May 2, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 797: Metal Men #45, May 1976

Back when I was a kid, I had an old Blue Ribbon Digest that had a few adventures of the Inferior Five in it that I loved dearly. I'll admit, I've always considered the Metal Men very similarly to the IF. I think it's because, more often than not, they're written as caricatures, and it's very hard to get any emotional depth from characters that are very much defined by a single personality trait. I haven't read the Duncan Fegredo series from a few years back, so I don't know if that problem is addressed, but I get the suspicion that it's not.

I've been looking for this comic for a while, though for some reason every time I find it, it's relatively expensive. I took the plunge this weekend and picked it up. The reason I've been searching for it is, of course, for its writer Steve Gerber. But this comic is not very Gerberian at all, really. It's a pretty straightforward superteam comic, with a slight twist at the end with regards to the villain. But it's also the first Metal Men to have been published in 3 years, so there's a lot of reintroduction, and a lot of exposition that needs to happen. What really stands out in the comic is the artwork of Walt Simonson. His style is so distinct and kinetic that it's impossible not to enjoy his work, I think. He verges just on the side of cartoonishness, but manages to convey a sense of real movement even from characters that don't in themselves communicate a sense of reality. And this both from the human and the nonhuman characters represented.

I'm glad to have finally procured this comic, as it'll occupy a place of distinction in my Steve Gerber collection, but it's definitely not one of my favourites of his works.

To be continued.

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