Metamorpho

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CHARACTER

Metamorpho

Rex Mason's love for Sapphire Steel transformed him into the grotesque Element Man, and a heroic member of the Outsiders, Justice League, and Terrifics.

Introduction

Aliases: Rex Mason, the Element Man, Shift
First Appearance: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #57, 1965

 

 

 

One of the world's strangest Super Heroes, Rex Mason is a combination of an intrepid adventurer and gun for hire, and a bizarre and freakish creature. Gaining his super powers when he was tasked with finding an ancient and powerful Egyptian artifact, it turned out the entire mission was a set-up to eliminate him, as his employer did not want the handsome playboy adventurer to marry his socialite daughter. But instead of killing him, the artifact gave him powers unlike those of any other Super-Hero.

 

Now calling himself Metamorpho, the Element Man, Rex was now one of the most powerful beings on Earth, and could transform his body into almost any object that contained natural elements, from something complex like a tank engine to a simple rain cloud. Serving on several different teams, from the Justice League to the Outsiders and more, Metamorpho is a brave hero who has literally given his life several times to save his teammates. Luckily, this flexible hero always finds a way of coming back, and to keep on fighting the good fight. 

 

Origin

Silver Age

metamorpho-origin-B_B57_17-v1.jpg Rex Mason was a bold adventurer, globetrotter, and soldier of fortune, in the style of heroes who populated the pages of old pulp novels. One day, Mason was hired by billionaire Simon Stagg, the CEO of Stagg Industries, to find and bring back a rare and ancient Egyptian treasure known as the Orb of Ra. However, not long after contracting him for the job, Simon Stagg discovers that Mason has been dating his daughter, the bombshell beauty Sapphire Stagg. Because of Mason's rather large personality, Simon Stagg thought he would usurp his status as the most important person in his daughter's life, causing an irrational hatred for Mason. All of this resulted in an elaborate plot from Simon Stagg to eliminate Rex Mason for good. 

 

While inside the Egyptian pyramid where the Orb of Ra is said to be residing, Mason is knocked unconscious by Simon Stagg's Neanderthal-like bodyguard named Java. Now trapped in the pyramid, he finds himself exposed to the energies of the radioactive meteorite from which the Orb of Ra was created from, known as the meteor of Ahk-Ton. The energy of the meteor changes him physically, and Mason soon finds out the he now has the power to shapeshift and change himself into any combination of elements found within the human body. He also discovers that he is practically invulnerable when he is in an inert and unmoving state. However, his face is now pasty white and disfigured, and the rest of his physical body becomes segmented, with each limb appearing to be entirely made of a different elemental substance.

 

Simon Stagg becomes terrified of the new creature he has inadvertently created, and attempts to shoot him and kill him, but to no effect. But The Orb of Ra itself turns out to be Mason's only weakness, and he is crippled whenever he is in its presence. Simon Stagg then used the Orb to control him. He feigns guilt over what happened to Mason, and promises to try and find him a cure. Now calling himself Metamorpho, the Element Man, Mason embarks on a career as a Super-Hero. 

 

Despite his monstrous appearance, Sapphire Stagg does not reject Mason, and her father Simon uneasily accepts that his daughter and the freak he helped create enter into a long and passionate romantic relationship. Regardless of her acceptance, Rex Mason sees himself as a monster, because he cannot transform back into his original appearance, and does everything he can to find a cure himself, but is unsuccessful. He seeks the Justice League of America's help in reversing his condition, but they find themselves unable to help him. They offer him membership, but he refuses, instead accepting his status as a JLA reservist. 

 

During these early years, Metamorpho briefly takes on a crimefighting partner named Urania "Rainie" Blackwell, who called herself the Element Girl. She deliberately exposed herself to the Orb in an effort to gain powers identical to that of Metamorpho. She ultimately stops working with Mason however, because she is madly in love with him, and he only has eyes for Sapphire Stagg. Rex spent the next several years trying to cure himself, but to no avail. He teamed up several times with the Batman during this era, and forever gained the Dark Knight's respect.

 

 

Bronze Age

After many years of solo adventuring, as well as occasionally helping the Justice League, Metamorpho went to the small European country of Markovia to seek the help of its leading scientist, Dr. Helga Jace, in removing his powers. It was while he was in Markovia that the villainous Baron Bedlam attempted to stage a coup. Metamorpho joined with other heroes, some new and some established, all under the leadership of the Batman, in an effort to free Markovia, and a new super team was formed. Rex dubbed them the Outsiders, and the name stuck. This new team would be Metamorpho's surrogate family for several years.

