Friday, August 23, 2019

Metamorpho #1

I'll be disappointed if this series doesn't contain at least on Francium joke.

This Metamorpho comic book from 1993 costs $1.50. Remember just six years ago when a Teen Titans Spotlight On: comic book cost just seventy-five cents?! How the hell did comic book prices double in just six years?! I guess once they decided to stop raising comic prices by nickels and dimes every time and just opted for a full quarter, the price of comics was destined to sky rocket. This comic book on regular newsprint in 1993 costs as much as the Baxter Paper comics introduced in the eighties! Maybe this paper isn't quite newsprint. It looks and feels like it might be a tiny bit sturdier, the inks look more defined, and the colors look sharper. I don't know how long it took for comic book prices to double again but I know somewhere around 2010 or so, DC marched out their "Drawing the line at $2.99!" marketing shtick. Now I think DC's motto is "We don't know what happened! Somebody moved the line! It's not our fault!"

How does Metamorpho work? Even if one had the power to turn into any element in existence, how do you go about it? Yes, I'm asking more from my comic books than they're prepared to give me! It's just, even if I understood on an instinctual level how to turn my atoms into hydrogen and then combine two of those to make helium and then to do whatever nasty thing helium does to another hydrogen to get lithium (I bet it's butt stuff), how much research would I have to do to know when to stop the process so I can be lead instantaneously?! I bet I'd try to turn into lead to stop bullets from hitting some innocent victim and I'd miscalculate and wind up being mercury. That'd mean one dead innocent victim! I'd never manage it! I mean, I pretty much stalled out on my knowledge of the periodic table of elements when I got to lithium! Sure, I know carbon is like six or something and oxygen is around eight. And I know the noble gases (one of which is krypton!) line up along the right hand side while the soft and impotent metals are all over on the left hand side. And I now there's like a row of unimaginariums or something that doesn't quite fit and has to sit at the bottom of the chart the way Alaska and Hawaii are always depicted in a map of the United States! Plus I know some of the symbols like O and H and N (oh! Isn't Nitrogen like five or something?! Maybe seven! It's like a little row of super important shit!) and Au and Ag and As!

Okay, I'm going to stop showing off now. You get it! I know a lot more about the periodic table than most people's five year olds. Fucking genius, I am!

This issue begins with Rex Mason being proud of his ability to steal and loot from other cultures. He's all, "It was never about the money! I just loved shoving how incompetent their security was in the faces of all those stupid Yeti tribes and indigenous peoples. I mean, if these valuable relics and ancient artifacts were really so important to your people, maybe make your deadly traps more deadly, you big dumbies!" So right off the bat, some readers are going to be, "Boo! Rex Mason is cancelled!" But not me! I just threw my arms in the air and yelled, "You give those dirty nobodies what-for, Rex! Take their beautiful diamond that probably houses the souls of all of their ancestors! Make them pay for not investing in a safety deposit box in an international bank chain! Don't they know how capitalism works?!"

Ha ha! "Donated" by Rex Mason. What a complete and utter dick.

I get how exciting it must have been to be a looter of other countries' treasures. I did play a lot of Dungeons & Dragons as a kid and I never once thought about the poor orc whose home I was invading so I could shove a sword up his ass and steal his precious copper pieces (which I was absolutely disappointed in). Sure, it seems fucked up when you think about it like that. But that's before you remember the alignment system! The orc was automatically the bad guy with his evil alignment! Anything you wanted to do to him was just fine! He was the bad guy! If he didn't want me stealing his copper, maybe he should have made a show of giving up his evil ways and took on the trappings of man and elf! But no! He was content to sit in his dirty hole with his dirty family eking out a dirty living being a rotten, evil monster worth a few lousy experience points. You can't make me care about that stupid orc no matter how many John Gardner wannabes write Grendelesque fan fiction about how the bad person was just a regular ordinary person who got the short end of life's dumb stick! It's fucking propaganda! Wicked, my ass! Don't go making excuses for that witch! She knew what she was doing when she chose a life of flying monkeys and stealing shoes!

"Ha ha! Found. More sherry?"

It's weird to think that Western Civilization has mostly come to the realization that all of these treasures in museums were found at all. Sure, the people in power and the people in charge mostly aren't coming to that conclusion because why would you when you own everything now? But we understand the context of archaeological theft much better. But even as kids watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, how did we not realize Indy was obviously stealing that golden idol right at the beginning? It was in a secure location guarded by traps and after he stole it, the owners tried to chase him down to stop it. And he was as good a guy as you could get in 1981! I guess when one of the greatest tenets of capitalism is "Finders keepers, losers weepers," it's understandable that we all rooted on a terrible thief of cultural artifacts.

Rex Mason has given up his exciting career of liberating treasures from dolts who don't know the value of their sacred religious objects because stealing from primitive people and Yetis who just want to be left alone has become too easy. Also he's full of guilt over having a son. His son must live in quarantine since he can turn whatever he touches into other elements. Sapphire's right breast is now polonium.

I'm not even going to be distracted from reading this comic book by pondering how Metamorpho had a kid. Last I checked, spermatozoa wasn't on the periodic table of elements.

The greatest female archaeologist, Jillian Conway, arrives to tell Rex she's found a cure for his condition (and probably his son's too!). Apparently the Orb of Ra won't kill Metamorpho; it'll cure him if he allows himself to succumb to its power. And she knows this because she was exposed to the meteorite too!

Gross. Can't she make herself hotter by becoming platinum?

Rex agrees to go looking for the Orb of Ra (which was stolen from Stagg) with Jillian. At first, I thought things were going to get romantic. And then I thought things might get alchemic. But then Rex decided the first thing he should do is kidnap his son and bring him on the adventure with them. So I guess this is going to be one of those kinds of stories. A wacky family comedy where dad has to handle the baby all by himself on a trip around the world while the too-disgusting-to-look-at love interest gets ignored.

Rex leaves a note for Sapphire but her father trashes it and just tells her Rex kidnapped their son. Why she might believe him and how she came to marry Java, fuck if I know. This was back when DC actually allowed characters to have involved and intimate relationships that led to weird freak baby children!

I didn't realize it was canon that Sapphire Stagg is the best looking woman in the DC Universe (followed closely by Abigail Arcane).

Metamorpho #1 Rating: A-. Not a bad start to a nice little story about fatherhood, capitalism, and second marriages. It might also be about ugly people because all but one of these characters are hideous freaks. Sure, most characters would be hideous freaks compared to Sapphire Stagg. But even disregarding her ethereal beauty so powerful that I've already struck Erin Esurance from the top of my list of cartoon characters I want to touch in a sexy place, they're all disgusting monsters.

I just made that list up. It doesn't actually exist. Never mind what I'm holding behind my back.

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