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Metamorpho Pt. 21: Action Comics #416-418

The following Metamorpho stories share the same creative credits:


Writer: Bob Haney

Artist: John Calnan

Editor: Murray Boltinoff

Issue #: 416

Cover Date: Sept. 1972

On Sale Date: July 18, 1972

The circus! And always part of it, the sideshow! The freakshow! The bizarre, the grotesque, the eternally fascinating…!

Full of self-pity that Sapphire won’t marry him on the spot, Metamorpho runs away to join the circus. However, even he can’t save the failing business.


Attempting to help his old friend, Rex orchestrates the detour of a limo carrying the President of the U.S. and an Asian Premiere. Charmed by the circus, the two world leaders now feel like talking to each other. But suddenly…

Sniper… over there!

Issue #: 417

Cover Date: Oct. 1972

On Sale Date: Aug. 31, 1972

The Kid & the Corruptors

Entrusted to his care, Randall soon has ol’ Scrooge, Simon Stagg, twirling him in the street.

During the following weeks, there is a new mood, a new spirit of life around the great, gloomy mansion.

However, when Randall begins receiving strange phone calls…

Long story (well, not that long, only 8 ½ pages) short…


Title: Action Comics

Issue #: 418

Cover Date: Nov. 1972

On Sale Date: Sept. 28, 1972

The Fountain of Death

Death, as it must to all men, has come for Simon Stagg, and with the passing of his wily nemesis, Rex Mason, alias Metamorpho, the Element Man, is tossed like a chip into a game where only fate is a winner…

During the reading of her father's will, Sapphire is thrilled to learn she has inherited the bulk of his estate, valued at “some 80 millions;” however…

…if he will perform one final mission for humanity in my name – the retrieval of Cryolite-60 from the icy grip of Mother Nature!


In Kraken Hold, Greenland, Metamorpho discovers a derelict ship and…

Back home, Metamorpho discovers something we had to know was coming…

Rex’s check is worthless since it was drawn on the Stagg estate and Sapphire’s old man is still alive.




The Metamorpho stories in Action Comics #416-418 are fun little (7-8 pages), self-contained adventures. My favorite one is The Fountain of Death because it highlights character traits that were interwoven through many of the early stories, but have been sidelined in the Action Comics backups.


The biggest victim of this phenomenon has been Java, so it was particularly nice to be reminded that he loves Sapphire and longs for a change of circumstance that will allow them to be together. There's also a nice panel that's a funny reminder about the nature of Rex and Sapphire's relationship:

After Justice League of America #100-102, Metamorpho will return as a backup feature in World's Finest Comics with #217. With the same creative team, I'm guessing the stories will be similar to these. We'll find out in the coming weeks!


For now, I can't resist sharing an ad for a new title that I couldn't wait to read as a kid:

And, as a reminder of the era we're visiting, these groovy patches are a reflection of what the early 1970s were all about, good and bad...

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