Metamorpho Pt. 26: 1st Issue Special #3
Title: 1st Issue Special
Issue #: 3
Cover Date: June, 1975
On Sale Date: March 18, 1975
Writer: Bob Haney
Artist: Ramona Fradon
Editor: Murray Boltinoff
He’s back! Comicdom’s most fantastical hero, that human chemical plant, Metamorpho, the Element Man, pitting his unique molecules against a revenge-crazed menace whose dark destiny will not be denied, in the flabbergasting fable of…
The Freak and the Billion-Dollar Phantom
While Rex and Sapphire are visiting the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C…
Then, just ahead, on “the great, grassy mall,” the ground opens and the Washington Monument starts falling.
Whoever that joker is… he’s got wild powers and is taking apart Uncle Sam’s biggest tourist attractions, one by one! But never fear – Element Man’s here!
A “spectral madman” with seemingly unlimited powers… can Metamorpho prevail?
Part 2: Secret of the Capitol
Tourists are startled by “the ghost who has, now and then, popped up throughout our nation’s history… to frighten people!
After perusing “old, dusty government records,” Metamorpho learns that in 1814, Dr. Destinee had been a military engineer for “the great emperor, Napoleon.” He was called a “crackpot” and when the British burned Washington, he vanished.
Now Doc Destiny’s mad… and hell hath no fury like a spook spurned!
Investigating Destiny’s lair as invisible nitrogen gas, Metamorpho learns that the attacks have been a diversion. He’s hiding a chemical warfare “gizmo” in the Capitol dome.
When the forces of good and evil intersect at the Capitol dome, the “gizmo” is gone! It turns out Java had been following Rex and Sapphire and reported their actions to Simon Stagg, who wants the device for himself.
Part 3: The Lake of Gold
The action culminates in a lake of molten gold and Java thinks:
At last! That human monstrosity has met his Waterloo, and Sapphire will then quench her grief in my waiting embrace!
How do you think that turns out?
There's a lot to love about 1st Issue Special #3, the comic in which Metamorpho returns two months after his backup story in World's Finest #229. It's not the promised series of his own, but it's nevertheless terrific!
A full-length story allows for characterization of the Element Man's supporting characters, which has been missing for some time. For example, Simon Stagg...
I don't recall that we've often seen Rex "transform" into Metamorpho. I guess I assumed he used his chemical properties to maintain his alter ego. If you've ever wondered how masquerades as a handsome adventurer...
I love the way Ramona Fradon draws Simon, Java, and Sapphire, especially Stagg's signature hair and eyebrows, and Java's ape-like, yet human, face:
By the way, what in the world does Rex see in Sapphire, besides the obvious?
The issue concludes with a one-page "article" by Bob Haney called, The Making of Metamorpho the Element Man. He asks readers to imagine they are Metamorpho, providing both his origin and an overall story recap in full text format, concluding with:
…there are things you don’t really know. One is the love and even envy many ordinary mortals feel for you – because your life is rich in action and excitement. The other is just what new surprises that old devil Fate may have in store for you. Yeah, pal, you’re Mrs. Mason’s little boy Rex, who, one day, found himself to be Metamorpho, the Element Man, and you wait and you wonder!
And that leaves us waiting and wondering… will Metamorpho return?