page:
I should also mention that the final issue of Metamorpho offers a change in artist from Sal Tripani to Jack Sparling. It doesn't look drastically different, but I noticed many panels are darker, and the characters' eyes are slightly bigger and boxier.
I must include house ads for two titles about which I hope to write someday, Secret Six and The Hawk & the Dove...
As mentioned, Metamorpho will return, as will this series. Next week, we jump four years into the future and the Element Man appears in the book where he originated: The Brave & the Bold...