An adventurer and soldier of fortune, Rex Mason was hired by businessman Simon Stagg to retrieve the ancient artefact known as the Orb of Ra from Egypt. Around this time he became involved in a romantic relationship with Sapphire Stagg, Simon Stagg's daughter. Leaving on his trip, Mason locates the Orb, but is double-crossed by Stagg's bodyguard Java and abandoned, unconscious, in an ancient pyramid. There, he becomes accidentally irradiated by the mysterious meteorite that was used to create the Orb of Ra. As a result of the radiation, he gains superpowers.
Metamorpho was created by Bob Haney and Ramona Fradon. Editor George Kashdan asked Haney to create a character that exhibited some of the amazing powers after the success of Haney's creations, the Doom Patrol and Metal Men. Originally meant to be a parody character he later became the hero we know today. Artist Ramona Fradon (Aquaman, Brenda Starr) came out of maternity retirement to co-create and draw Metamorpho's appearance in The Brave and the Bold #57 (Jan. 1965). After his test issues in The Brave and the Bold, he moved on into his own series which lasted 17 issues from 1965 to 1968. During his early years, Metamorpho was promoted heavily. He made guest appearances in titles such as Aquaman and Justice League of America (in which he famously rejected membership).
After his series ended he was relegated to guest appearances. In The Brave and the Bold #200 (June 1983), he made his first appearances with the Outsiders. He became a charter member of the team. In time he later joined incarnations of the Justice League.
He first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #57 (Jan. 1965) in the middle of the Silver Age of Comics. After his two issue test run in The Brave and the Bold, he went on to get a short lived ongoing. During the course of his ongoing, Metamorpho had "serious" adventures in which he encountered enemies as Doc Dread, Stingaree, and his arch foe, Java. During these adventures he would often save his lover, Sapphire Stagg and as time went on he acquired a partner, Element Girl, who tried to pursue a relationship with Metamorpho. The series ended with Sapphire going off to marry a new man and Metamorpho went off to be with an immortal queen with the mysterious Mr. Shadow. Metamorpho and the queen got married only for her to age 2,000 years and have plans revealed on world conquest.
After these events Sapphire's husband, Wally Bannister, was murdered (off panel) and Mr. Shadow was revealed to have trying to enslave Metamorpho. Metamorpho was soon framed for the death of Wally and soon framed and executed for the murder. Element Girl revived him though by that point the series ended and thus was the end of Metamorpho in the Silver Age of Comics.
Outside of his ongoing he made more appearances in The Brave and the Bold where he teamed up with the Metal Men and Batman, who would later go on to recruit him later down the road when forming the Outsiders. Metamorpho also made a guest appearance in Aquaman #30 in the "Sea King's Funeral Story" in addition to two appearances in Justice League of America where he famously became the second hero in the DC universe to decline membership, the first being Adam Strange. Also in this appearance, an attempt to return Metamorpho back to human form was conducted by Green Lantern, but failed due to yellow elements inside Metamorpho's body.
Towards the end of the Silver Age, Metamorpho disappeared in the realm of comics.
After an absence in comics he returned in The Brave and the Bold #101 where it was revealed that from the end of his ongoing until then he was in a chemical bath conducted by his employer and enemy, Simon Stagg, to return him back to human form. The chemical bath failed him after Simon takes retrieves him to save Sapphire.
He soon recieved another try going solo as a backup feature in Action Comics, the book headlined by Superman. This lasted from Action Comics #413 (June 1972) to Action Comics #418 (November 1972). Shortly after he gained another feature in the Superman and Batman book, World's Finest Comics. This lasted for only 3 issues from World's Finest Comics #218 (August 1973) to World's Finest Comics #220 (December 1973) plus a brief comeback in World's Finest Comics #229 (April 1975). In these back up features no previous events or characters such as Element Girl were mentioned.
In 1975 DC started another test series similar to that of Showcase and what The Brave and the Bold once was titled First Issue Special. In First Issue Special #3 (June 1975), Metamorpho's creators Bob Haney and Ramona Fradon return to write and draw the character in a story which involved an adventure in Washington DC facing a ghost whose out for revenge on several Presidents. The issue was not enough to encourage DC to bring back Metamorpho in his own ongoing. Leaving him to back up features and guest starring.
By the end of the Bronze Age, Metamorpho has found his place in comics for the next several years, the Outsiders. After Batman became fed up with the Justice League he created the Outsiders which brought us some new heroes and old heroes together.
Metamorpho's origin and past has remained largely unchanged. His original limitation to only transmute his body into elements found in the human body has gradually disappeared over the years.
Major Story Arcs
Returning home, he finds himself to be easily controlled by Stagg, due to the detrimental impact the Orb of Ra has on his transformed body. Stagg manipulates him to his own ends, though Metamorpho does his best to use his new powers to fight evil. Viewing his powers as an affliction, Metamorpho seeks out assistance in returning himself to normal. To this end he goes to the Justice League, who are unable to help him. He later rejects their offer of membership in the League, still determined to cure himself. He continues fighting evil, teaming with various other heroes during his adventures.
After Sapphire marries another man, Metemorpho falls in with a man named Mr Shadow, with whom he works to take down a tyrannical queen. Mr Shadow is ultimately revealed to have been trying to control Metamorpho for his own ends. He abandons Metamorpho to be tried for the murder of Sapphire's husband, Wally Bannister. Despite the murder having been committed by Algon, another man with metamorphic powers, Metamorpho is convicted in a kangaroo court and executed. He is later revived by Element Girl.
Travelling to Markovia to seek the assistance of a Markovian scientist who may have a cure for his condition, Metamorpho finds himself caught up in Batman's attempts to rescue his associate, Lucius Fox. He aids Batman and a small team of heroes in rescuing Fox from Baron Bedlam, and when their mission is over agrees to remain with the group. He comes up with the name for his new group:The Outsiders. During his time with the Outsiders he is nearly cured by the Markovian scientist Dr Helen Jace, but is killed by Simon Stagg when he goes to meet with Sapphire. The Outsiders manage to revive him by transporting his body back to 1200 BCE and exposing him to the radioactive material again. Unfortunately, this second exposure renders his transformation officially permanent. Returning to his present, he becomes engaged to Sapphire. Following an assassination attempt on Stagg that is foiled by the Outsiders, Metamorpho is given Stagg's blessing to marry Sapphire.
Shortly after his marriage, Metamorpho's life is disrupted when the Manhunters activate their sleeper agents on Earth. Among these agents is Dr Jace, now the scientific adviser for the team and friend of Metamorpho. He attempts to fight back against these agents alongside the other Outsiders, but is revealed to have been brainwashed by Jace. He perishes in the fighting.
Metamorpho is revived by the Dominators' gene bomb. Suffering from temporary amnesia, he seeks out and joins the Justice League Europe , with whom he works for some time. He eventually encounters Sapphire again, and learns about the child they have together, Joey. He also learns that Sapphire has been forced to marry Java, and she and Metamorpho part ways for some time. Metamorpho soon learns that his son has been affected by the meteor, and randomly transmutes the elements around him, often inflicting great suffering on those around him. The baby is ultimately cured by contact with the meteor.
Death and Return
Metamorpho is on the Justice League of America satellite when it is attacked by the Hyperclan. He saves three of the Leaguers during reentry by encasing them in a fluid-filled ball, but in the process is rendered inert, essentially dying. He is declared dead and buried. He is later briefly revived by the Id at the request of his son, but following the Id's defeat he is returned to his resting place. His spirit lives on, however, and he is ultimately able to make contact with Sapphire, who uses the Orb of Ra to revive him. Back to life, he is invited by Thayer Jost to become a member of the Doom Patrol, which he does briefly. An accident during an experiment briefly transforms Simon, Sapphire and Joey into energy beings, as well as giving Metamorpho the form and personality of Java. Metamorpho is able to reverse the transformations with the assistance of Black Canary.
Metamorpho reveals that the Metamorpho who has been working with the Outsiders for some time is in fact a regrown fragment of his own body. After the intervention of the Outsiders he decides not to re-assimilate this fragment, allowing it to take on a life of its own. This fragment takes on the name Shift and leads an independent life for some time before deciding to become re-assimilated into Metamorpho following the One Year Later, during which he had inadvertently cause the deaths of 44 people. Metamorpho and the other Outsiders are later apparently killed in a satellite explosion.
The New 52
The Outsiders, Metamorpho among them, are revealed to have survived due to the intervention of Metamorpho, who created a fluid-filled ball similar to the one he had used to save the Leaguers some years previously. He is later amongst those considered for membership in Justice League International, but ultimately rejected.
Powers and Abilities
Metamorpho is able to transmute his body in whole or in part into any element. He is able to combine and shape these elements at will. He is also capable of shape-shifting, and can reshape parts of his body and the whole at his will, including being able to stretch his body; he can also be solid, liquid or gas. His transmuted body is resistant to blunt force and energy attacks. He appears to be functionally immortal, particularly in his inert state. He is a skilled martial artist, as well as an archaeologist and a detective. He is weak to the Orb of Ra, which is like Kryptonite to him.
Metamorpho appears in the two-part Justice League episode "Metamorphosis". These episodes re-imagine his origin, which is ascribed to mutagenic gas that he was exposed to by Simon Stagg. He later makes non-speaking cameo appearances in the Justice League Unlimited episodes "Initiation", "Clash", "Panic in the Sky", and "Destroyer". He is voiced by Tom Sizemore.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Metamorpho appears alongside other members of the Outsiders in the episode "Enter the Outsiders!" He is a teenager in this appearance, and portrayed as a lighthearted character. He later appears in the episodes "Duel of the Double Crossers!" and "Inside the Outsiders!", the latter of which deals with his emotional turmoil and anger over his appearance. An older version of Metamorpho appears alongside the other Outsiders in the opening to the episode "Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster!" He is voiced by Scott Menville.
Beware the Batman
Metamorpho is set to appear in this upcoming television series.
Justice League: The New Frontier
Metamorpho makes a brief non-speaking cameo appearance at the end of this film.