 

While working on finding a cure for Mason, Dr. Jace reconnected Metamorpho with his longtime girlfriend Sapphire Stagg. The reunion was short-lived however, as her father Simon decided to kill Metamorpho once and for all using the Orb of Ra. Seeking a way to revive Metamorpho, she convinces the Outsiders her return to Egypt, to help her look for the original meteor of Ahk-Ton. When they are accidently sent back in time to 1200 B.C., Metamorpho's body was exposed to the ancient meteor all over again and was restored to life. But as soon as he returned to his own time, he found out that this second exposure has trapped him in the form of Metamorpho permanently. However, Sapphire Stagg proposed marriage to him regardless of his permanent, to which Rex readily said yes.

 

 

Post Crisis

Despite all of Dr. Jace's help, it was revealed she was a sleeper agent for an ancient organization known as the Manhunters. She killed Metamorpho, as well as herself in the process. Rex was considered dead for months, until the alien invasion of the race called the Dominators occurred. When the alien race activated their so-called "gene bomb," meant to activate the metahuman gene in humans, Metamorpho was awakened, and returned from the grave. 

 

Rex had temporary amnesia of many events towards the end of his life, and he forgot reconnecting with and marrying Sapphire. He moved to France to become a charter member of Justice League Europe, and after several adventures with the team, his wife came looking for him, and dropped a bombshell on him -- he had an infant son named Joey. After his "death" however, Sapphire was pressured by her father Simon into marrying his bodyguard, and Rex saw this as an absolute betrayal, ending any chance for a reconciliation. 

 

Staying with the JLE, Rex then fell for his new Justice League teammate Vivian D'Aramis, also known as the Crimson Fox. But that relationship was also not meant to last. Not long after, Metamorpho discovered that his son Joey was born cursed with similar powers, and transformed anything he touched. But when he came in contact with the meteor of Ahk-Ton, their energies cancelled each other out, and Joey Mason was rendered normal. 

 

When the Justice League International lost their UN charter, they reformed as an independent League located out of a satellite in space. During an alien incursion, Metamorpho found himself struck by a powerful energy blast that destroyed his body. However, he reforms into a new body, one which looks significantly different from his original one. When the League's satellite HQ is attacked, Metamorpho uses his body to save his fellow Leaguers upon reentry from space. He was rendered inert, and although not officially dead, he ends up buried in Valhalla Cemetery, the Super-Hero graveyard. 

 

Metamorpho returns once again, after an all-powerful sixth-dimensional being comes to Earth and granted everyone's desires. Rex's son Joey Mason wished for his father to be brought back to life, and for a time, he was. But once the imp was defeated, Rex Mason returned to being dead. But while Mason's body lied inert in the ground, his spirit  contacted his former wife Sapphire, and she used the Orb of Ra to truly restore Metamorpho to life for real. Not long after, he joined the short-lived corporately sponsored incarnation of the Doom Patrol. 

 

Some time later, a somewhat different looking version of Metamorpho joined Nightwing's new incarnation of the Outsiders. But things were not as they seemed, as this was an aspect of Rex Mason that had been split off from him when he saved the JLA years earlier upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere. A piece of Rex had broken off, and equipped with most of his memories, thought itself to be the real Rex. After joining these new Outsiders, the real Rex arrived and revealed the truth to him, and asked him to rejoin him and merge. But Nightwing insisted that he had become a separate lifeform, and deserved a chance to live. He stayed with the Outsiders under the new name "Shift." 

 

After some time however, Shift chose to be assimilated into Metamorpho of his own free will, because he had accidentally killed forty four people while on a mission, and couldn't live with the guilt of what he'd done. Afterwards, Metamorpho took over Shift's role in the Outsiders. When Batman took over the team once again, Metamorpho stayed on. He was apparently killed when Talia al'Ghul destroyed a satellite the team was on, but it was later revealed he had used his powers to save himself and his friends. 

 

Although largely absent from the DC Universe after it was altered by the events of 2011's FLASHPOINT, Rex Mason reemerges during the Rebirth era. Simon Stagg forces Rex to change himself into Nth Metal as part of an attempt to open a portal to the Dark Multiverse. Later, Metamorpho would team up with Mister Terrific and Plastic Man in an effort to close the portal before the Dark Multiverse could overrun ours. When they manage to leave the Dark Multiverse behind, Rex alongside these other heroes form The Terrifics. 

 

Powers and Abilities

As Metamorpho, Rex Mason can shapeshift, transforming his body into seemingly endless shapes, using different elemental compounds and form them to his will. Rex has superhuman elasticity, allowing him to stretch and reshape his body, in similar fashion to Plastic Man or Elongated Man. He can alter his form to change into liquid, gas or metallic elemental compounds, and is not limited to elements that would occur naturally in a human body. 

