A Tribute to the of

Welcome to the latest edition of the Silver Age Sage: #396.†If you're looking for a previous interview, please scroll down to the†bottom of this page to the Special Features header. There you will find a list of links to all the creators who have been interviewed in the past.

At this rate, Iím going to need to sit down and do an index of the Silver Age Sage. It seems like every time Iím ready to ponder the latest installment, I have to go back through the thumbnail archive to make sure I donít do a repeat. I suppose as we inch ever closer to edition #400 itís inevitable that Iíll look at a story and think, ďHey! Perfect!Ē only to realize Iíd already done it before. Itís happened twice so far, though thanks to the splendid memory of the webmaster, only once did it slip by him. Still, itís kinda embarrassing.

So it struck me that the wonderful Mike Esposito left this world six years ago on October 24th and he was easily one of my favorite creator contacts. I will never forget how saddened and honored I was that his sweetheart Irene called me to let me know, just a short while after contacting his longtime friends, John Romita and Stan Goldberg. I actually broke the story for the internet, though it wasnít with any particular satisfaction. It seems like a good time to remember my friend. For those who may have missed it, I had the honor of eulogizing him for the Scoop news site.

Mike and long-time partner Ross Andru did plenty of things during their career, but I always seem to come back to the Metal Men. Weíve covered all four Showcase appearances of the team here at the Silver Lantern along with a few in their own title and leave us not forget two Brave and the Bold team-ups with the Atom and Metamorpho. [Links to all past Metal Men reviews are on this page.] I wonder if anyone ever thought of teaming them up with the Doom Patrol? It would have been cool to see them interacting with that bunch, especially Robotman.

So, while there are plenty of other appearances of our heroes to look at in the future Iím taking it right back to issue #1 (though the number was left off the cover, a move undertaken to calm the fears of distributors who felt readers wouldn't waste 12 cents on an "untried" title) and review the Bob Kanigher scripted and edited ďRain of the Missile Men!Ē All art, both cover and interior were by Andru and Esposito with cover lettering by Ira Schnapp and interior lettering by the great Gaspar Saladino. Publication date for this issue is April/May of 1963.

Part I begins with some of the usual tropes in any Metal Men story. The group is posing for a photo when Mercury begins to rise under the rays of the sun, remarking that when heated, this will be a natural reaction. Doc Magnus, inventor of the band asks Lead to shield Mercury from the sunís rays and Mercury resents it. He also mentions to the photographer that theyíre each equipped with a responsometer to aid them in responding to any and all situations.

Tin, in his usual self-deprecating manner, displays his inferiority complex while Tina, the Platinum robot reassures him that heís a necessary part of the team. She also dotes on Doc and he announces that heís sending her to the science museum. She resists and pleads, but ultimately obeys her maker.

Back at the laboratory/compound, Magnus tries to shake off the blues settling over the Metal Men in losing their comrade by taking them out in the jet platform, which looks a lot like a flying saucer when abruptly a bunch of meteorites strike a housing that blows sky high and consequently blows Magnus and the Metal Men right out of the craft, ending Part I on a cliffhanger.

Part II opens with the team plunging downward toward the burning tank, but Mercury takes advantage of his natural reaction to heat by shooting upward and providing a lifeline for Doc Magnus. Meanwhile, Tin, the first to land near the inferno tries to contain it, but soon discovers itís hotter than his 232 degrees Centigrade boiling point and melts. Next up is Lead, but he succumbs as well since the heat exceeds his 327 degree Celsius boiling point. Gold and Iron decide to join forces in sort of an amalgam, but despite their 1063 degree and 1535 degree Centigrade rates, they also melt, but they do manage to contain the blaze through their effort.

Magnus finishes off the task with a fire extinguishing setup in the jet platform, but itís too late for everyone but Mercury. In a familiar routine, Doc salvages his Metal Men and takes them back to the lab for a resurrection effort. As he waits for them to finish their recovery, Mercury tries to show that heís still the greatest of them all, but Will Magnus is too distracted to notice the hot headís gyrations.

Just then he receives a call from the museum director demanding he retrieve his platinum robot. Apparently Tina was drawing some huge crowds, but her tears led them to believe sheís just a fake and itís causing trouble. So, Doc and Mercury return to the museum to collect the overjoyed Platinum, closing out Part II.

