The Metal Men were created by Doctor Will Magnus, a young, successful, and inventive genius. By the time of the Metal Men's creation, Magnus had already amassed a personal fortune through patent royalties - much of which he invested in his research. The result of one of his projects was a robot made of platinum, female in form, whom Magnus nicknamed Tina.
Unlike conventional robots limited to certain programmed tasks, Tina was powered by a responsometer, a nuclear powered microscopic activator. Not only did this device animate her body, but it endowed the robot with distinct and decidedly human intelligence and personality. It was due to the latter trait that Magnus decided to put Tina in the Science Museum; his activator was too perfect and Tina, to his mind, too much of an annoyance.
Before Doc Magnus could attend that chore, he was alerted to the menace of a monstrous prehistoric winged creation recently released from its glacial resting place. To combat this radioactive menace, Magnus created an entire team of responsometer- powered robots, each forged from a different metal, each with its own unique strengths. These robots he dubbed his Metal Men.
The Metal Men were created by writer Robert Kanigher, pencilled by Ross Andru and inked by Mike Esposito for DC Comics in 1962. The team first appeared in Showcase #37 (March-April 1962) added as last minute fillers. Showcase was a book that was traditionally used in the Silver Age as a way to test waters for new characters and has spun off many successful new characters such as the Silver Age Flash, Silver Age Green Lantern, and Silver Age Atom. After three issues of successful for sales, the Metal Men got spun off into there own title.
Like Tina before them, each of the new robots possesses very individual personality traits.
- Intelligent and analytical, Gold is the team's acknowledged leader. His golden form has all the physical properties of the metal from which he has been forged: he can stretch into a thin wire miles long, or flatten into a sheet 4 millionths of an inch thick.
- Lead is rather slow, but big hearted and reliable. His ability to shield against harmful rays and radiation are a frequent and useful asset to the team.
- Iron is the Metal Men's strongman. Good natured and friendly, he is the group's powerhouse. He is able to be shaped and formed into an infinite variety of objects to assist the team in its missions.
- Mercury is proud, egotistical, and fond of telling anyone who will listen that he is the only metal that is a liquid at room temperature.
- Tin is the smallest and weakest of the Metal Men, though he is possibly the bravest soul, and is always willing to risk his existence to aid anyone in danger. As a result of his feeling inadequate, Tin stutters, although this impediment often vanishes in the heat of battle.
- A further unofficial member of the team was "Nameless", a robot built by Tin. Shy and withdrawn, Nameless was Tin's "girlfriend" until her destruction in battle.
In the course of their career, the Metal Men have fought a variety of foes, most of them robots created for evil. Perhaps their most unusual and deadliest foe is Chemo - a walking stew of chemical waste in gigantic humanoid form, mindless and bent on destruction. Among their other foes are the Missile Men, the Gas Gang, B.O.L.T.S., Doctor Yes, and the Plastic Perils.
Major Story Arcs
The Metal Men's exploits brought them worldwide acclaim. Doc Magnus was constantly struggling with his desire to be rid of these human-like robots and their annoying squabbles and the world's need for their unique abillities. He watched as they were repeatedly destroyed and then brought back to life again.
Magnus eventually retreated into his vast, fully automated research facility and immersed himself in his work. However, the strain proved too much for him and he had a nervous breakdown.
While Magnus recovered, the Metal Men continued to fight as a team. When he was back to himself, Magnus rebuilt the body of Robotman, the only survivor of the Doom Patrol at that time.
Dr. Magnus and his Metal Men moved out of California and the government put them in Illinois, where the populous hated them and TV actor Robot Hunter tried to kill them by bombing Magnus's house.
Later, the Metal Men were mind controlled by Max Lord to attack Fire, Ice and Rocket Red. The metal men became Alloy, but Ice froze the giant being. They survived this experience.
In the New 52 The Metal Men were created by Will Magnus for the army in order to work in hazardous enviroments were normal humans couldn't go. However not long after awakening the group was attacked by Chemo, in order to stop him The Metal Men sacrificed themselves by entering Chemo's body in order to destroy him which also had the unfortunate side effect of destroying their bodies.
The Metal Men would not be re-activated again until Cyborg visited Dr Magnus beseeching him to re-active them so that they could help him fight Grid and stop the Crime Syndicate who had taken over at the time. Dr Magnus was resistant to the idea at first since he had grown attached to the Metal Men and did not want to risk loosing them again, however he eventually agreed. The Metal Men successfully helped in Grid's shutdown and they also fought several Secret Society members on the way.
At one point Platinum was sent to the Justice League recruitment meeting as a potential recruit by Dr Magnus. She malfunctioned during the meeting and started attacking the guests but was promptly shut down by the attending super heroes. Dr Magnus also warned the attendees that if her responsometer were to be destroyed she could not be rebuilt, as it was falling to the ground about to be smashed it was saved by The Atom.
In the Beyond universe, Magnus dismantled the metal men and gave components to different people without their knowledge in order to protect the robots when he was gone. The metal men combined as Alloy were discovered by Rebel-One, who tried to use the being to destroy Neo-Gotham. They were saved by Terry McGinnis and Maxine Gibson.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
The Metal Men appeared twice during the television run of animated series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Their first appearance was in the Season 2, 2-part episode, Seige of Starro!. They later appeared once again in the Season 3 episode, Mitefall!.