Kenny Porter and Baldemar Rivas’ DC Mech has been a colorful and explosive take on the pantheon of DC superheroes. It introduced a world where classic figures like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman had just in much in common with Gundam as they do with the Justice League.
Years before DC Mech brought readers to a world that fused the giant mech genre with classic superheroes and even before Marvel released Avengers: Mech-Strike the year before, Marvel recreated their own heroes in a line of comics that tied into a line of Transformers-style Avenger toys.
How DC Mech & Mega Morphs Turned Superheroes Into Giant Robots
DC Mech focuses on Earth-28, home to a version of the DC Universe where the heroes are largely powerless in their normal forms. Instead, this technologically-advanced world relies on massive superhero-inspired mechs to combat global disasters and protect the planet. While the primary squadron of the story has been largely from Earth, things are complicated when a bright white mech containing Kal-El arrives on Earth. Kal-El vows to try and help protect the planet from the intergalactic threat that doomed his homeworld — Darkseid. Tensions quickly flare up between Kal-El and his new teammates, while also setting up other threats like Lex Luthor. But this wasn’t the first time the superhero genre had been reimagined as mechs.
Megamorphs was a limited series by Sean McKeever and Lou Kang, inspired by a series of Transformers-style Marvel toys from Toy Biz. Taking place on Earth-50810, Megamorphs follows a version of Iron Man who decides to construct giant armor for his fellow heroes to utilize when the Avengers need additional firepower. Each Megamorph could shift from a vehicle/animal form to a humanoid body. On top of constructing one for himself (and not the first time a Stark variant would build massive Iron Man armor), Tony Stark also built similar mechs for Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk, Captain America, Ghost Rider, and Thing. Each armor was constructed to recreate the abilities of their user — such as Wolverine’s mech possessing a self-repairing function to replicate his healing factor.
DC Mech & Megamorphs Went in Very Different Directions
Nearly two decades later, DC Mech took a relatively similar concept at the heart of Megamorphs and gave it a deeper sense of history. The Megamorphs nominally takes place in a world where the Marvel heroes had all gained their powers and enjoyed heroic careers before getting giant mech upgrades. In contrast, DC Mech exists in a timeline where an alien invasion at the tail-end of World War II wiped out most of the Justice Society and set the rest of humanity on a path of advanced robotics and invention. As a result, the world became almost entirely defined by that trajectory. While fundamental events like Diana meeting Steve Trevor or Bruce Wayne losing his parents still happened, they occurred in the context of the giant mechs.
Notably, both worlds approach the concepts of superhero mechs from different angles too. While the Marvel Megamorphs have some unique attributes like individualized powers and vehicle forms, the DC Mechs don’t transform but come with more determined reflections of their user’s abilities. While the Green Lantern’s Mech can shift forms due to the inherently fluid nature of Green Lantern’s traditional powers, others like Superman and Flash have more specific abilities. The tones of both stories are also widely different, as the younger intended audience for Megamorphs likely wouldn’t have responded as well to DC Mech’s surprisingly high body count. Still, it’s a fun comparison piece between how the two publishers, in two very different eras, approached a similar concept and the end result was wildly different.