Lead slams his fist down on an iron safe. Proving too soft to do any damage to the safe, Lead steps aside to give Mercury a shot. Mercury pours himself onto the safe, which proves to be airtight. Tin steps forward and molds his hand into a key, which breaks in the lock. Platinum, though, realizes that Tin's solution is the correct one for opening the safe. Tin was just too weak to succeed. Platinum molds her own hand into a key, and opens the safe. Lead, Mercury, and Tin then remove a stack of gold bars from the safe. The iron safe and the gold bars then resume the shapes of the Metal Men, Iron and Gold, to the wild applause of the college crowd. The Metal Men open up for a question and answer session.
When an inquiry is made regarding their inventor, Doctor William Magnus, the Metal Men grow silent. For good reason. Magnus had been abducted and brainwashed by the dictator of the tiny nation of Karnia. Though the dictator was slain, Magnus began his own campaign of terror against the world. Brought "home" by the C.I.A., Magnus was incarcerated in a mental health facility. His therapy, however, was not going well. To offset the high cost of Magnus' therapy, Magnus is moved into a factory complex, as part of a works-oriented therapy program. Magnus is asked to create the ultimate Metal Man, for the United States Government. Weeks pass. Due to their non-human status, the Metal Men are refused lodging at a hotel.Suddenly, an armed thug bursts into the lobby, demanding money.
Iron closes on the gunman, who empties his weapon on Iron. The ricochet of the gunfire clips one of the hotel patrons. Gold and Mercury tackle the gunman, winding their bodies about him to incapacitate him. The gunman is revealed to be a former employee of the hotel, recently let go due to the economic downturn. The man just wanted enough money to feed his family. Magnus reveals his newest Metal Man to his doctor, an army general, and Mister Whittier, a government representative. The doctor and the general are horrified that Magnus has constructed his new Metal Man out of plutonium. Whittier, in contrast, is overjoyed. Whittier pulls a gun on the other two men, then asks Magnus for a demonstration.
Magnus activates the Plutonium Man, who immediately breaks out of the complex and escapes. It seems Magnus programmed the Plutonium Man with his own brain patterns. All Magnus has wanted to do was escape his confinement, a desire mirrored in the Plutonium Man. Whittier reveals that he is actually a Karnian agent, out for revenge on Magnus, for destabilizing Karnia, while in league with it's former dictator. The Plutonium Man begins a swath of destruction through Washington D.C. It tramples on flowers, razes buildings, and annihilates any people it comes across. By pure chance, the Metal Men happen to stumble across the Plutonium Man's path. Fueled by Magnus' hatred of the Metal Men, the Plutonium Man lashes out, instantly destroying Tin.
Lead molds himself into a barrier, which protects the Metal Men from the Plutonium Man's radiation. Unfortunately, the Plutonium Man's power burns hotter than Lead's melting point. Lead begins to melt faster than butter on a grill. While the battle rages, Magnus and his three handlers discuss the situation, en route to the nation's capitol. Iron slashes open the Plutonium Man's chest. The resultant release of radiation burns out Iron's photoelectric cells, leaving him blind. An easy target for the Plutonium Man, who vaporizes Iron. Mercury pours himself around the Plutonium Man's feet, felling him. Mercury, though, never reforms. Gold weaves himself about the Plutonium Man, binding him. The Plutonium Man, though, proves too strong, and effortlessly tears Gold to shreds.
Arriving on the scene, Whittier leaps from the Jetaway and engages the Plutonium Man. Fearing that Karnia will be viewed by the world as a nation of murderers, Whittier pulls his gun, and begins firing on the Plutonium Man. Breaching the gash already torn into the Plutonium Man's chest by Iron, the bullets disable the Plutonium Man's failsafe systems. Whittier is consumed in the immense heat pouring from the Plutonium Man's reactor. Platinum sacrifices herself by sealing the breach with her own form. Professing her love to Magnus one final time, Platinum is destroyed when the heat building inside the Plutonium Man reaches critical mass. The Plutonium Man melts through the pavement, plummeting down into the very bedrock of the Earth. Seeing Platinum destroyed snaps Magnus back to his former self. The famed inventor vows to rebuild his Metal Men.
Note: As part of the DC Explosion, DC relaunched Metal Men with this issue.