DCAU #166: Action Figures

IN THIS ONE... Metallo befriends some kids on a volcanic island.

CREDITS: Written by Hilary Bader; directed by Kenji Hachizaki.

What is the point of this episode? Metallo's redemption? The Batman series has pulled this story off several times, to much better effect. Metallo actually NEVER reforms. At first, he's confused and has amnesia, and bad dude or not, that shouldn't mean he would go after kids. For their sakes, he saves the driver of a burning truck, but then immediately goes on to manipulate them so they can help him hide and escape the attentions of Lane and -El. And when Lois and Superman ARE in the picture, there's absolutely no sense that his kryptonite heart's at all been melted by the children.

So he's the same he's ever been, and aside from a fun bit where Lois scoops Kent, there's not much to be done with the regulars either. Superman's lead suit even makes the inevitable fight pretty cut and dry. It gets damaged, but even so, Metallo more or less does himself in by chasing his heart (I mean that literally) down a lava flow. Even though he doesn't really seem to need it to survive, which surprised me. What's powering him once it's been unplugged?

And then there's the weird location. Some kind of Islandic volcano where American kids are running around unsupervised? The single parent is conducting a study there, fine, but there's no real reason why the volcano blows ahead of schedule or anything like that. The lava is never as terrifying as it should be - it has no real effect on Superman and Metallo - and the dark ending where the villain is trapped in solidified rock is strange (why can't he see if he's in the open air? why does Superman never go check on him?). Some pretty good action (the truck bit especially), but Action Figures never gels.

SOUNDS LIKE: Ghostbusters' Ernie Hudson plays Professor Felix (and also Ron Troupe). The voice of Bobby Felix is that of Hassan Nicholas, who was a Jem'Hadar boy once on Star Trek Deep Space Nine.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - Watchable, but Metallo's ignored reappearance in the comics was tons better.



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