As we flip the pages of this magazine, a one-page piece called ďMetal Facts and FanciesĒ continues our scientific education, explaining among other things that one hundred million atoms laid end to end would measure a single inch and that when the ancient Romans invaded Britain in 55 B.C. only seven metals out of the eighty currently known had been discovered. Interestingly they were Gold, Mercury, Lead, Tin, Iron, Copper and Silver. On to Part III:

Öwhere we finally begin to get to the heart of the conflict in this story. Doc has Tina check the remains of the fuel storage tank site for debris that he can analyze. She comes up with a piece that he determines is not organic space matter, but something assembled by a machine.

Segue now to deep space where a space craft is on a routine patrol to check on a space junkyard where ďuncontrollable Robot Z-1Ē had been left long ago. As the ship orbits the planet, it is suddenly attacked by meteorites from the surface that turn out to be the missile men, creations of Robot Z-1.

In a flashback sequence we see that Z-1 was dropped off there ďan unmeasured time agoĒ due to his incorrigibility and ďdestructive fury.Ē The dormant robot is unfortunately revived by a solar flare and he immediately begins the business of creating a queen from the nearly limitless junk around him so the they can reign over this realm. When Z-1 is done, however, he discovers heíd only duplicated himself, so he dismisses his clone and continues his labors, ultimately creating an army of duplicates. Slow learner, this robot.

Finally, Z-1 rigs up a telescope to search for a queen and wouldnít you know he spots Platinum on Earth and it sends a thrill through his metal body. Soon he and his clones are bound for Earth where they end up striking the lab complex with a few of their number, bringing us back to the present and wrapping up Part III.

Part IV has the metal band back at full strength and soon we see the missile men causing havoc all over the world as they bust up everything from Big Ben to the Sphinx, the Taj Mahal and the Eiffel Tower. As they shower down, the Metal Men attempt to fend them off and Doc Magnus concludes they must be under the control of a single intelligence. Almost immediately, however, hapless Magnus is bonked in the head by a missile man and is rendered unconscious. Soon itís a duplicate of the cover and splash page where the inventor is out cold while the Metal Men deal with overwhelming odds and are getting bashed up badly themselves.

Soon itís down to just Doc and Tina and a groggy Magnus orders her to run off, against her wishes. The upset Platinum decides to run to the bottom of the nearby bay and thatís when Docís theory bears fruit. He realizes that thereís a reason Tina has been spared and when she runs away, one of the missile men suddenly changes course to follow. Magnus takes the controls of a weapon mounted to the jet platform and fires a ray at Robot Z-1 that causes his body to be powerfully magnetized, drawing the other missile men to it in a huge mass which quickly sinks to the bottom of the bay where it is entombed.

So, the threat is neutralized, the Metal Men are in recoveryÖagain and Doc Magnus vows to fix Tinaís faulty responsometer as she continues to gush over him.

Iíve said it in the past and Iíll say it again. The Metal Men are pure fun and I love Ďem. These stories just make me smile and I always marvel that while the plots are usually pretty similar, there was a lot you could do with such characters, putting them in different fixes, but coming up with ways to exploit their flexibility to overcome the longest odds. I give this one a solid 9 on the 10-point scale as the official kick-off to a long and fun run.

I miss your easy laugh and sense of humor, Mike Esposito, along with the many phone calls we enjoyed. Rest in peace, my friend and thanks for all youíve given to your fans through your body of work.

Check in again the first of November, dear reader, when weíll mark another Silver Age milestone. As you wait for that, donít hesitate to communicate your thoughts and other feedback. Just e-mail me at: professor_the@hotmail.com.

See you soon andÖ

Long live the Silver Age!

