by Duncan Rouleau
reviewed by Daniel Von Egidy
As DC’s Infinite Crisis was coming to an end, Grant Morrison took on a job as a creative editor at the publisher, to outline concepts and ideas for several series including All-New Atom, Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, and following their role in 52: the Metal Men. Writer/artist Duncan Rouleau took Morrison’s ideas and really ran with them, resulting in one of the most fun and most dense reads around.
There are pretty much two plots going on here. The first plot takes place in the present, following the events of 52, as several opposing forces seek to enlist the Metal Men to destroy humanity; or destroy the Metal Men so they can’t destroy humanity. At the same time Professor Magnus and his older brother David are trying to fix time in order to prevent an apocalyptic future. The second story is essentially "Metal Men: Year One" as we see Professor Magnus develop the Metal Men, the responso-meters, and as they all become famous as superheroes at the cost of Magnus’ relationship with his girlfriend Helen. Magnus is also at the same time being stalked by a bunch of time traveling medieval alchemists. The storylines eventually intersect but explaining how would take a couple of long paragraphs, some aspirin, and a nap on my part so I’m gonna skip it.
This book is the antithesis of the “five-minute read”. There’s a squillion things going on plot-wise mixed in with all the little scientific fun facts and character bits, and this book really merits re-reading to catch everything that’s going on. But it all looks incredibly beautiful. Duncan has a style similar to Chris Bachalo or Skottie Young resulting in some beautiful design work and dazzling page layouts. The art is just as packed as the story, so some of the storytelling gets lost but that’s almost appropriate in this case. It has almost reached its end so you can pick it all up and read it straight through to this point, or wait for the eventual hardcover due in the summer. Whatever is your preference: just don’t miss this engaging story.