Metamorpho the Element Man: Two Worlds, One Destiny

Writer / Artist
Metamorpho the Element Man: Two Worlds, One Destiny
etamorpho Two Worlds One Destiny review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: DC - 978-1-4012-6518-2
  • Release date: 2017
  • UPC: 9781401265182
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

Metamorpho is a character who’s been hanging around the DC universe since the 1960s, and since the 1960s no-one’s really had any great idea what to do with him. Should a strange, four-quartered hero able to transform into any element and coalesce again be played as comedy or tragedy? Should he operate solo or as part of a team? Should he be forever tethered to the supporting cast introduced along with him? The suspicion is because writing intelligent stories about a superhero able to transform into any element requires knowing those elements and their properties in the first place, no-one since Metamorpho’s creator Bob Kanigher could be bothered with the research.

Aaron Lopresti begins with a clean slate, rebooting Metamorpho, choosing to retain ethically void industrialist Simon Stagg, upgrading his daughter Sapphire to a biochemist, and keeping Stagg’s assistant Java as an evolutionary advanced caveman. Rex Mason remains the tragically transformed adventurer. Stagg believes the artefact that transformed Mason, the Orb of Ra, is a new power source, and is keen to exploit it, the personal cost to Mason being irrelevant. He’s not the only one. While Lopresti keeps broadly to the original origin story, he expands it by also featuring alien criminal Kanjar Ro.

Being both writer and artist assures Lopresti a greater amount of control than a standard superhero project, and he has given the effects of assorted elements some consideration, working them into the story via Sapphire’s knowledge rather than Metamorpho’s. Visually, Lopresti has tinkered slightly, making the various substances that form Metamorpho less even looking, so now part of him is rockier, while another portion seems to be a stiff breeze away from being completely gaseous. Otherwise his is the solid, clean style that’s graced superhero comics for years, unaffected by different inkers in delivering complete environments and interestingly designed creatures populating them. That’s required, because in reconfiguring what Metamorpho is Lopresti anchors him solidly to a different culture. It’s intriguing, holding a promise never followed up.

Despite that, Two Worlds, One Destiny stands alone as a neat adventure story delivering several surprises. The final page when almost everything has been cleared up is slightly disappointing in not spelling everything out, but that’s a minor quibble. During a period when DC made some terrible mistakes in revising their heroes, Metamorpho is a rare exception emerging stronger.