Real Name: Inapplicable
Voiced by Robert Picardo
Developed by the late Professor Ivo, the project known by the name AMAZO was intended to be the pinnacle of accelerated evolution. Utilizing “absorption cells” designed to duplicate the abilities of super-powered beings, the nano-tech android could replicate anything from super-strength to telepathy. Unfortunately, Ivo died shortly after AMAZO’s creation, leaving the android alone and without purpose.
Later discovered by Lex Luthor, the mastermind took advantage of the naïve automaton, sending it out to destroy the Justice League. However, the rapidly-evolving android began to question its orders, which led to awareness and revolt against its new master. Finally, after duplicating the powers and weapons of the entire Justice League, AMAZO left Earth to pursue its destiny among the stars.
Cartoon Network on AMAZO: "A synthetic android whose unique metabolism allows him to absorb and duplicate the powers of all the members of the Justice League. In addition to absorbing their strengths, he also absorbs their weaknesses (courtesy of Cartoon Network press materials)."
Bruce Timm on AMAZO: "Amazo will almost certainly get a complete makeover, and will probably not even be called Amazo by the time we’re done with him (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Rich Fogel on AMAZO: “From the very beginning of Justice League, I had wanted to do a story with Amazo, the formidable android who can mimic all of the Justice League’s powers, but Bruce Timm was very resistant to the idea. He thought Amazo was a dumb name and thought the character looked stupid; I’d have to agree with him on both counts.
“But my fellow producer James Tucker and I both liked the basic idea, and we kept bringing it up. Eventually, we came up with an approach that incorporated all the elements we liked while updating and eliminating some of the cornier elements of the original stories. The result is a version that is mysterious, poignant, and scary. Writer Stan Berkowitz did great job of exploring the darker corners of this story (courtesy of [website name removed]).”
DarkLantern on AMAZO: “In the comics, Amazo had something called ‘absorptive cells’ that enabled him to duplicate the abilities of any super-powered being he encounters. And yes, duplicating the [Green Lantern] power ring was a bit far-fetched—as well as having the ring be fully charged. Of course, in the comics, the absorptive cells would [also] absorb some of the energy [that] Green Lantern would throw at him and that would charge the ring. I suppose the same principle applies here…[However], in Amazo's first appearance in the comics, he needed to charge his ring on Hal's battery, so he didn't absorb the abilities of the lantern. But again, that's the comics.
"What I've found interesting is that AMAZO found more creative ways to use Green Lantern's powers. Who would've thought a machine would have imagination (courtesy of Toon Zone)?”
Bruce Timm on AMAZO’s return in Justice League Unlimited: “The AMAZO show is probably the biggest episode of Season Three. We went into this [series] thinking we would have small groups of heroes, like three or four. [However], the ‘AMAZO returns’ show is so huge, it’s got like an army of superheroes going after AMAZO. It’s going to be something to see (courtesy of [website name removed]).”
“Some people never learn. I guess that goes for androids too.”
“I learn, but I also adapt…and evolve.”
An exchange between Batman and AMAZO from Tabula Rasa
Due to its status as a classic, Silver Age adversary of the Justice League—debuting in Brave and the Bold #30 (1960)—AMAZO was on the short list of characters to be adapted for the Justice League series. However, considering the character’s “classic” look and name, Bruce Timm’s comments were valid, as the character’s dated elements made adapting the character for modern audiences more difficult. This resulted in one of the more radical redesigns for the series, as the original design was thrown out and replaced with a one that more closely resembled Terminator 2’s T-1000 robot—another character well-known for its morphing abilities—and better facilitated the concept of being a “blank slate” in terms of appearance and mindset. As for its name, the creative team distanced itself from the “AMAZO” name by referring to it as “the android” in Tabula Rasa, but they did slyly reincorporate the name back into the character (as indicated by these blueprints), much like how they kept the original names of Metallo (named after the special metal used in his construction) and Bizarro (named after Mercy Graves’ offhanded comment regarding his physical appearance).
Much like its comic book origins, AMAZO was developed by Professor Ivo—himself a classic Justice League villain—but, in terms of the animated series, it is unknown to what end the android was created. While it is possible that the android was created as part of Ivo’s quest for immortality (a cornerstone of the character), it is equally possible that it was created as part of LexCorp’s Project: Achilles—the blanket name for all of Luthor’s anti-Superman programs (referred to by name in the Superman episode Legacy), which would explain Luthor’s retention of Ivo as a scientist and, later, Mercy’s dismissal of him (without Luthor there was no need for anti-Superman programs). In addition, as opposed to the comics, AMAZO’s limitations have been altered as well, as it is no longer continually saddled with the weaknesses that the League members are burdened with (fire, kryptonite, etc.). As this version of the character was designed for evolution, it is acceptable for AMAZO to adapt and overcome a particular weakness after the initial encounter (such as against kryptonite in Tabula Rasa); resulting in a much more formidable adversary, as this particular foe cannot be defeated the same way twice.In addition, Professor Ivo’s death provides further complexity to this incarnation of AMAZO, as this plot development deviates from the source material. In the comics, Amazo is defined by its relationship with Ivo: preferring deactivation (which it referred to as "the sleep of oblivion") to artificial life, Amazo came to despise its creator—who programmed it to continue its mission to destroy the Justice League despite its own wishes—which led to it eventually seeking Ivo’s death as well. However, with Ivo dead and out of the picture, AMAZO has no motivation save for its simple edict to duplicate and evolve—to fill its “blank slate” with power and experience.
Finally, as it has been revealed that AMAZO will return in an upcoming episode of Justice League Unlimited, it might be worthwhile to catalogue its current collection of powers. In addition to its considerable duplication abilities, AMAZO now possesses super-strength (Superman, Wonder Woman), super-speed (Superman, Flash), flight (with or without wings; Superman, Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, J’onn J’onzz), heat vision (Superman), telepathy and shape-shifting (J’onn J’onzz), and the ability to mimic Hawkgirl’s electrified mace (and, through it, the Thanagarian Nth Metal), Wonder Woman’s gauntlets, and Green Lantern’s power ring. However, unlike the individual League members, AMAZO has an additional advantage as it can mix-and-match these abilities to an optimum effect. For example, by utilizing J’onn’s shape-shifting power, it can transform its entire body into Nth Metal; and, considering how Green Lantern’s power ring is fueled by the willpower of the ring bearer, AMAZO is now even more powerful than John Stewart because it can tap into the willpower of the entire team (as an Amazo robot did in the pages of Aztek). These things considered, it will be interesting to see what will happen when AMAZO returns and has the opportunity to encounter dozens of new League members, duplicate their powers, and evolve further. These issues considered, J’onn J’onzz was correct at the end of Tabula Rasa—the Justice League better pray that this god doesn't hold a grudge.
Images courtesy of Toon Zone and DC Comics.
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