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Final Faction
by yo go re

Somebody start a live-action Final Faction movie, and hire Leslie Jones first thing.

Amari is an Alpha Team soldier from New York City who uses her size and strength in battle. Amari fights for her family, proudly wearing her father's Air Force bomber jacket. Amari will use anything at her disposal, but her favorite weapon is her modified baseball bat she named "Slugger." It hits a home run, every time.

Isn't the overgrown, testosterone-pumped, superhuman black woman a rather pernicious stereotype? Like, as a subset of Angry Black Woman, but less "constantly yelling about irrational things" and more "physically threatening to scared white people"? Similar to the Sapphire stereotype, but with the addition of domineering strength. Obviously we don't think whoever writes these bios is invoking that intentionally; the point is that when you're a creator, you've got to be sure to consider what you're putting out there. Like, imagine someone was writing X-Men, and had notorious Southern belle Rogue say "dang, Ah sure do love wrapping mahself up in some pure white sheets to go to these late-night bonfires, shugah!" It'd raise some red flags, yeah?

Now that you've eaten your vegetables, it's time for dessert. When that bio mentioned Amari's size, it wasn't kidding: she's a full head taller than characters like Torn and Scope! There's no additional articulation here - it's still just swivels at the head, shoulders, and hips - but the fact they paid enough attention to the in-universe story to create a distinct mold counts for a lot. Like, even GI Joe will say things about its characters on the filecards that then has no bearing on the actual toy, but here's a $1.25 action figure getting it right.

As if being naturally tall wasn't enough, Amari also styles her hair into a mohawk; clearly somebody is a fan of Ororo Munroe! (Whether that somebody is Amari herself or Final Faction's character designer we'll leave up to you.) The hair curves forward at the front, creating a bit of a crescent shape.

The name "Amari" appears in several different languages, including Hebrew, where it means "promised by God"; Sanskrit, where it's "eternal"; in Greek, it refers to beauty; in Latin, to love; but we're guessing this one is meant to be the African-Yoruba "strength," juding by the personality traits they've chosen to give her.

Although the card says she wears her father's Air Force jacket, I'm pretty sure the Air Force doesn't outfit their pilots in gold lamé. Or maybe they do, Final Faction is set in the year 2050, there's time for the Air Force to "fabulous" up their uniforms between now and then. The jacket also seems very fitted for something handed down from her dad, but who are we to judge? The rest of her outfit is sculpted with good details, but just unpainted black. Like Diabol, if you look at the cartoon, you can see how she's supposed to look: green jacket and boots, gold accents on the dark brown clothes, etc. It'd be cool if the creators would release "style guides" that could guide customizers in how to bring these figures up to completion.

Amari's only accessory for now is her bat, Slugger. It's a short bat, but has four studded rings (similar to the ones seen in Zombie Lab) around it. The package promises there's an "additional Weapons Pack sold separately," but whatever's going to be in that, it's not out yet.

Amari only had a quick cameo so far in the cartoon (she was off helping "Omega Team"), so it's surprising they made a toy of her so quickly. Or maybe they wrote her into the episode because the toy was already in the works? Whatever the case, it's cool that Shift has somebody to complain about boys with. The black and gold colorscheme is unique, even if it's not quite accurate to the intention.

-- 08/05/22

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