"Action Figures" is the ninth episode of the second season of Superman: The Animated Series, and the 22nd of the overall series. It depicts the return of Metallo and his desire to kill Superman. After spending months wandering the sea floor, Metallo finally resurfaces on an island. Without his artificial skin and without memories he's found by two kids, Sarita and Bobby Felix. The two take him in and for a while he acts like a hero. But as soon as he regains his memories Metallo returns to his evil ways.
Angela Chen starts up with a new segment in the news, which profiles the enemies of Superman. She starts with a profile on Metallo and recaps his disappearance at sea.
Elsewhere, on the island of Raknaveek, a young boy, Bobby, plays with his toy action figures. As he plays, the island shakes and he complains about the volcano that's causing the shaking. His sister, Sarita Felix, comes and asks to play but he refuses her. Sarita walks off and complains about her situation and is soon confronted by a robot that emerged from the sea. She desperately tries to climb up a cliff side but another earthquake starts and causes her to fall. The robot catches her and defends her from a falling boulder. Bobby runs up to Sarita's aid and asks the robot who he is. The robot claims he doesn't know and he can't remember where he's from. However, he has some memories of his fight with Superman and subsequent sinking into the sea.
The children take him along and dub him "Steel Man" based on Superman's nickname "the Man of Steel". At the mention of the name "Superman", Steel Man starts to have memories of Superman attacking him. However, before he can work his way through the memories, the kids call to him and show that there's a gas truck that has crashed and is about to fall off the mountain. They tell Steel Man to save the driver which he does much to the driver's surprise.
Back at the Daily Planet, Jimmy tells his fellow reporters about a report he received about a robot that saved the truck driver. Clark takes the report and asks Perry to send him to follow up on the report but finds Lois is already going. She too believes that the robot could be Metallo. Superman decides to go to the island but first goes to get his Anti-Kryptonite suit.
Metallo regains his memories after being given a doll of Superman and tells the kids that he's from another planet and has to tell the world leaders something important. Unfortunately, the volcano is due to erupt soon and the group will have to evacuate. Metallo tells the kids to get him a disguise so that he can leave too.
Meanwhile, Lois goes about asking questions and learns of Sarita and Bobby. Superman also asks about Metallo but is unsuccessful in learning anything. However, the volcano starts to erupt and the evacuation is started.
Sarita and Bobby go back to Metallo and tell him about Lois. Lois, who is close by, is captured by Metallo. She is left tied up but Sarita and Bobby protest. Metallo is uncaring and tries to force the kids to leave. Fortunately Superman was told to find the kids and shows up. He fights with Metallo. The Anti-Kryptonite suit protects Superman from Metallo's Kryptonite heart until Metallo manages to puncture it. Weakened from the Kryptonite, Superman is pushed into a lava flow. However, Superman manages to grab hold of the Kryptonite and hurls it into the lava. Metallo goes after it and is drowned in the lava. Superman grabs the kids and Lois and the group flies to safety.
However, even after the lava has hardened, Metallo is still alive. While his body has been disabled for the time being, his mind stays intact and he focuses on his identity.
- Metallo finally arrives ashore since "The Way of All Flesh", where he was last seen walking in the bottom of the ocean. Apparently, the deep water pressure gave him temporary amnesia.
- In the last known recording of Metallo, he is seen wrecking a car with his trademark look of torn skin and clothes. This presumably took place in "The Way of All Flesh" after he had confronted the Doctor about his surgery.
- According to Angela Chen, it has been exactly one year since the events of "The Way of All Flesh".
Home video releases
- Superman: The Animated Series, Volume Two (DVD)
- Superman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Superman Super-Villains: Metallo (DVD)
- The gas truck explosion features reused footage from "My Girl", specifically the scene in which Mr. Eelan blows a vat of hot lead off its support.
- This episodes features reused footage of the fight between Metallo and Superman in "The Way of All Flesh".
- Metallo's stripped bare, amnesiac state is oddly incongruent with the ending of The Way of All Flesh. Metallo's artificial skin was also made from the same material as his metal body, which only he himself was capable of damaging, leaving the question of how his skin disintigrated from water damage alone. Metallo was also fully aware of himself following the explosion from Luthor's yacht and his sink to the bottom of the ocea, leaving the cause of his amnesia in question.
- Sarita's name for Metallo, "Tin Man" is a reference to the Tin Woodsman from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
|Tim Daly||Superman/Clark Kent|
|Dana Delany||Lois Lane|
|David Kaufman||Jimmy Olsen|
|Lauren Tom||Angela Chen|
|George Dzundza||Perry White|
Truck driver (uncredited)
|Ernie Hudson||Professor Felix|
Ron Troupe (uncredited)
|Hassan Nicholas||Bobby Felix|
|Lauren Robinson||Sarita Felix|
Lois: Let go of me, you walking waffle iron!
Lois: You're never going to get away with this, Corben.
Metallo: It's so still and dark. No sound. No light. Nothingness. My mind. I cannot let it drift. I must remember. I am Metallo. I am Metallo.