Who Is Metamorpho? The Charismatic And Enigmatic Superhero To Appear In Superman: Legacy
Rex Mason, known as “The Element Man” or Metamorpho, is another of DC Comics’ fictional superheroes. His creators were Haney and artist Ramona Fradon in 1964. They based it on the ideas of George Kashdan. Metamorpho is one of the founding members of the Outsiders.
Who is Metamorpho?
Metamorpho is famous for possessing a unique ability to transform his body into any periodic table element. He can turn specific body parts into tools or weapons against others.
His origins go back to an adventurer hired by Simon Stagg, a business tycoon, to recover an artifact called the Orb of Ra in Egypt. Unaware of the risks, Rex exposed himself to the radiation emanating from the Orb, which turned out to be a meteorite.
But, Rex was not the only Metamorpho, but one of many created by “Ra”, the sun god. His mission was to serve as a warrior in his battle against the god APEP, called “The serpent that never dies”.
Unlike other super humanoids, Metamorpho could not fully assume his normal human appearance. For Rex, his powers stemmed from an illness, hence his quest for a cure. He wished to return to normalcy, hence his refusal to join the Justice League of America.
Metamorpho Publication History
Metamorpho was part of the characters that were present in the ’60s. A founding member of the Outsiders group, he has had different affiliations with superhero groups.
Metamorpho was introduced in issues 57 and 58 in 1965 in The Brave and The Bold magazine. That gave rise to the superhero having his own series. The series had 17 editions, in which Joe Orlando, Jack Sparling and Sal Trapani participated as cartoonists.
Likewise, he participated in issues 42 and 44 in the Justice League of America series. Metamorpho was the second superhero who refused the invitation to join the Justice League. But, he was a reservist in the crossover between the Justice League and the Justice Society.
The superhero is present on the cover of Aquaman, carrying the coffin at the “Funeral of the Sea King”. He reappeared after the end of his series in The Brave and The Bold 101. He teamed up with Batman and carried out several of his adventures.
By 1974, Fradon and Haney reunited and asked DC Comics to do another Metamorpho story. As a result of this work, in 1975, another storyline by the same authors reappeared. It was published in the magazine’s 1st Special Issue, in issue number 3.
The Appearance in The Brave and The Bold
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Metamorpho was not so popular, but even so, in 1983, he appeared in The Brave and The Bold and 40 of DC Comics Presents, appearing in issues 123 and 154. The superhero was part of the Outsiders team. That allowed him in 1993 to have his own four-issue miniseries.
Trying to relaunch old superheroes, DC Comics decided in 2005 to reissue the superhero in black and white. Specifically, they edited the 17 issues of Metamorpho’s 1965 series, The Brave and the Bold.
In 2007, Metamorpho: Year One appeared, written and drawn by Dan Jurgens. The miniseries consisted of 6 issues, which completely reinvented his origin. Likewise, in 2016, Metamorpho was the protagonist of the anthology series Legends of Tomorrow.
Metamorpho’s Fictional History
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Rex Mason’s story begins by showing the adventurer hired by Simon Stagg. This scientist and tycoon, the owner of Stagg Enterprises, is interested in recovering a strange Egyptian object called the Ra Orb.
After hiring Rex, the scientist learns he is dating his daughter, Sapphire Stagg. That unleashed uncontainable anger in Simon, generating an aversion towards Rex, which ended in a plot to assassinate him.
Java, Simon’s bodyguard, knocks Rex unconscious. Then, Rex exposes himself to the radioactive meteorite which formed the Orb of Ra. An explosion transforms Rex into Metamorpho.
Then, the fictional story of Metamorpho goes through several phases such as:
Once he obtained his powers, the origin story of the adventurer Rex Mason continued. He did it alone until Batman called him to form a group alongside other heroes. The mission was to rescue Lucius Fox, Bruce Wayne’s friend.
When they succeeded, the group decided to stay together and called themselves Outsiders. Among their team was Dr Jace, who advised them and investigated how to return Rex to normal. After discovering a method, he summoned his girlfriend Sapphire Stagg to a meeting.
