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DC Universe Classics
by Poe Ghostal

For some reason, DC Comics has a good number of superheroes and supervillains who look a bit goofy in their bright colorful outfits, but are in fact badasses - Wonder Woman, Green Arrow and even Superman come to mind. And then there's Amazo.

Amazo is a powerful android capable of absorbing and mimicking the superpowers of the members of the Justice League of America. "Absorption cells" allow Amazo the ability to duplicate the power of any superhero he encounters, but is only able to use the powers of one super hero at any given time.

(Fun fact: the above spelling is not incorrect; in the bio on Amazo's packaging, the words "superhero" and "super hero" both appear in the same sentence.)

These "absorption cells" apparently also allow Amazo to copy Green Lantern's power ring (without the battery or willpower) and Wonder Woman's golden lasso (without being backed by the Gods). Amazo is one of the most powerful villains in the DC universe, capable of matching Superman blow-for-blow.

And yet, he looks like one of Santa's elves on steroids.

Honestly, what was the thought process behind this design? According to my brief internet research, Amazo was the creation of writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky. I'd love to know what made them think "striped green pants pulled up above the belly-button," "elf ears," and "red swimming cap with a prominent widow's peak" was a fearsome design for a villain.

Amazo was re-imagined in the Justice League cartoon as a gray robot, a kind of blank slate who copied the Justice League's powers as a method of defending himself. This arguably makes a bit more sense than the classic Amazo, but the design of that Amazo was also a little too similar to Metallo (who's included in this very same wave, and whose right leg comes with Amazo), so it was probably wise of Mattel and the Horsemen to go with the classic, if overly festive, design.

Amazo arrives as part of the Wal*Mart-exclusive fifth series of DC Universe Classics. Other than his head, Amazo is mostly a reuse of the basic "large male" body, with Green Lantern's right fist (for the power ring). He even has the rectangular spot on his back where a cape would be inserted, if he wore one. It's a bit of a shame Mattel couldn't just make two different molds for characters who had capes and those who didn't, but unless you're constantly looking at your figures' backs it's not that big a deal.

The detailed head sculpt gives Amazo a slightly exotic look, particularly with the pointed ears. Some customizers have commented the face would make for a good Lion-O custom. Thundercats - HO! HO! HO! ('Cause, y'know, Christmas elf... Santa... get it?) Since the body sculpt is very basic, it's the paint work that, while goofy, make Amazo appealing. Yes, the green stripes and red skullcap are a little silly, but they're executed very well, at least on my figure. Looking at him now, he kind of just looks like a red-headed weightlifter wearing some colorful Zubaz, doesn't he?

Amazo has the standard DCU articulation: balljoints at the neck and shoulders, h-hinges at the hips (allowing for balljoint-like motion with less harm to the sculpt), hinges at the elbows, knees, torso and ankles, and swivels at the wrists, biceps, thighs and waist.

Amazo comes with no accessories other than Metallo's aforementioned arm leg. This is doubtless due to the obvious cost-cutting measures on this particular wave. Fortunately, my Amazo appears to be free from quality control problems - he has all the right biceps, forearms, hands and feet, and no major paint rubs or smudges.

Unlike Eradicator or the Atom, I probably would have picked up Amazo even if he hadn't come with the Metallo piece. He's a villain, and his character in the comics is pretty cool - even if he does look like Hermey the Misfit Elf if Hermey's small-man syndrome got the best of him.


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