19 December 2011

Origins Of The Effect: Amazo The Android

The first post covers the origin of my nickname:
Who or what is Amazo?

Amazo first appeared in The Brave and the Bold no. 30 (June 1960) and was created by the legendary Gardner Fox (who created or co-created The FlashHawkmanSandmanJLA and JSA) and Murphy Anderson. An android, Amazo's special ability is to replicate the special abilities of various superheroes and supervillains he comes into contact with. Throughout publication, Amazo has most frequently been a villain for the Justice League of America (or Justice League as it is now), an assembly of DC's most well-known superheroes; Amazo also permanently replicated the powers and abilities of the first Justice League he encountered, making him a very powerful adversary in all subsequent appearances.
Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the character has appeared in comic books and other DC Comics-related products, including animated TV series, trading cards and video games.

The android Amazo was built by insane scientist Professor Ivo, who became obsessed with immortality. The original Justice League of America (Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and the Martian Manhunter) encounter Amazo after experiencing a sudden loss of their abilities. Ivo's grand scheme was eventually thwarted and Amazo deactivated on that occasion, but Ivo and Amazo have been stawart adversaries of the JLA (and individual members) since then; Amazo being destroyed or dissasembled on some occasions, only to be rebuilt, stronger than ever; for example,one version of Amazo is pulled from the timestream by a curious Hourman, who wishes to meet his "ancestor". Amazo responds by attacking Hourman and copying the "Worlogog", an artifact embedded in the android. Amazo then becomes "Timazo" and wreaks havoc with his new-found ability to manipulate time, until hurled back into the timestream as his former self by Hourman.
Another version, with the ability to absorb the abilities of the League on a conceptual level, overpowers over two dozen heroes, until Atom tells Superman to announce the team is disbanded. The premise that the League no longer exists deprives the android of purpose and it shuts down.
In a Batman story arc, Batman and Nightwing discover a partial Amazo (lacking several abilities) in a weapons shipment, and manage to destroy the android by deactivating its individual abilities, such as using explosive batarangs to damage its leg (preventing it from using the Flash's speed) and covering its eyes with plastic explosive (causing its eyes to be destroyed when it uses Superman's heat vision), before finally destroying it with a missile from the Batmobile.

In one memorable JLA storyline, Ivo secretly downloads Amazo's programming into the body of the Red Tornado, the creation of sometime ally Professor T.O. Morrow. Several members of the JLA battle an army of Red Tornado androids, until discovering that Red Tornado's body is intended for the mind of Solomon Grundy. Although the process is prevented, the Amazo programming asserts itself and attacks the superhero team, despite their attempts to dismantle the android. Member Vixen eventually destroys the Red Tornado body by shearing it in half.
A new body is created for the Red Tornado, although the Amazo programming from the first body downloads into the shell. The android battles the JLA until teleported into the gravity well of the red star Antares.

Powers and abilities:

Professor Ivo's Amazo androids use "absorption cells" to duplicate the powers of metahumans, such as Superman's strength, Flash's speed, Batman's skills and intellect, and the abilities of Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter. He has also demonstrated using the abilities of Atom and Elongated Man and Black Canary. Later versions are also capable of copying objects, such as the power ring of Green Lantern, Wonder Woman's magic lasso, and the Nth metal mace of Hawkgirl. All versions apparently retain the base abilities of the original five members of the Justice League first encountered.

Other versions:

Kid Amazo

Ivo then uses parts of the current Amazo along with human ova and DNA to create the android's "son". Awakened prematurely by an earthquake, the junior version of Amazo believes itself to be a philosophy student called Frank Halloran, who dates a girl called Sara. Amazo reveals the truth to his progeny, who attempts to resist his programming by becoming a hero called "Kid Amazo". Slowly becoming insane, Kid Amazo confronts Ivo and discovers Sara is Ivo's daughter and was placed to monitor the android. Batman deduces Kid Amazo has both the powers and the personalities of the JLA, and during a battle with the League creates dissension in the team that the android mimics, causing an internal logic error that destroys it.

Adventures in the DC Universe

The more kid-friendly series Adventures in the DC Universe features a battle between the JLA and Amazo, with the android finally stopped by an electromagnetic pulse.

JLA: The Nail

The limited series JLA: The Nail reveals, in flashback, that Amazo attacked and crippled Green Arrow during a battle with the JLA (He is also recorded as having killed Hawkman, but this is never explicitly shown). The android is eventually deactivated by the Flash when he is dispatched by the story's mastermind to kill the League of Assassins. Taking advantage of the fact that Amazo can only copy his powers, rather than use them inventively, Flash turns intangible while Amazo is attacking him, and removes Amazo's brain before Amazo can process Flash's new tactic and use it himself. In the sequel, JLA: Another Nail, the brain of the crippled Green Arrow is transferred into Amazo, who sacrifices himself to save the universe.


When reality has been warped by Krona, Wonder Woman is talking to Captain America about previous encounters they have had, the first of which was battling against a team-up of Ultron-5 and Amazo. Later Amazo is seen as one of the last villains guarding Krona's base, and helps to overwhelm Thor.


In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Amazo was a corrections officer of the military Doom prison;  Amazo is controlled by the Atom via a mental interface.

Justice League/Unlimited (animated TV series)

A decidedly different-looking Amazo has appeared in the animated television series Justice League, voiced by Robert Picardo. In the Justice League two part episode "Tabula Rasa", there was a project created by Professor Ivo called Project A.M.A.Z.O. With the funding from Lex Luthor, the purpose of the android was to have the Justice League destroyed. Even though he is called "A.M.A.Z.O." on Ivo's blueprints, he is usually referred to as "Ivo's android" or just "The Android" (Doctor Fate referred to him as "Amazo" on separate occasions, however - geek note). He later appeared in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Return", again voiced by Picardo. His formerly gray "skin" now gleaming golden, his powers have evolved to the point where the combined League, including nearly all of its reserve members, where unable to hold him off while the Atom and Lex Luthor attempted to devise a weapon capable of defeating him using the original plans for the Android designed to neutralize Amazo's nanotechnology.

Writer Mike Conroy once  noted, "Amazo is a persistent thorn in the JLA's side... although his programming and own sentience have displayed no ambition towards world conquest... His very existence is a hazard to all of humanity."
Who's betting he'll appear in the Justice League movie?
- DW

With special thanks to Wikipedia, DC Comics, Comic Vine, Alex Alexander and my own memory recall.

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