Real Name: Noatak
Leader of: The Equalists
Featured In: The Legend of Korra
Voiced By: Steve Blum
Of the many villains throughout the series Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel series Legend of Korra, Amon has always been a particular favorite of mine strictly for the reason that he, above all the other “boss” villains throughout the seasons of TLK, has the most justifiable reasons for his actions, extreme though they are.
Amon, born Noatak of the Northern Water Tribe and eldest son to the former crime boss Yakone, had a firm belief in equality and fairness even as a young child especially when in defense of his younger brother, Tarrlok. When he and his brother were revealed to be waterbenders, their father took them out on “hunting trips” during the full moon to fervently train them in the darkest aspect of waterbending; bloodbending. Having his bending stripped from him by Avatar Aang, Yakkone sought vengeance on him through his two sons, particularly in Noatak who quickly demonstrated the same, and eventually greater, proficiency for an aspect of bloodbending known simple as “psychic bloodbending.”
This aspect, despite its name, refers more to the fact that a sufficiently capable bloodbender can utilize their bloodbending without any of the usual combat forms or motions. Noatak not only proved to be quite adept at this, he was even strong enough to out bloodbend his own brother during a duel enforced by their father, one that Tarrlok refused to take part in and would have been punished for had Noatak not intervened. He offered his brother the chance to escape and start a new life away from Yakone but Tarrlok declined stating his concerns for their mother. Disappointed in his brother, Noatak left and began his revolution.
As Amon, he had created a clever backstory of having been part of a poor family whose monetary issues were further troubled by the infernal leanings of a firebender. A firebender that soon murdered his family in front of him and left his face badly scarred as a result, thus forcing him to wear his infamous mask. Amon was surprisingly clever with his deception insomuch that he actually used make up to create said scarring though it, rather unfortunately, washes off quite easily in seawater.
This was actually how the truth of Amon was revealed by way of sending him into the drink where he had to save himself from drowning via waterbending. It wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t ended up revealing himself to nearly all of his followers who summarily surrendered/laid down their arms as a result. Reclaiming his brother, whom he had imprisoned at the time, Amon made to escape Republic City via speedboat and proclaimed that he truly had no one left in the world but his brother. Tarrlok agreed shortly before setting off an explosion that destroyed the boat and ended the threat of Amon once and for all.
Amon’s rise to power amongst the Equalists is one the things that makes him especially dangerous as an individual. He is a strong, charismatic public speaker that was able to both awe and terrify the crowds with mere words and the slightest of actions. He was able to not only amass most, if not the entirety, of Republic City’s non-bender populace on his side but was able to train them in the arts of chi-blocking and various other martial arts geared towards paralyzing and temporarily halting bending abilities. Heck, he was even able to sway the likes of a mechanical tycoon to arm his forces with the latest of steampunk-styled weaponry, most of which he gave to his aptly named Lieutenant.
The Lieutenant was a nameless individual who was quoted as having devoted most of his life to Amon’s cause and was a master chi-blocker and heavily armed combatant wielding a pair of electrified tonfa and other such devices upon his person. Yet, when he saw for himself that Amon was in fact a waterbender, the Lieutenant realized that all of Amon’s work had been built on lies and that he had been working for the very thing he had been trying to fight all this time. Unfortunately, as well armed and experienced as the Lieutenant was, he could not stand up against Amon’s bloodbending abilities and though he was not killed, he was never seen or heard from again throughout the rest of the series.
In the grand scheme of benders shown in the Avatar universe Amon is… I’d wager amongst the top three most powerful benders. That’s of course not taking account the actual good guys who can kick most of their collective behinds but that’s besides the point. Amon is the only villain throughout the series to have attained his skills through his own merits and through rigorous if not ill-intended training. Ozai had his comet. Korra’s uncle had the Spirit of Darkness and Chaos and Zaheer… I call hax on so many levels. I don’t care how much he dedicated his life to the teachings of the airbenders, you do not get to be that level in as short a time as he had.
Being a bloodbender capable of using his skills outside the full moon is a feat in itself but Amon was able to bloodbend other benders, including Avatar Korra. In point of fact, he demonstrated a level that even Katara and her teacher didn’t demonstrate when bloodbending was first introduced in the series, the ability to levitate an individual via bloodbending. Again, Amon was capable of doing this outside the full moon, which begs the question…
Just what could he be capable of under moonlight?
The world would never know and I suppose is all the better for it…