But, the girl’s father, Simon Stagg, killed Rex with the Orb of Ra. The doctor has no choice but to declare him dead. Consequently, her team members went to Egypt to locate the Ahk – Ton meteorite; they wanted to save him.
The Outsiders were transported to 1200 B.C. and again exposed Rex to the meteorite, managing to restore him. But, with this second exposure, Rex could no longer revert to his human form, remaining permanently as a Metamorpho. Upon returning to the 20th century, Rex asked his girlfriend to marry him, who accepted.
Between his adventures, Metamorpho spent time in the Justice League, including the Europa chapter. He reunited with Sapphire Stagg, and his father, who tricked the Metal Men, entered the scene again. They ended up involved in a battle against the superhero.
In his previous stage, he did everything possible to have a child with Sapphire. But he discovered he had that much-desired baby at the end of this battle. That baby had a typology like his father’s, so it can affect others, except for his father, mother and grandfather.
Sometime later, Metamorpho had a romantic relationship with Crimson Fox. That relationship ended badly, as people thought Fox was dead. However, her investigation showed otherwise.
In the end, in a fight against aliens, the superhero was hit by a powerful energy blast. The blast destroyed Metamorpho’s body, and he formed something completely different. He wears this new look until he disappears again.
Third death and return
Metamorpho protected his teammates, the Icemaiden Nuklon and Obsidian, while the Hyperclan attacked and destroyed the orbital base of the Justice League of America.
The three of them and Metamorpho crossed the Earth’s atmosphere, but the superhero died. Id temporarily resurrected him. Only later, Sapphire Stagg brought him back to life using Orb Ra.
Then, in an accident with Simon Stagg’s experiment, Sapphire, Joey, and Simon became one energetic being. That caused Metamorpho to adopt both the form and personality of Java. Thanks to Canary’s help, he could return to his original shape.
Outsiders / “Shift”
Metamorpho continues to appear in the Outsiders series (vol. 3). In this plot, the superhero was “a regrown fragment of his own body”. That is, he had formed a twin. Because of this, Rex tried to reassimilate him, but the Outsider team convinced him to let the twin lead his own life.
His twin assumed the name “Shift” and strengthened his relationship with Indigo. When she passed away, the twin became depressed. After a year, the twin voluntarily reassimilated into Metamorpho. What they didn’t know was that Shift had murdered several.
Thus, it fell to Rex to step in and take Shift’s place in the Outsiders. Shift’s crimes are in Outsiders Vol. 3. Incredibly, he had inadvertently murdered 44 people. That occurred during Black Lightning’s escape from Iron Heights Penitentiary.
Metamorpho in The New 52
The New 52 reinvented the plot, revealing that the Outsiders survived. Metamorpho was the one who saved them with the same technique used to rescue the Justice League. He was one of the candidates to form the new Justice League International but was not selected.
Metamorpho is in the Watchmen sequel, Doomsday Clock. The superhero is in the news as a “Superman Theory”. It showed that the government was experimenting on humans to give them superpowers.
As part of his macabre plan, Simon Stagg, transmuted Metamorpho into Nth Metal. With this, he sought to open the portal to the Dark Multiverse. The superhero fought and tried to get Simon, Plastic Man, and Mister Terrific to close the portal. In parallel, Plastic Man protected everyone else from the energy emanating from that multiverse, to which he was immune.
The four arrived at a lifeless world, encountering Phantom Girl, who had been trapped there for some time. Thus, they found a computer and received a hologram of Tom Strong. Strong told them that they needed them to save the universe.
Metamotpho’s Powers and Abilities
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Metamorpho is one of the few superheroes who can transform his body at will. For this, he uses a variety of elemental compounds of nature. Initially, he was limited to the natural elements immersed in the human body.
But, as time passed, this limitation vanished, and he could form and combine compound elements. Thus, this superhero can assume liquid, gaseous or solid forms.
