First, there is more continuity in this series of Metal Men issues than I remembered. The stories don't always end with cliffhangers, but they often have unresolved problems that are covered in the following issue. For example, in #2, Tina invents a robot Doc, who turns out to be evil. She ties him and a plutonium robot who's about to explode to a rocket headed for the moon. It blows up in flight, "killing" all three. In the next issue:
At the end of that story, Tin is lost in space, having turned himself into a can to capture a giant amoeba from the moon that came back with Tina. So the next several issues involve the Metal Men rescuing Tin, first from space and then from the clutches of a mad robot queen on another world.
There is certainly plenty of bickering going on within the group; it is obvious that Robert Kanigher, who both wrote and edited the series was picking up on Stan Lee's efforts with the Fantastic Four. Mercury's always riding Tin and Tina and Doc is constantly frustrated at her amorous advances towards him.
So that's two elements of the Marvel magic that are featured in the Metal Men. What are the differences?
1. The pressure is never racheted up progressively. Instead, there is a threat, then a resolution, then another threat and a resolution. I've talked a bit about George M. Cohan's famous description of a three-act play: "In Act I, you get the hero up a tree. In Act II, you throw stones at him. In Act III, you get him down from the tree." Kanigher always made sure to get the hero down from the tree before throwing stones at him.
2. The villains are, to put it mildly, ludicrous. Here's the robot queen from #4 and #5:
The one really interesting set of villains is the Gas Gang, who appear in #6 and again in #10:
The series is not without its share of amusing moments. For example, when one of Doc's model girlfriends mocks Tina: