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Metamorpho Pt. 28: The Brave & the Bold #154, DC Comics Presents #40


Title: The Brave & the Bold

Issue #: 154

Cover Date: September, 1979

On Sale Date: June 21, 1979

Writer: Bob Haney

Artist: Jim Aparo

Editor: Paul Levitz

 
Gotham’s guardian prowling his usual haunts – strictly routine? Don’t you believe it – as here commences a Brave & Bold adventure so bizarre even the Batman feels fear, when he walks…

The Pathway of Doom…

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An anonymous caller asks Batman to meet him in “No-Man’s Land.” However, when he arrives, he’s attacked. Then…

As he begins the search, Batman is tracked by a private eye that Simon Stagg hired to follow him and Achilles, “an international assassin who has written his own legend in the blood of his victims.” Batman has a hunch that the driver of a racing accident in Europe is really Rex Mason, “escaping that inferno in a gaseous form…”

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Part 2: Dead End Mountain

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In Istanbul, Batman learns that there’s a contract on him. He then traces Metamorpho to Kaldoz, “a half-legendary city just across the border. Finally, he locates him…

Long story short, Metamorpho was duped into smuggling gold across the border and the gang responsible had hired Achilles to stop Batman from interrupting him.

 

Title: DC Comics Presents

Issue #: 40

Cover Date: December, 1981

On Sale Date: Sept. 10, 1981

Writer: Gerry Conway

Penciller: Irving H. Novick

Inker: Frank McLaughlin

Editor: Julius Schwartz

 

The Day the Elements Went Wild!

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Something strange is happening in and around Haneyville: elements are changing into other elements without warning. On his way to report for WGBS…

Superman learns that Metamorpho lives in Haneyville in the Stagg Mansion just outside of town. He’s suspicious of the Element Man’s role in all this, but Sapphire Stagg says it’s not him causing the freak activity; it’s her father, Simon Stagg.

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It’s not Simon, though, who’s responsible…

By increasing the number of proton or electrons in an atom, you’re upsetting the nuclear balance… which could ultimately result in a nuclear explosion! The Orb of Ra is a potential fusion bomb!

While the two heroes struggle with Java over the Orb, Metamorpho grabs it and takes it up into the stratosphere where it explodes. Sapphire worries that Rex has exploded with it, but…

Notes . Four years and 31 issues of The Brave & the Bold later, Metamorpho returns to comics, co-starring with Batman. Lest we forget the era (and how long it's been since then), look at the inside front cover:

I also like this ad for subscriptions to the Bat-books. I wonder why Detective Comics isn't listed? The title was alive and well, with #509 published the same month as DC Comics Presents #40.

As for Metamorpho, the story in The Brave & the Bold #154 is one of my least favorites. When I wrote above "Long story short," it was another way of saying I didn't understand what the heck was happening without appearing dumb. I guess the gig is up now, though.

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On the other hand, I absolutely loved the story in DC Comics Presents #40, which was published over two years after Metamorpho's previous appearance. Other than his appearances over the years in Justice League of America, this was the first adventure that Bob Haney did not write. Haney may be gone, but he's not forgotten; the name of the town in the story is "Haneyville."

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It was also the first book in which he appeared that was edited by Julius Schwartz. It includes the obligatory recap of the Element Man's origin, told in six panels, which is probably needed as infrequently as he's been appearing.

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Good for Java! We finally see him take some concrete action to get Sapphire for himself. It elevates him from lovesick buffoon to legitimate villain.

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For all intents and purposes, this brings us to the end of this series on Metamorpho. We'll be back one more time, though, to talk about where he's headed and to experience a quick flashback to an unusual 1975 appearance...

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