© 2000-2016 by Bryan D. Stroud

This feature was created on 05/01/00 and is maintained by

Bryan D. Stroud

Special Features

Gaspar Saladino Interview

Arnold Drake Tribute

Joe Kubert Interview

Joe Giella Interview

Carmine Infantino Interview

Sheldon Moldoff Interview

Neal Adams Interview (Pt. 1)

Neal Adams Interview (Pt. 2)

Ramona Fradon Interview

Bob Rozakis Interview

Dick Giordano Interview

Denny O'Neil Interview (Pt. 1)

Denny O'Neil Interview (Pt. 2)

Irwin Hasen Interview

Lew Sayre Schwartz Interview

Al Plastino Interview (Pt. 1)

Al Plastino Interview (Pt. 2)

Jim Mooney Interview

Russ Heath Interview (Pt. 1)

Russ Heath Interview (Pt. 2)

Frank Springer Interview (Pt. 1)

Frank Springer Interview (Pt. 2)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 1)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 2)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 3)

Joe Simon & Creig Flessel Interviews

Jim Shooter Interview (Pt. 1)

Jim Shooter Interview (Pt. 2)

Len Wein Interview

Tony DeZuniga Interview

Jerry Grandenetti Interview

Murphy Anderson Interview

Mike Esposito Interview (Pt. 1)

Mike Esposito Interview (Pt. 2)

Stan Goldberg Interview

Marv Wolfman Interview

Bernie Wrightson Interview

Clem Robins Interview (Pt. 1)

Clem Robins Interview (Pt. 2)

Joe Rubinstein Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Rubinstein Interview (Pt. 2)

Jack Adler Interview (Pt. 1)

Jack Adler Interview (Pt. 2)

Elliot S! Maggin Interview

Mike Grell Interview

Joe Kubert School Interviews

Anthony Tollin Interview

Sam Glanzman Interview

Ernie Chan Interview

Steve Skeates Interview (Pt. 1)

Steve Skeates Interview (Pt. 2)

Mike Friedrich Interview

Tom Orzechowski Interview (Pt. 1)

Tom Orzechowski Interview (Pt. 2)

Walt Simonson Interview

Gene Colan Interview

Gerry Conway Interview

Guy H. Lillian III Interview

Frank McLaughlin Interview

Al Milgrom Interview (Pt. 1)

Al Milgrom Interview (Pt. 2)

Irene Vartanoff Interview

Don Perlin Interview

John Workman Interview (Pt. 1)

John Workman Interview (Pt. 2)

Tom Palmer Interview

Paul Levitz Interview

Jay Scott Pike Interview

Jack C. Harris Interview (Pt. 1)

Jack C. Harris Interview (Pt. 2)

Carl Potts Interview

Larry Hama Interview

Joe Kubert School Interviews 2

Greg Theakston Interview (Pt. 1)

Greg Theakston Interview (Pt. 2)

Michael Netzer Interview (Pt. 1)

Michael Netzer Interview (Pt. 2)

Alan Kupperberg Interview

Joe D'esposito Interview

Steve Mitchell Interview (Pt. 1)

Steve Mitchell Interview (Pt. 2)

Ralph Reese Interview

Bob McLeod Interview

Bob Smith Interview

Jose Delbo Interview

Joe Staton Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Staton Interview (Pt. 2)

Frank Thorne Interview

Bob Wiacek Interview

Nick Cardy Interview (Pt. 1)

Nick Cardy Interview (Pt. 2)

John Calnan Interview

Sy Barry Interview

Cary Bates Interview

John Severin Interview

Liz Berube Interview

Thom Zahler Interview

Paul Kirchner Interview

Sheldon Moldoff Interview #2

Mike Royer Interview (Pt. 1)

Mike Royer Interview (Pt. 2)

Joe Barney Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Barney Interview (Pt. 2)

Ken Bald Interview

Sal Buscema Interview

Angelo Torres Interview

Alex Ross Interview

Howard Chaykin Interview

shopify visitor statistics

Also check out the Sage's contributions.

The Silver Lantern Site Menu + Map & Updates

HomeThe SageSage Archives1934-19551956
1967196819691970GL Data

All characters mentioned, artwork, logos and other visual depictions displayed, unless otherwise noted, are © by DC Comics. No infringement upon those rights is intended or should be inferred. Cover, interior and other artwork scans and vid-caps are used for identification purposes only. The mission of this non-profit site is to entertain and inform. It is in no way authorized or endorsed by DC Comics and/or its parent company. The Webmaster assumes no responsibility for the content or maintenance of external links.