Skip to content

Who Is Metamorpho? DC Comics’ Element Man

Metamorpho DC Comics Elemental Man

During the mid-1960s, unconventional heroes like the Doom Patrol or the Metal Men found a bit of success at DC Comics. To capitalize some more on what seems to be a trend, writer Bob Haney and artist Ramona Fradon were asked to create a new character in the same vein. The result was Metamorpho who debuted in The Brave and the Bold #57 (January 1965).

Also known as the Element Man, Metamorpho found immediate success and started appearing in other popular titles like Justice League of America (even if he refused to become a full-time member), but he also got his own ongoing series. It lasted only 17 issues though. However, this was by far the end of the character.

The Metamorpho Origin Story

The story of Metamorpho started when businessman Simon Stagg hired adventurer Rex Mason to collect the Orb of Ra, a valuable treasure from ancient Egypt. For Stagg, it was as much about getting the orb as it was about getting rid of Mason who was involved with his daughter Sapphire. It’s no surprise then that Mason is deceived by Stagg during the trip to the pyramid of Ahk-Ton to recover the relic, and in an attempt to destroy him, the soldier is exposed to the radiation of a meteor that had been trapped there for a long time now. As a result, Mason becomes Metamorpho. His altered physiology gave him the capacity to modify his body into any element or chemical present in the human body. Because of this, Metamorpho can change his appearance, adapt to different situations, and turn his limbs into weapons.

After that, Rex’s adventures began as he escaped and went on a search for a cure. He didn’t want to stay Metamorpho—and that’s why he refused to become a member of the league. This will change later on.

Batman and the Outsiders Annual #2
Batman and the Outsiders Annual #2

Metamorpho, Team Player

Metamorpho came back during the 1970s in some back-issue stories, but it’s his team-up with Batman that put him back on the map as the cape crusader brought him back to active duty and made him a member of the Outsiders, a team of misfit heroes that don’t follow the same rules as the Justice League.

Nevertheless, Metamorpho did join the league, its European incarnation during the JL International era—at that point, Rex Mason had embraced his nature. Later, he also became a member of the Doom Patrol and The Terrifics.

Due to his nature, Metamorpho is almost unkillable, but he was “killed” more than once—during the Millennium event for example or while saving his teammate in the first issue of JLA by Grant Morrison. Nevertheless, he always comes back.

Metamorpho: Recommended Reading

At this point, Metamorpho was the star of his own series, the first volume from the 1960s and the short second volume from 1993. A six-issue miniseries Metamorpho: Year One was published in 2007 and offered a reimagined origin story. He did a lot more as a member of the Outsiders, see volumes one and two of the Batman and the Outsiders series, and as part of Justice League Europe and The Terrifics.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *