Writer: Judd Winick
Artists: Tom Raney (p), Scott Hanna (i)
As the real Metamorpho claims the Metamorpho that been running around in the pages of this book is a clone, and he's come to absorb this errant duplicate back into his body, we see the Outsiders are not exactly ready to let Rex simply erase a teammate they've come to care a great deal for. However, the realization that he's simply a clone of the real Metamorpho drives the duplicate a bit wacky and the real deal is forced to take action against his double.
The mystery of the two Metamorphos isn't exactly going to stump too many fans who are even the slightest bit familiar with the character, as the moment Judd Winick hinted that he would be addressing the idea that there seemed to be two Metamorphos running around the DCU I envisioned the solution would be exactly the one that is offered up in this issue. Now there's no rule stating that a writer can't offer up the most obvious answer and given it's the best fit it's probably best that he didn't try too hard. However, I do feel that he wimped out when it came to addressing the idea that the real Metamorpho would be inclined to absorb his double as I was ready for a genuine debate about why this double had a right to exist, and Judd Winick makes a halfhearted attempt at doing so before abandoning it completely, apparently hoping that having the double freak out and endanger the entire team would somehow convince us that the real Metamorpho was wrong. Now there are some interesting moments that seemed to recognize that this might've been an interesting debate, and the scenes where the double is questioning the validity of his existence caught my attention, but again these are quickly dropped so we can receive a big brawl between the two Metamorphos. I also have to say that I found the final conversation between the two to be a little too good-natured, especially given Judd Winick didn't put in the effort to have the two characters put aside their conflict.
As for the art, Tom Raney returns to the book to provide his highly detailed work, and I have to say that while I'm a bit concerned about his ability to maintain a monthly schedule, he's a very talented artist, and frankly I'll take the guest-art every fifth issue if he continues to deliver such high quality work. The two versions of Metamorpho are nicely handled as not only is it quite easy to tell the two apart, but it's also quite easy to imagine the double isn't quite a perfect copy as his molecular structure looks a little dodgy. The action sequences are also pretty solid, as I loved the shot of the real Metamorpho as he gets up off the floor after he's blasted back by Indigo, and when the double goes off the deep end, the art does a nice job of capturing the chaos. I also enjoyed the design of the cover, but then I've always pleased when an artist plays around with the cover logo, as it requires more effort and planning than simply plastering the cover copy on top of the art.
This issue isn't exactly Judd Winick's best work as he offers up a plot by numbers affair that seems more interested in offering up the easy answers, than engaging the readers. I mean what is the point of setting up such an interesting debate if you're only going to make a casual effort to really address the conflict that has been created? To make matters worse is that the issue seems to make a case that the Metamorpho double is prone to go completely spastic when he's confronted with a situation that he has trouble dealing with, which didn't exactly make a convincing case that the real Metamorpho was wrong in his desire to absorb his double back into himself. In the end though I was simply disappointed that this issue failed to dig any deeper than it needed to, in order to arrive at its tidy little resolution, as it's almost like Judd Winick was afraid to really focus too much energy on the debate because he couldn't come up with a better reason for the double to exist beyond the fact that it provides him with a Metamorpho he can use in his team.
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