Metamorpho Pt. 23: World's Finest #217
Title: World’s Finest
Issue #: 217
Cover Date: April-May 1973
On Sale Date: Feb. 15, 1973
Writer: Bob Haney
Penciller: Dick Dillin
Inker: Murphy Anderson
Editor: Murray Boltinoff
Heroes with Dirty Hands
Part 1: The Birth of the Super-Freak!
Java thinks Sapphire would realize he is her true love if he shared his rating to a magazine survey: “How Do You Stack Up Compared to Superman and Batman.” When he hears Simon Stagg call for him, he tosses his superhero costumes into a vat of bubbling “glop”…
Incredible! Today I have been privileged to be present at the birth of… Super-Freak!
Metamorpho assists Superman with finding a bomb before it detonates.
Part 2: If This be Treason…!
Metamorpho assists Batman with delivering a kidnapping ransom. As he’s awarded a medal for his achievements…
Later, Rex, Sapphire, and Simon see on the news that Superman and Batman have defected to Slavia, America’s biggest international rival. The President sends the Element man to retrieve them… dead or alive.
The Premier of Slavia says,
I command you to test this elemental freak’s boast – meet him in battle. If he wins, then you can return to America – for you’d be of no more value to Slavia –
Part 3: Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself
Round one goes to Metamorpho. Then…
With Superman and Batman defeated, the Premier is somehow able to incapacitate Metamorpho himself. However, something smells fishy in Slavia…
Superman tells Metamorpho he wasn’t let in on the real scoop so his efforts would be more convincing. The trio of heroes then realize Metamorpho is back to his old self. Batman says,
It’s worn off! Must’ve been just a temporary thing!
Looking at World's Finest #217, memories washed over me. I don't recall the story, but that cover... I'm certain I owned this one as a child. That might even be why I have such a fondness for Metamorpho.
At 23 pages, it's a full-length feature. Metamorpho hasn't appeared in one of those for a while. In fact, it was probably a full year earlier when he shared the spotlight with Batman in The Brave & the Bold #101 (April-May, 1972.) Since then he's appeared in back-up stories in Action Comics and as a temporary team member in Justice League of America.
I wonder how long the title characters were in on the secret. Some of the things they say when Metamorpho first becomes "Super-Freak" seem out of character…like they’re being bad sports about the situation.
Let's at least appreciate his role in this story. After this, the Element Man appears only a few more times in the 1970s (and some of the appearances are reprints.)