 

His shapeshifting can be limited to specific parts of his body like his hands, and can also form complex mechanical shapes like guns or tanks, or becoming something as simple as a mist or fog. He has enhanced strength and durability as well. Metamorpho can create nearly identical duplicates of himself, some of which gain independent life, such as Shift. In his pre-Metamorpho life, Rex Mason was an accomplished hand to hand fighter, a skill he still retains. Although not technically immortal, thus far Metamorpho has seemed impervious to death, but often has amnesia upon coming back to life.

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Essential Storylines and History

"The Origin of Metamorpho" (THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #37, 1965)

metamorpho-essential1-theelementman-B_B57_00-v1.jpg In his first ever appearance, we are introduced to soldier of fortune Rex Mason, as well as his love interest Sapphire Stagg and her tycoon father Simon. In this origin story, we see how Rex is trapped in the pyramid in the presence of the Orb or Ra, and transformed into the freakish yet powerful Super-Hero Metamorpho. In this very first story, Rex also vows to do whatever it takes to find a cure for his condition, a goal he shall never meet.

 

 

 

 

"Attack of the Atomic Avenger" (METAMORPHO #1, 1965)

metamorpho-essential2-solostardom-metamorpho_01_00-v1.jpg Rex Mason quickly gained his own series, which lasted three years and seventeen issues. In his first issue, he saves Simon Stagg from a disgruntled former friend and partner named Vornak, but nevertheless, Stagg continues to use all his resources to try and destroy Metamorpho, despite Rex having saved his life. 

 

 

 

"Batman and the Outsiders" (THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #200, 1983)

 

metamorpho-essential3-birthoftheoutsiders-BMOUT_01_Cv-v1.jpg In the final issue of the title that introduced him to the world back in 1965, Metamorpho teams up with Batman and several other heroes like Black Lightning, Katana, Halo and Geo-Force to save the country of Markovia from a brutal dictator. Deciding to form a team after their successful first adventure, Rex gives them the name the Outsiders, and it sticks. Now lead by the Dark Knight, Rex and the team relocate to Gotham City.

 

 

 

"Like Father, Like Son" (METAMORPHO #1, 1993)

In this mini-series, his first solo outing since the '60s, Metamorpho meets another hero with powers similar to his own named Jillian Conway, who is convinced that both of them can be cured of their affliction. At the same time, Rex's son Joey begins exhibiting uncontrollable powers, so Rex takes it upon himself to cure his son by any means necessary. Although Joey is ultimately cured, Jillian is tragically killed.

 

 

 

"Them!" (JLA #1, 1997)

metamorpho-essential4-totheendsoftheearth-METAM_01_C1-v1.jpg After having died and come back to life twice already, Metamorpho makes his most valiant sacrifice ever, when the satellite headquarters of the Justice League is attacked from the aliens known as the Hyperclan. As the JLA satellite plummets to Earth, Rex shields his teammates from death by using his body to protect them upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere, but dies in the process, heroically saving his friends. He would eventually get better though, proving you can't keep a good Element Man down.

 

 

 

"Pay As You Go: The Wrong to Do Right" (THE OUTSIDERS ANNUAL #1, 2007)

In the second incarnation of the Outsiders, Nightwing recruits Metamorpho, who has seemingly undergone a change in appearance. But it is later revealed to be a duplicate of the real Rex Mason, just one who has all of his powers and memories. Allowed to live independently, Shift accidentally kills 44 people during a prison break to rescue a teammate. No longer being able to live with the guilt, he begs the real Metamorpho to reabsorb him, effectively killing himself. 

 

 

 

 

"Meet the Terrifics" (THE TERRIFICS #1, 2018)

metamorpho-essential5-intothedarkmultiverse-TTERR_Cv1_con_var-v1.jpg After making minimal appearances since the DC Universe was rebooted due to the events of Flashpoint, Rex Mason returns with a vengeance in the aftermath of 2017's DARK KNIGHTS: METAL. Simon Stagg tries to open a portal to the Dark Multiverse, which finds Metamorpho trapped in between worlds, transmuted into Nth Metal. Although he manages to escape, he and several other heroes form a new team called the Terrifics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Affiliations

  • • Justice League of America
  • • Outsiders
  • • Justice League Europe
  • • Seven Soldiers of Victory
  • • Doom Patrol
  • • The Terrifics  

Appearances in Other Media

Television

Guest Appearances/Cameos

 

Animation:

  • • Justice League
  • • Justice League Unlimited
  • • Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • • Beware the Batman
  • • DC Super Hero Girls
  • • Young Justice: Outsiders

 

Film

Guest Appearances/Cameos

 

  • • Teen Titans Go! To The Movies