His abilities are not limited to his entire body; he can mold specific parts whenever possible. Metamorpho can make shapes as complex as a tank or as simple as a spring.
That is how Rex possesses natural body armor on his body. He manages to resist damage, energy attacks, or blunt attacks. His abilities and powers make him an ideal partner in the fight against evil.
Metamorpho’s Other Versions
In other versions, Metamorpho comes out as:
Metamorpho and Rex Mason are present in the miniseries formed by 12 issues of Justice. Here he is a fundamental member of the Justice League, developing an exemplary role in his performance as a superhero.
JLA: The Nail
The plot in Elseworlds, JLA: The Nail, shows an unstable Metamorpho. He forcibly assassinated The Thinker, motivated by the unknown mastermind behind the anti-human propaganda.
He then attacked the Lexcorp tower in the city of Metropolis. Versions of J’onn J’onzz arrested him. He explained later that he performed these actions because they threatened his family. Finally, Metamorpho passes away.
After the sequel shown in JLA: Another Nail, the Outsiders search for traces of his essence to bring him back to life. Their work was interrupted, failing to complete their mission and leaving the uncertainty of whether it would be possible to revive him.
DC: The New Frontier
DC has a series of 12 issues by Darwyn Cooke called DC: The New Frontier. This character comes out alongside the other members of the Justice League at the end of the series.
Metamorpho in Smallville
Metamorpho appears in season 11 of Smallville, a digital comic based on the TV series of the same name. The superhero is a founding and active member of the Outsiders.
Batman: Arkham Knight
Arkham Knight is a Batman prequel comic book. Metamorpho has a different origin in that storyline. The superhero is the result of a project called Meta. Meta was about converting the mud obtained from Clayface into weaponry. Stagg Enterprises orchestrated all of this.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
This superhero also appears in a prequel to the comic book Injustice: Gods Among Us. Here he is depicted as a member of the High Councilor Superman regime.
In his fourth year, Plastic Man breaks into an underwater pressure to rescue his son. In this way, he confronts Metamorpho, who runs the prison.
Everything took him by surprise, and when I least expected, Metamorpho, the son of Plastic Man, and the rest of the prisoners were transferred to a Mirror dimension. For this, he used Mirror Master technology.
Metamorpho’s Appearances in Other Media
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Metamorpho appears in other media, such as:
On the small screen, Metamorpho appears:
DC Animated Universe
Metamorpho was present in the DC animated universe in:
- Justice League animated series, voiced by Tom Sizemore. The origin shown is different from the traditional one. His powers no longer come from an Orb of Ra, but he is exposed to a mutagen that transforms him into a superhero. In addition, he is an old marine friend of John Stewart.
- Metamorpho is present in Justice League Unlimited, but without speaking.
Metamorpho also appears in:
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Scott Menville. The version presented here is that of a teenage member of the Outsiders.
- Beware the Batman, voiced by Adam Baldwin.
- Arrow, where Metamorpho is the name of a company in Star City. In the plot, the superhero is doomed after the Glades earthquake.
- She is also a background character in DC Super Hero Girls.
- Young Justice: Outsiders, voiced by Fred Tatasciore. In this series, he is a member of Batman Inc. It shows how due to the side effects of his powers, he’s in constant pain that torments his body.
This character is in the movies as in:
- Justice League: The New Frontier.
- Teen Titans Go! to the Movies.
- He appears in the upcoming DC Universe (DCU) live-action film Superman: Legacy. The actor playing him will be Anthony Carrigan.
Metamorpho: The Charismatic and Enigmatic Superhero to Appear in Superman: Legacy
Image: DC Comics
This character has had moderate popularity in the world of comics. However, this superhero is one of those who will be part of this phase of DC’s restructuring.
According to James Gunn, Metamorpho will be part of the superheroes of Superman: Legacy. The movie will release on July 11, 2025. The plot is expected to be action-packed, with a world full of heroes and villains when Superman returns.
Featured Image Via DC Comics