Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
I feel like you get more out of him if you know your periodic table: Metamorpho, the Element Man
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Appearances in Heroclix: World’s Finest, Batman, Collateral Damage
First Appearance: The Brave and the Bold #57
Team Affiliantions: Outsiders, Seven Soldiers of Victory, Doom Patrol, Justice League, Terrifics
Created by: Bob Haney and Ramona Fradon
Rex Mason spends the first few years of his adult life gaining fame as an adventurer. Stagg Enterprises CEO, Simon Stagg, eventually hires Rex to retrieve the rare Egyptian artifact the Orb of Ra. Soon after hiring Rex, Simon realizes the adventurer is in a relationship with his daughter Sapphire. This leads to Simon planning to kill Rex.
Inside an Egyptian pyramid, Rex is knocked out and tied up by Simon’s bodyguard, Java. When Rex awakens, he is being exposed to the original radioactive meteorite that the Orb of Ra was carved from. The energy in the meteorite flares up and transforms Rex from a normal human into a metahuman that is able to shape shift and change into any element or combination of elements found in the human body. Rex adopts the moniker of Metamorpho, the Element Man and soon discovers that he is nigh invulnerable in his new natural state when Simon shoots him. However, the Orb of Ra’s radiation is able to severely weaken and hurt Rex. Simon uses this knowledge to control the new hero.
Rex is unable to transform back into his “normal” body and soon begins to view his powers as a disease. This leads him to rejecting an offer to join the Justice League of America and seeking help from Green Lantern. However, due to a “yellow component” of the radiation, the power ring is unable to help.
Urania Blackwell deliberately exposes herself to the Orb and gains similar powers. She calls herself Element Girl and joins Rex as a partner for a time. Sapphire soon marries another man leaving Rex heart broken and vulnerable to the advances of an evil immortal queen bent on world domination. She marries Rex only to instantly age 2,000 years the moment she steps outside her domain. Sapphire’s husband is soon murdered by Algon, a century old being empowered by the Orb of Ra, who frames Rex. Mr. Shadow, a seeming ally of Rex, turns on the hero and helps convict him of the murder that results in the Element Man’s execution. Element Girl is able to resurrect Metamorpho and Algon is killed when trying to regain his powers via molten lava minerals.
Rex then goes into hibernation in a painful chemical in an attempt to cure his powers. Simon Stagg pulls Rex out of the “cure” too soon because Sapphire is in danger. Element Girl cuts all ties with Rex after her feelings go unanswered. She asks Ra to remove her powers and the god obliges, resulting in Element Girl’s death.
Metamorpho eventually joins the Outsiders and aids them on several cases. After Dr. Jace, the Outsiders’ scientific adviser, sides with the Manhunters she brainwashes Metamorpho into helping her. Metamorpho then battles the Outsiders and is killed. Years later when a gene-bomb is detonated in the Earth’s atmosphere, he is again resurrected.
Rex eventually accepts an invitation to join the Justice League and spends time with their European team. During this time, the League end up battling the Metal Men who are helping Simon Stagg. After a battle between the two forces, Rex learns that he and Sapphire have a son who has already manifested powers. When Java holds the new born his arms literally melt off his torso. Metamorpho, who is unaffected by his son’s powers, hands the boy over to Simon only for the old man to remain unaffected. Seeing his grandson softens Simon’s feelings and everyone is free to leave. On the way home, the other Leaguers ask Rex how he knew Simon would be unaffected and Metamorpho reveals that he hoped his son would kill the elder Stagg.
The Hyperclan destroys the JLA’s orbiting base and Metamorpho transforms into a giant ball of fluid to save Nuklon, Obsidian and Icemaiden’s life. While the other three make it with minor injuries, Metamorpho does not and is buried with full Justice Leage honors. He is temporarily resurrected when his son Joey wishes for him to be back, but because he didn’t wish for Rex to be alive again the wish goes awry. Sapphire Stagg later gains the Orb of Ra and is able to use its radiation to resurrect Rex properly, after which he joins the Doom Patrol.
During his time with the Doom Patrol, Rex learns that the Outsiders claim to have an “Metamorpho” of their own. He visits the team and informs them that their Metamorpho is just a regrown fragment of his own body. He tries to reabsorb his “twin,” but the team convince him that this other being is worthy of its own life. Rex relents and the twin calls himself Shift. Shift develops a relationship with Indigo and is depressed when she dies. Following a year of mistakes and several accidental murders, Shift seeks Metamorpho out and asks to be reabsorbed. Rex agrees and rejoins the Outsiders. He is on the team when they are on a satellite that is destroyed by Talia al Ghul. Though believed dead for quite some time, Rex was actually able to repeat the liquid bubble maneuver to save the team. And, seemingly learning from the first time, he is able to survive as well.
Simon Stagg endeavors to open a portal to the Dark Multiverse and transforms Metamorpho into Nth metal to accomplish this. Though Plastic Man and Mister Terrific try to get Simon to close the portal, both of the heroes are pulled into alongside Rex. Plas is able to shield the other two from the Dark Multiverse energies and they arrive on a lifeless world where they find Phantom Girl, trapped in her intangible form. The four find a computer in a giant creature from Tom Strong stating that they need to save the universe. They are able to return to their universe only to find that the four of them are magically bonded now. They form a new team called the Terrifics.
The team soon faces a resurrected Algon who intends on transforming the population of earth in element people. The team is able to defeat Algon with the Orb of Ra, only for Rex to be transformed into his human form again. The team disbands soon after and Rex becomes depressed, missing his life of heroing. He and Element Dog sneak into Stagg Industries and use the Orb of Ra to regain their powers. They then battle Doctor Dread, really Simon’s bodyguard Java, and his Dreadfuls. After defeating Doctor Dread, Rex becomes chief security officer of Stagg Industries and repairs his relationship with Sapphire.